Nonfungible tokens are being used to explore a new business model that puts music makers back in control of sales and copyright issues. Grammy-winning producer Illmind released what he calls the “first ever NFT-backed sample loop/melody pack” on Thursday, putting a collection of 10 “melody compositions” up for auction on the Mintable NFT market app.
Based on Ethereum, the NFT is titled "Alorium" and contains an exclusive link to a file containing individual audio tracks of the compositions. It also comes with a “royalty-free guarantee” and a contract that gives the NFT owner rights to use the audio files for their own purpose.
Ramon Ibanga, better known as Illmind, has a successful career as a music producer that spans three decades. He has produced tracks for several best-selling hip hop artists, including Kanye West, Dr. Dre and 50 Cent. He is also behind tracks on number-one albums by Drake and J. Cole. In 2018, he won a Grammy award for his production of “Everything Is Love” by Beyoncé and Jay-Z.
Ibanga’s creation sparked a passionate conversation on Reddit regarding what ownership of digital property implies about rights to creative property. The sentiment generally agreed upon by those responding to the news includes that the idea is innovative and potentially transformative for the music industry.
“Someone really should make a platform for this,” commented r/MuddyFilter, who went on to explain why they thought NFTs could make big waves in the future of the music business.
“This is actually a use case for NFT that I can get behind and that I genuinely think is better than the way it’s currently done. We can pay the creators of the samples directly instead of paying some sample label.”
Musicians have been warming up to the idea of blockchain-based technology over the last year. Some have discovered new ways to connect with other artists, such as Deadmau5 and Sutu, who released an NFT based on collaborative efforts in December 2020. Others have used it to release productions in different media forms, such as Sean Lennon, who sold an NFT artwork piece for $3,000 the same month.
On Feb. 6, Linkin Park rapper Mike Shinoda auctioned off a clip of an upcoming song in NFT form on Zora, a marketplace for digital items focused on cutting out corporate influence from the entertainment industry.
On Dec. 17, 2020 dance music producer Guy J put the rights to royalty earnings from one of his songs up for sale on music streaming platform Rocki, with ownership of an NFT conferring rights to 50% of the song’s earnings in perpetuity. The sale managed to raise 40 Ether (ETH).