According to Steve Aoki, one of the world’s most well-known club DJs, his music royalties cannot compare to NFTs in terms of income. Several days ago, at a private Gala Music event, Aoki revealed that he made more money from his NFT sales in the last year than he has from his previous six albums in the last decade, COMBINED.
The Problem With the Music Industry
A lot has been said about the music industry’s lopsided revenue distribution contracts. The typical split is 50/50, with the performer receiving half and agents, lawyers, and distributors taking the other half. When it comes to streaming, income for the artists dwindles even further.
However, the use of NFTs as a medium for music funding and distribution appears to be challenging the traditional relationship between artists and their distributors. This idea was outlined fairly well by Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda.
“Even if I upload the full version of the contained song to DSPs worldwide (which I can still do), I would never get even close to $10k, after fees by DSPs, label, marketing, etc.” Mike Shinoda recently tweeted about raising roughly $11,000 for his first NFT. With NFTs, the potential for individuals to take their career into their own hands is immense.
How Steve Aoki Benefits from NFTs
World renowned DJ Steve Aoki is one of the biggest advocates and believers of NFTs. He believes that it could shift revenue structures to favor artists. Aoki has immersed himself in the NFT space and wants to see these unique assets change the industry.
Speaking about the future of NFTs, Aoki’s old friend and manager Matt Colon, Global President of Music of talent management firm YM&U, said that, “You’re going to see a lot of changes in the NFT space in the near future”. He also mentioned: “You’re going to see some big projects that will turn music on its head.”
At an event sponsored by Gala Music, a blockchain music platform, Aoki revealed that he had generated more money from his NFT sales in the last year than he had from his previous six albums. “…If I was to really break down, okay, in the 10 years I’ve been making music…six albums, and you combine all those advances, what I did in one drop last year in NFTs, I made more money,” Aoki said in an interview with the Decrypt.co site.
The famous DJ is well known in the NFT world for selling his NFT piece titled “hairy” for $888,888.88 on Nifty Gateway last year, making it one of the most expensive digital pieces of art ever sold. According to Decrypt, he also possesses numerous NFTs from the infamous Bored Ape Yacht Club collection.
Aoki described himself as a “futurist” in his opening Q&A session. He believes that NFTs will completely change the music industry, which currently pays artists a pittance in royalties for the amount of work they produce. The appeal of NFTs, in Aoki’s opinion, stems from their reliance on the communities that spring up to support them. According to Aoki, his live DJ engagements account for roughly 95 percent of his music earnings.
Aoki, along with many other big name artists, are strongly in favor of using NFTs to connect to their fans in a more direct and personal way, without third parties like distributors and publishers getting in the way. In regards to the emergence of NFTs in the music industry, Aoki commented, “As music NFTs become more of a part of how we integrate and support artists, the labels will have to do more than just add the song on a playlist”.
How NFTs Could Change the Music Industry
As of late, there’s been a trend towards the democratization of almost every sector of the entertainment industry. One form of this phenomenon is the emerging ability for fans to potentially share profit alongside the artist, through buying NFTs. It’s essentially music investing for the masses. This could work wonders for famous musicians with a multimillion fan base willing to purchase NFTs, enabling them to directly raise funds for songs and albums.
Since leaving Sony Music to go independent two years ago, Danny Saucedo, an incredibly popular Swedish singer, has released a number of singles with the help of his fans. With only a few postings on Danny’s social media account , he raised the same amount he would have received as an advance from a major label in less than 48 hours.
Various industry experts believe that NFTs will have a significant impact on the future of music. Music NFTs can include songs, albums, music, lyrics, and soundbites. Music can even be blended with digital art in jpeg or gif formats to produce one-of-a-kind works of art.
Music-related NFTs can be displayed differently depending on how they are accessed, thanks to NFT “smart contracts” that can handle several formats. A PDF file containing the lyrics to a song or a message from a musician could be included in an audio NFT, and displayed when it’s accessed in text-based mode.
Whether distributed as revenue-sharing music, a tweet, a digital image, or even as text, NFTs really seem to be carving out the future of the music industry.