Music Monopolies Step into Web3

spotify nfts

Spotify and Universal Music are experimenting with digital collectibles. Can music market giants help smaller artists promote their NFTs?   

When the New York-based violinist and neuroscience music pioneer Masha Brodskaya launched her first NFT she wasn’t sure if it would be well received by the public. But it sold out in less than 24 hours. 

Her portrait of the mind was the first NFT of its kind. Masha created a feedback loop where “mind became music, music became art, and the art recognized by the mind.”

As a part of the project, the psychedelic artist Chris Dyer was strapped into an EEG headband while his brain waves were transmuted into the music NFT. Dyer listened to the symphony of his mind while painting an outdoor mural in New York City.

“Our NFTs were bought by fans of psychedelic art and digital artists who dig it, the complexity of an idea,” Masha said. “Everything was sold out so quickly, although we didn’t do any promotion.” 

Two major music monopolies, Shopify and Universal Music, are now eyeing new projects to help creators who want more visibility. 

Spotify’s new feature will allow artists to promote NFTs on their profiles, according to Music Ally. After previewing NFTs, music fans would be able to purchase them through an external marketplace. The offer is currently available for a very small group of artists and select Android users across the U.S. 

Some of Spotify’s tests are “an effort to improve artist and fan experiences” while others “serve only as important learning,” the company said in a statement. 

“Spotify is an established platform: all music fans are there,” Brodskaya said. “The new feature could be a great tool for promotion and mass adoption of NFTs.” 

Despite the recent decline in sales, music NFTs could be Web3’s next big trend. According to investors, more than $5 million in tokenized music has been sold across such platforms as Catalog, Sound, and Royal.

Spotify is not the only music market giant playing with Web3. Last week, Universal Music Group (UMG) announced a strategic deal with the digital collectibles marketplace LimeWire. 

The project’s goal is to make music NFTs “more accessible for the wider audience.” The initiative also could help artists create new revenue streams, the company said in a statement. 

Musicians who are signed to UMG can offer audio recordings, audiovisual content, backstage footage, and any images as NFTs on the LimeWire marketplace. Bonus tracks, exclusive material, as well as uncut or backstage content can also be sold as digital collectibles.

With their first steps into Web3, both UMG and Spotify seek to facilitate the creation of communities. NFTs are providing “an exciting vehicle to enhance the connection between artists and audiences,” said Jonathan Dworkin, EVP, Digital Business Development & Strategy at UMG. 

Sometimes, however, the community is hard to engage. “You can be a great artist with millions of fans,” Masha Brodskaya said. “But if your audience is not into that kind of stuff, you’ll have trouble selling NFTs. Your ideas should be unique and your community should be into Web3 and crypto.”

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