Published on December 14, 2022
Top Music NFT Platforms
Explore music NFT platforms and learn about the benefits of blockchain-based ownership as a growing music NFT use case.
7 min read
The music industry has changed significantly in recent years with the rise of streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music. Although streaming services have been a fantastic way for artists to distribute their music to the world, they have made it difficult for artists to generate a sustainable income. When their song is streamed on a platform like Spotify, the artist receives a small fraction of a cent in royalties. It doesn't matter if you are The Weeknd or a brand new artist out of high school; you receive the same fraction of a cent per stream. Because of the economics, artists need tens of millions of streams per year to make a living income. Now, however, with NFTs entering the picture, artists can dictate the price of their music, determine how it is consumed, package it with additional perks, and earn magnitudes more in income.
What Are Music NFTs?
Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are a type of digital asset that uses blockchain technology to certify its ownership and authenticity. Music NFTs are most commonly viewed as digital versions of songs, albums, or access to virtual concerts that artists can sell to their fans. With music NFTs, artists can monetize their work without intermediaries like Spotify or Apple Music and directly build a relationship with the fans that better suits their financial and creative endeavors.
For example, fans can purchase NFTs directly from an artist and own an exclusive, unreleased track. Or artists can crowdfund their studio time by selling an NFT collection to their most loyal supporters and providing them with VIP access to their next show. When it comes to music NFTs, the possibilities are endless. They are proving to be an incredible new way to build a tight-knit community and self-start emerging artists.
What Are The Advantages Of NFTs For Artists?
When artists submit their music to streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, they effectively allow these third-party platforms to dictate how their music is priced, sold, consumed, and on what terms. Naturally, this disadvantages the artist if they want to make more money with their music. With NFTs, artists reclaim governance over their music by removing the intermediaries and facilitating a peer-to-peer transaction with their fans.
There are several advantages that NFTs can offer to music artists. Some of these include:
Instead of relinquishing control of their music to large web2 intermediaries like Spotify and Apple Music, articles can maintain control over the music and set the terms for how it is sold, distributed, and consumed.
Which NFT Marketplace Is Best For Music?
NFT music marketplaces are blockchain-based platforms that allow users to buy and sell music NFTs. Each music NFT marketplace is unique in its own right, offering various services and features that distinguish it from the rest.
OpenSea is one of the largest and most popular NFT marketplaces in the world. It features a variety of NFT categories, from collectibles to 1/1 artwork to domain names to music-related NFTs. OpenSea's dedicated music NFT page displays collections from some of the biggest names in music, like Snoop Dogg and Nas, along with dozens of up-and-coming artists. So when it comes to getting your NFT collection in front of the most eyeballs, OpenSea is the place to be.
It is a highly popular platform that allows artists to seamlessly mint their NFT collections while providing a user-friendly interface to a strong community of buyers.
Audius markets itself as a next-generation web3 streaming platform. Emulating a similar user interface as Soundcloud, Audius is a decentralized streaming platform that rewards listeners with $AUDIO, Audius' native token. Audius allows artists to distribute music directly to their fans and receive payment without intermediaries. Instead of simply being an NFT marketplace where artists can sell NFTs to their fans, Audius seeks to overflow streaming giants Spotify and Apple Music by providing artists more control and earning potential.
Catalog allows artists to mint their music as NFTs and monetize their artwork. While artists are still expected to publish their music to the big web2 streaming platforms, Catalog serves as a way to sell the "NFT version" to their biggest fans. The reason to mint a song or album as an NFT in this way is to perhaps create rare pieces of memorabilia that your most passionate fans will covet. Similar to how many music lovers collect records nowadays. On Catalog, artists receive 100% of the primary sale, and then a percentage of secondary sales.
Sound.xyz is another NFT music platform that helps artists monetize their communities. Sound is similar to Catalog, but with a few slight differences:
Royal is a one-of-a-kind NFT music platform. Instead of serving as an NFT music marketplace or a decentralized streaming platform, Royal allows artists to sell a percentage of their streaming royalties to their fans — in the form of NFTs.
In other words, when you invest in music through Royal, you own a percentage of its royalty rights. This incentive structure aligns the artists' incentives with the fans' incentives. For example, if a new, up-and-coming artist succeeds, the early fans also benefit financially. This motivates NFT buyers to hold the NFTs for more extended periods if they believe in the artist instead of flipping NFTs for a quick buck. This also provides artists with upfront funding for their music career without having to sign to a music label.
B-Side: Wrap Up
As you can see, music NFT technology is bound to dismantle modern streaming services and the music industry. By empowering artists with ownership and control over their music, NFT technology enables artists to monetize their passion better and, thus, provide additional freedom to the creative decisions they make. It's a bright future that web3 provides. With that being said, it is still unclear as to which NFT music model will win out. OpenSea, Audius, Catalog, Sound, and Royal all offer different solutions to the music industry problem in the form of NFT mints, decentralized streaming, and royalty ownership. As competition continues to play out between these music NFT models, it is exciting to see that ownership and control are destined to benefit the artist.