Musicians Meet Audio NFTs
By Cooper Turley, Crypto Strategy @Audius
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Musicians have discovered a new revenue stream.
One that combines free market dynamics with digital scarcity.
This is an overview of Audio NFTs, limited edition audio/visuals experiences issued and sold as tokens on Ethereum.
While the notion of crypto has historically been overwhelming to newcomers, platforms like SuperRare are offering gateways into the wonderful world of web3 through branded experiences sold as exclusive digital artworks.
And why might this be of interest you ask? Look no further than acts like 3LAU and RAC, two top-tier producers that have raised $188k and $40k respectively over the past two months alone.
What is an Audio NFT?
Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are unique digital collectibles, represented on a blockchain like Ethereum in the form of a token. What makes NFTs interesting is that each token is distinguishable from one another, meaning no two tokens are exactly the same.
This is counter to a token like ether, the currency powering Ethereum, where every 1 ETH is transferable (or fungible) for another 1 ETH.
In the case of Audio NFTs, this means that each artwork is tied to a specific token, and there is no other token like it in existence. This notion of provenance, defined as ‘a record of ownership used as a guide to authenticity or quality’ gives these pieces an inherent value even though they are entirely digital in nature.
Anyone can take a picture of the Mona Lisa, but only one person owns it. We can think of NFTs exactly the same way, with the underlying token proving ownership of that digital good.
Now, where this gets interesting is the interplay of an audio/visual experience.
Historically, NFTs have been static in nature. We’ve seen a gradual evolution from still images to looping gifs and now mp4s (Audio NFTs).
Audio NFTs are not technically different from other NFTs aside from their file format, however they largely vary in their multidimensional approach by fusing an audio clip with an underlying image or video.
Let’s take a look at some examples.
**Note: 1ETH = $475 at the time of writing.
Sale Price: 70 ETH ($33,250)
*The winner of Elephant Dreams also received 1000 $RAC tokens.
Sale Price: 33 ETH ($15,675)
*The winner of Star Cross received two backstage passes to any future 3LAU show of their choosing.
Rebirth of Venus*
Sale Price: 26.6 ETH ($12,635)
*Ongoing sale ending Friday. 100% of funds donated to Black Girls Code
Price: 8.8 ETH ($3800)
*Part of a four-piece ‘HACK THE SYSTEM’ series.
What Do We Leave Behind
Sale Price: 3 ETH ($1425)
i’ve been thinking about you
Sale Price: 1.5 ETH ($712)
While each of these artists have cultivated their own vision and ambitions around each piece, its worth highlighting their similarities.
You only get to drop your first NFT once.
Every artist listed above saw a decrease in sale price from their very first NFT to subsequent pieces, signaling that creators should be extremely selective about their first release.
The more time invested into the first launch the better. This is not something to be rushed or half-assed as there truly are no do-overs.
Tell a Story
While one-off pieces certainly have their place, those released as a part of a cohesive series create a wider vision around the experience and the interplay between individual pieces.
Boys Noize’s HACK THE SYSTEM drops were marketed as a four-part series, giving buyers a better expectation of the quantity (and therefore the scarcity) or future pieces.
Whales are Friends
It takes a very special kind of buyer to drop thousands of dollars on digital art.
Be prepared to research and understand the sea of buyers, most easily seen under the Top Collectors tab on platforms like SuperRare.
Outside of collectors, band together with your fellow artists as you’d be surprised how much other creators have gone out of their way to support their friend’s work.
Where to Start
Using SuperRare, NiftyGateway, Rarible, OpenSea, KnownOrigin, MakersPlace and others, creators can easily create their own AudioNFTs by uploading a supported file type and paying a fee (depending on the platform) to mint (or create) the token representing the Audio NFT.
Please note that every platform varies in their supported file types and on their commission fees, meaning that one platform may take a higher cut of the sale than others.
Some platforms (like SuperRare) are more curated than others, meaning there is a higher barrier to entry and naturally, a sense of quality that comes with those drops. The tradeoff here is that only about 2% of creators are accepted to SuperRare, whereas anyone can mint an Audio NFT on Rarible in minutes.
Those willing to embrace web3 primitives like Audio NFTs still benefit from being seen as an innovator.
This trend will quickly evolve from one of high quality scarcity to a sea of users leveraging Audio NFTs as an alternative revenue stream.
Do not be fooled by the allure of financial value, and instead place a significant amount of time and energy into iterating on how these pieces make their way back into a specific artist project, and the loyal supporters of that project.
The value in owning an Audio NFT is in the clout of being able to prove that you own it, and so the more empowered that buyer can become through the usage and social signal of their winning, the more likely they are to either share it with their friends or come back for your next drop.
For creators interested in getting started with Audio NFTs, feel free to reach out!
It’s an exciting time to take advantage of digital first brands, and I personally couldn’t be more excited to see how this trend turns out!
Until then, keep an eye on @coopahtroopa coming to an auction floor near you 😉
Disclaimer: The information shared in this piece is for educational purchases only.