Snoop Dogg isn’t the only artist jumping into web3
Musicians are now making money with NFTs as they use blockchain technology to release their work. They’re also maintaining ownership of what they create and independence from record labels who have often kept a tight grip on control of the industry.
- 3LAU and Avenged Sevenfold are two artists who successfully use blockchain technology to release their music and connect with fans. 3LAU made $11.6 million from one release and Avenged Sevenfold’s NFTs give fans exclusive access.
- Lesser known artists Heno, Black Dave, Iman Europe and MoRuf Adewunmi appeared on Snoop Dogg’s NFT mixtape and all release their work on the blockchain today.
- Snoop Dogg is no stranger to web3, as a holder of Bored Apes, CryptoPunks, Meebits, a PROOF Collective membership and Moonbirds. He’s also pioneering in the use of blockchain technology to release his music.
Back in February, Snoop Dogg and Gala Music sold 25,000 stash boxes and bagged themselves $44 million. He famously bought the legendary Death Row Records and turned it into an NFT label through which he will release all music as non-fungible tokens.
But it isn’t just the Doggfather who’s dabbling in blockchain technology to bypass the traditional music industry. Other artists are turning their work into NFTs and keeping hold of their independence in the process.
Back in the Autumn of 2020, Justin Blau – otherwise known as 3LAU – sold his first NFTs. Then in February 2021, he turned his electronic album Ultraviolet into 33 NFTs and sold them for $11.6 million.
‘We were all cheering,’ said 3LAU later on. ‘And then everyone just stopped talking. Trust me, I didn’t know it was going to go this high.’ These are the rewards for taking a chance on something new; now 3LAU can call himself one of the early pioneers of NFT music.
The guys in Avenged Sevenfold were making music before 3LAU was born. So for them to take up blockchain technology and use it in their work was an intrepid step. In November 2021, the band released a 10,000-strong NFT collection called the Deathbats Club. It grants holders exclusive access to perks like meet and greets, free gig tickets, merch, and even time with the band.
The mint price of each Deathbats Club NFT was $150, which earned the band $1.5 million. Since then, people have traded 342 ETH worth of Deathbats Club NFTs and there’s a 5% creator fee. So the group has made an extra £35,365 (at today’s prices) from secondary sales.
The group also purchased land in virtual world The Sandbox way back in April 2021. So it’s clear that they’ve been working on an all-encompassing web3 strategy for quite a while.
But Avenged Sevenfold is an established band who already had a platform provided for them by the traditional music industry. They also had a legion of fans who they could count on to follow them wherever they went.. Some unknown artists are using NFTs to start their career and it’s already paying dividends.
Heno, Black Dave, Iman Europe and MoRuf Adewunmi
These four artists featured on Snoop Dogg’s Death Row Session: Vol. 2. 1,000 copies of the 4/20 mix sold out in short time and earned the Westcoast rapper $300,000.
Each artist has been selling their music as NFTs since at least 2021 and have all spent differing amounts of time working in the traditional music industry. But each sees in blockchain technology the chance to own their work, earn more money and make better connections with their community of fans.
Europe releases all of her music as non-fungible tokens and has earned more than $60,000 as a result, without bigger record labels scooping up their hefty percentage.
MoRuf said it ‘just doesn’t make any sense, especially for an independent artist’, to earn a penny per stream on normal streaming services like Apple and Spotify. Releasing his albums as music means he can support himself and doesn’t need to wait around for a label to pay him his royalties.
Producer Heno also noted how artists can write their own smart contracts and decide how much they want to earn for the music they make. It’s up to fans to spend the money if they want, but using NFTs gives artists control and it cuts out the middlemen.
‘It’s been a major issue to distribute payments to my team from my songs because nothing is transparent with the record labels,’ Snoop Dogg said recently in an interview. And he’s as good as his word. These relatively unknown artists each got 1% of the record’s initial sale and will receive 10% of all secondary sales.
They’ve turned NFTs into the gifts that keep on giving.
The main man: Snoop Dogg
Following the release of Death Row Session: Vol. 2, Snoop released his nineteenth studio album Bacc On Death Row (BODR). Snoop and Gala Music filled 25,000 Stash Boxes with each one containing one of the album’s 17 tracks. The Stash Boxes were on sale for $5,000 (at the time) in GALA tokens and the rapper made $44 million from the deal.
Inside the Stash Boxes, not only did fans acquire ownership of a piece of music, they also became eligible for airdrops of images, comics, films and gig tickets. They will also get exclusive access to shows and VIP parties at Snoop’s mansion, play-to-earn gaming through Gala Games and limited edition Death Row jewelry.
He pulled his label’s music from streaming services ‘because those platforms don’t pay’. It might just be a matter of time before more artists see the benefits of using the blockchain as intended: to ensure ownership and independence by cutting out the middleman.