Crypto Music and Audio NFT's Are a Thing Now. Here's how to make your own.
I remember a few years ago when blockchain tech and cryptocurrency first took the mainstream world by storm. Ethereum's smart contract technology was being discussed by a tech reporter on some web series and they went on talking about how blockchain technology could revolutionize music and art distribution. At the time, It sounded awesome but I honestly had no idea what any of it meant. Fast forward to 2020 and NonFungible Tokens are taking the crypto world by storm! I can now see and experience that art revolution in progress and it's all pretty wild.
Earlier this year I created my first NFT. It was a 3D rendered still portrait called 'The Programmer' and tbh I had no idea if it would sell or not. A small bidding war happened and eventually it sold! So I figured that I may have stumbled onto something good. At the time GIF NFT's were gaining popularity so eventually I minted a GIF piece that sold for a bit more. Eventually the MP4 NFT became a thing and now mp3 audio NFT's have found become a reality. Things move really fast in the crypto universe!
The Benefits of an #AudioNFT Release
Let's say you're a musician with a few tracks released on Spotify, iTunes, and all of the popular streaming platforms. You promote your release, the project drops, you get thousands of hits and a few monthly listeners. The fiscal quarter ends and your traffic numbers look good, but your revenue looks really really bad. According to this Spotify Royalty Calculator it would take 100,000 streams to make around $400... That's not much at all. You could even go viral and hit 2 million streams, you're only going to take home less than $8,000. These aren't exactly the "fat stacks" that'll make you quit your hustle and retire your parents, but if you're kicking ass on all of the major platforms then things could add up pretty nicely. With Audio NFT's things work a little differently. You aren't being paid per-stream, you're being paid per edition. Think of it kind of like the digital version of a rare limited edition vinyl record release. You mint your audio token to the blockchain complete with album art and a high quality mp3. You determine how many editions you would like to make permanently available, then you release it on a marketplace. Instead of charging $1 USD for a downloadable single to an unlimited amount of people, you could charge .15 ETH (worth about $77 at the moment) for 1 of 15 available tokens. In the end you could potentially make close to $1155 for the direct sales of 15 digital files that you don't have to worry about hosting, tracking, or sending. You could then liquidate your $1155 in ETH and use the cash to fund your full project. No waiting for quarterly payouts and no chasing record labels for checks. Then depending on how you sold your NFT, you could instantly get a percentage of sales every time that NFT is resold. Simply put, Audio NFT's are a way to turn your digital music files into digital collectibles that can appreciate in value over time.
How to mint an #AudioNFT
Since becoming popular, some platforms have integrated this type of NFT minting ability into their marketplace. Two popular and fairly easy places to mint are Mintbase.io and Rarible.com. In order to use either of these you will need a wallet that connects to a dApp browser and it needs to have a bit of ETH stashed to cover network gas fees. For a wallet I recommend Metamask and for gas fee coverage I recommend about $150 USD worth of ETH to pull from. Metamask is a convenient, safe, and easy-to-use wallet that installs as a Chrome extension and Mobile app. As a Chrome extension, whenever you visit a dApp the wallet will either prompt you to log in or automatically connect to the app if you are already logged in and signed up. Install Metamask then proceed to the next paragraph.
Rarible is pretty simple to understand. Once you're logged in, you will be able to click the "Create Collectible" button at the top right. Click that button and decide on the type of collectible you would like to make, either a single 1/1 edition or multiple editions. After making a selection, everything else is pretty easy to follow. Upload an MP3 and then upload cover art. You can choose to set a price or leave it priceless and let people bid the value up. You can also choose to have unlockable content made available to buyers. This could be PDF files, MP4 videos, executable files, or anything you desire. Fill out the Name, Description, and decide on a royalty to make off of future sales. Double and triple check everything, then click Create item. Metamask will pop open and prompt you to sign the smart contract and pay a gas fee. Follow through and wait PATIENTLY for the transaction to complete. And congratulations, you have just minted your first AudioNFT on Rarible!
Mintbase is a little more complicated than Rarible because you have to create your own ERC-721 token store. On Rarible, you are minting everything as a part of the RARI token. When you use Mintbase you get to create your own token with your own name. First you have to create an account that will link to your Metamask wallet. Next you need to create a store. Click the little factory icon at the top left to open your menu. Click "New Store" and fill out the information. Once you click "Create Contract" and Metamask opens, you will notice a gas fee that's a bit higher than Rarible. Since you're creating your own token and contract, it requires a bit more processing power, so gas fees will be a bit high for this one time. After PATIENTLY waiting for the transaction to complete, you will now be able to mint tokens!
Click the factory icon again, select your store and click the red "Mint Tokens" button. At the top of the next page, click the dollar sign and fill out how many editions you would like to mint, and determine a price. Then click the Play icon and upload your audio or video file on the right. Name and describe your token on the left then upload your main thumbnail image. After this tab is complete you can explore the other tabs to add additional content and information including URL's, Youtube Links, downloadable content, and location data. After everything is filled out, double and triple check, then click Mint Thing. Follow wallet instructions and wait PATIENTLY for the transaction to confirm. Now you have successfully minted an AudioNFT to Mintbase!
How to Get Sales
I can't tell you an exact answer but I can say that shameless promotion is ideal in the world of Crypto. Sometimes you get lucky and sell things quickly but most of the time, you will have to promote constantly and thoroughly. Get a Twitter (and follow me), get on Discord, and start networking!
Now Crypto Music is a little bit different than Audio NFT's. Instead of minting audio tokens, you're storing and streaming your music on the blockchain via a dApp platform. The way you can be paid from the platform is in the form of governance token airdrops that can be traded for major coins like ETH and liquidated through an exchange. These tokens also act as a way to represent your activity within the platform and having a good amount of them could give you power to vote on new features for the community. One crypto music platform that's been buzzing lately is Audius.co. It's similar to SoundCloud but has no ads, runs a lot smoother, and hasn't been filled with half-assed tracks and works-in-progress yet. Recently a host of popular artists like Kewella, Excision, and Alina Baraz have joined the platform. Will it knock the major streaming platforms out of the water? Who knows. With more development, improvements, user interest, and complete projects added to their catalog, it's definitely possible.
Crypto technology is without a doubt changing the art and music game. While this tech is still pretty new, mass adaptation is happening as we speak. Decentralized music distribution allows the artist to control their product's value and the transfer of funds without needing the help of a Performance Rights Organization or the classic outdated idea of a Record Label. You no longer have to wait until your old and legendary to have appreciating music collectibles existing in the world. You could sell NFT's to raise funds for creative ventures versus taking out a business loan or signing a bogus 360 record deal. As this technology improves it will undoubtedly enter the lives of more music fanatics. Begin your #CryptoMusic journey now and follow other cool projects because they're appearing and improving fast! One dope decentralized project happening in the crypto music space that's worth checking out is DAORecords. I have my debut AudioNFT dropping through them 11/28/2020, so look for that!