NFTs are on fire right now but are they helpful to indie musicians?
We take a look at the realities of minting an NFT
You may have heard of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) you may have not. Either way, they are creating a lot of buzz and interest around the globe. In music circles, we are seeing established artists selling NFTs for a whole lot of money. Rightly so, indie artists are wanting to dip their toes into the water. With Streaming royalties being so low it's no wonder then that artists are looking for a way to make more money. Unfortunately, there is some bad news. While NFTs are hot property right now there are a lot of considerations you have to make before you decide to sell your music as an NFT. Almost all the articles or youtube videos I watch right now are only highlighting the positives and aren't talking about the realities. They are marketing it as a get rich quick scheme to indie musicians and it just isn't true. I only want to write this article with a more conserved view, but it is worth mentioning that yes I am indeed an indie musician and also an adopter of cryptocurrency. This article is not written on the basis of discouraging NFT sales: In fact, the opposite. To understand the reality of making one you can make informed decisions.
Before you sell an NFT you must mint it. The price of this can be extremely variable. Currently, the gas price you must pay can even depend on the time of day you choose to mint it. It is hard to give any sort of accurate price estimation. It could be anywhere from £50-£100. It could be less, it could be more. If you do sell an NFT you will need to factor this into the price. In the future, the price looks set to fall. With ethereum 2.0 being worked on currently.
After minting you're NFTs you will have to pay fees once they have sold as well. Similar to the minting costs it can vary considerably. So, once again you must figure this into the price. After all, is said and done the minimum price you have to make before profit might be quite high and consider that you can actually lose money selling an NFT.
This is a great article on medium that further explains fees and calculations:
Now we have taken a look at the fees involved, who are you actually selling the NFT to? Mainstream artists have had some massive success selling NFTs. You don't have to look in the news to see some massive amounts of money being generated by established acts but will your fans really buy your NFT? Not everyone even knows about NFT at the moment let alone knows how to purchase them. The chances are you might not have many fans interested in NFT. Of course, this isn't a problem with bigger artists but for some indie musicians, there isn't going to be much demand at all. That, however, doesn't mean you should not cater to specific fans. CD's might not be selling as they used to but still a healthy amount of music fans still enjoy that medium. It would be unwise not to provide them with that medium that is in demand. Before you get 100s of CDs made though you would need to understand the demand. Exactly the same rule here applies. Your fans are the target of your NFT, to think that people who have never heard your music are going to spend thousands on it is not very likely. So the bottom line is that if you have a healthy fanbase who are into crypto this will be for you if not you might be struggling to create enough buzz for the auction. Whatever the situation you are going to have to be prepared to promote the auction.
It's like selling a painting
I think that selling an NFT can most likely be related to selling a painting: in terms of once that painting has sold the artists get the money. If the painting is re-sold for a higher value the artist receives no money. This is set to change with a percentage of the re-selling fees going back to the original artists. Again this is another thing to be careful of. As an artist it might feel tempting to sell an NFT to provide some funds, however, in the future, the NFT value could grow a lot higher and without the proper precautions that will not be of any gain to you. I feel like this is the biggest mistake an artist could make. As an artist myself I know that we often sell ourselves short as we desperately try to make an income to survive. Careful consideration of NFTs is required before selling one. It would be a great idea to double-check the sell on percentage and make sure you are going to receive one.
All in all, NFTs are an extremely interesting prospect, but don't let the fear of missing out now drive you not to learn properly about them before selling one. Just because established artists are making a quick buck from it doesn't mean that indie artists can as well. That being said the market is expanding rapidly and if the cost of producing NFTs gets lower I can see a lot more musicians get involved with the scene. There is so much potential to sell albums, artwork and demo recordings. Really the potential is unlimited.
I hope you do your research and weigh up the balance. Soon I will have an article explaining how you can start earning crypto with you're music and music videos outside of NFTs.
About the Creator
I'm new to this but hey I'm giving it ago. I sing and play guitar. I'm here to share a few bits of info I learn along my journey
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