Justin Blau’s Royal would allow fans to invest in music artists

by AryanArtnews
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Beloved hip hop group. I hate Pharmabro. The most expensive song ever sold.

This story begins from there.

It dates back to 2015. Wu-Tang Clan, a rap supergroup, will limit the release of its seventh album, Once Upon A Time In Xiao Lin, to one and auction the highest bidders.

Former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, currently imprisoned, Martin Shkreli, a villain in Gordon Gekko and Scrooge McDuck’s comic book, has a desire for price-cutting drugs and has been reported to buy for $ 2 million. doing.

The album was not commercially available until 2103 and was played only at listening parties or for friends and associates as a rule of sale.

Justin Blau’s raised cue.

A Las Vegas-based DJ producer, a technophilia with a financial background and playing under the name 3lau, has long sought to disrupt the way the music business works.

“It was a big inspiration for me that Utan was that album,” Blau, 30, said in a zoom call from Miami on Wednesday. So he attends the Art Basel Art Fair. He is there to sell his own unique musical piece, “Waveform”. This song will be offered as a NFT (Non-Fungible Token) as part of the first NFT auction from the famous auction house Christie’s. Collaboration with peer-to-peer cryptogoods marketplace OpenSea.

Bids start on Saturday and end on Tuesday.

Like “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin,” the purchaser owns the only copy of the song that exists. However, unlike that album, the sale is not tied.

“At that time, they gave one person the right to listen, but not that person,” Blau says of “Shaolin Temple.” “The person owned a physical CD and album cover, but didn’t have the right to distribute it. They couldn’t put it on Spotify. That was the rule. So We said to ourselves, “What would you do if there were no rules?” “

Blau has been at the forefront of introducing NFTs and cryptographic technologies into the music industry. Three years ago, he launched OMF (Our Music Festival), the first blockchain-based music festival.

According to cryptocurrency news company Cointelegraph, NFTs exploded into public awareness in February with sales of over $ 17 billion. Blau has once again established itself as an industry leader, selling $ 11.6 million in NFTs, the overall sales time of a single NFT drop / collection, and the highest price paid for a single NFT (3.6 million). Dollar).

(If you need a quick primer, NFT is a digital ownership certificate for digital assets such as songs, artwork, NBA game highlight clips, tweets, podcasts, and almost anything that can be tokenized. We will use blockchain technology to verify the reliability of NFTs in online marketplaces such as OpenSea and NBA Pop Shot.)

In May, Blau will further strengthen this momentum by launching a new company, Royal, a blockchain-based platform that allows fans to invest directly in artists’ music through NFTs such as “Waveform.” It was made.

“Music is used in today’s NFT world because it’s purely collectible music,” says Blau. “You can buy a song NFT to sponsor your favorite artist, but you don’t have ownership of the song. What if the principle behind Royal is that fans can also own the music?” What if fans could be your record label? “

“Imagine your record collection paying a check every month.”

It’s rare in the music industry.

Currently, sign up for Spotify to give you unlimited access to almost every song in the world, or pay 99 cents for one in a million copies of your hits.

With the exception of the limited press of vinyl records, which also serve a limited audience, music is always widespread, cheap to own, and readily available on commercial radio for free.

But the rarity is a lot of work of art, from the original Picasso paintings to the Faberge eggs, and in less exotic terms, from one of the limited number of front row seats to the Rolling Stones concerts. It gives value to.

Blau cites a cartoon collection as an example.

“You see a Charizard Pokemon card. The physical value of the card is cardboard and printed matter, which costs only $ 1 and 50 cents. The Charizard card is worth $ 350,000. Why? Top quality printers It’s all virtual value, but it’s not official, because you can print another Charizard Pokemon card from, so what we’re doing is in a world that has never had that element. It is an attempt to capture this excessive emotional value in music by creating rarity.

“If you could own an exclusive version that assigns ownership of a song, what does that mean emotionally to you?” He asks. “When you’re attending a music festival and you can tell a friend next door,” I own this song being played, “it’s a physical product in real life. The reaction is similar to the bending method. “

Now, it’s not a new phenomenon for fans to invest directly in artists.

For example, many actions have launched the GoFundMe campaign. In this campaign, contributors can fund the recording of their new album and in return receive credit for liner notes, signed drumheads, tickets to shows in town, and more. Nature. However, the ownership of the record and the profits from its sale or commercial use are in the hands of the creator.

Together with Royal, Blau is trying to create a platform where such investments in artists can potentially pay monetary dividends.

How it works: The artist decides how many editions he wants to auction songs on the site. Each edition is presented with unique artwork sold as an NFT that gives the owner a specific piece of loyalty. Produced by the song.

“When artists make money on songs, they pay it to smart contracts, and each of those token holders can claim when income comes in.

“Imagine the way I explain, for example, if the record collection pays a check every month because you own some of all the songs in the record collection,” he elaborate. To do.

Prior to “Waveform,” Blau provided Royal with a test run, providing 50% of streaming revenue to his previous single, “Worst Caseft. CXLOE,” to 333 fans via NFT.

Later, these fans started trading NFTs on OpenSea.

“We achieved about 1 million transactions in a month,” says Blau. “The total price-based valuation is $ 12 million for one song today. one song. This goes far beyond the cash flow that exists from streaming. This proves that ownership is of much more emotional value than the world is pricing. “

That said, he admits that such a lucrative success at NFTs will be as difficult for most artists to duplicate as it is for artists to win gold records.

“I like everyone” You did this first. Maybe you are an exception to the rules, “says Blau. “That may be true, but even if the artists do a thousandth of that, it’s better than the other deals on the tables they have available.”

Make a bank for the next big thing?

Seeing the Killers in front of 20 people at the dive bar on Saturday night, long before it became famous, is equivalent to the striped pattern of a music nerd soldier who could be said to have discovered the band earlier than anyone else.

What do you get from that experience?

The right to brag mainly.

But what if you could monetize those bragging rights?

What if you could invest in up-and-coming artists and grow your portfolio with their careers?

These are the two big questions that Blau is trying to answer in Royal. It started with JD Ross, co-founder of the university’s best friend Opendoor, and among investors, Justin Lube, head of Darkroom Records, best known for Billie Eilish’s discovery. Includes liner.

“Fans can only participate today,” Blau talks about the relationship between listeners and artists. “They can buy tickets, buy merchandise, listen to music, but if they’re there early, there’s no way to positively experience the artist’s success.

“The first fans offer immense value,” he continues. “They share music with their friends, so listen repeatedly. This helped the Spotify algorithm and added all this value to the artist. But then the artists exploded and their tickets were more expensive. It will be more difficult to access the artist from a social point of view. What Royal is doing is creating a mechanism to tailor fan incentives to the artist. “

He also sees Royal as a way to connect those artists with their peers.

For example, a vocalist can cut 10 vocal tracks, keep 2 for himself, and sell the rest Royal to the producers he wants to use for the song he’s working on.

“This always happens to artists,” says Blau. “I’m sitting on 100 incomplete songs that I might never get, but someone else might want to work on them or own them. This is what the artist wants to do. It’s a new way to monetize. “

Like the new ones, all this can take a minute to move your head. Especially if the context is still an early crossroads between digital art, commerce and investment.

Blau knew this and that was all for him this year. It is to produce tangible results from intangible areas.

“The idea of ​​owning something digitally didn’t make sense because we’ve always lived up to this idea of ​​right-clicking and saving. All digital is copyable,” he says. “Creating credibility on the blockchain for ownership completely changes that spirit. It spins in your head.

“This idea has existed forever in the game world,” he continues. “But it doesn’t really exist in digital media. Now that people are starting to see it, it’s just explosive. It’s really, really explosive.”

Please contact Jason Bracelin ([email protected] or 702-383-0476). Follow @ jbracelin76 on Instagram.

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