Are NFTs Worth It for Musicians?

NFTs are super dumb, right?

Gary Vee is selling scribbles for thousands of dollars. Five-second NBA highlight vids are selling for over $200K. And, of course, 3LAU sold NFTs to commemorate his album three years after it dropped and made over $11M.


I don’t actually think NFTs are dumb. But I do think the world is weird.

Anyway, I know I’m late to the NFT train – most of the music industry blogs I follow have already given their two cents on it (and then given a bunch more cents, too). So, if you’re tired of hearing yet another take on non-fungible tokens, I forgive you for closing this email.

But if you’re not…

I’ve had a few people ask me what I think about them. Plus I’m making Tom learn about them this month so he can write a detailed article for Two Story Melody, and he asked me for my take, too. I figure I owe it to someone by now.

So, here are my thoughts:

NFTs are here to stay.

Maybe this is obvious to you, or maybe it’s not. But I don’t think there’s any chance these things fade away, primarily because the digital world is only growing more important each year.

People crave possessions, and NFTs are possessions for the digital world.

My prediction, though, is that there’s some sort of crash. Maybe the whole market dips, or maybe a few high-profile projects take a dive and people start to lose confidence in the concept.

But, like the internet after the dot-com bubble, it’ll build right back.

NFTs are valuable if your artistry is valuable.

There’s obviously no utility to NFTs. But that’s nothing new. People don’t buy baseball cards so that they can remember players’ stats. They don’t buy Rolexes to tell time.

They buy for the perceived value (and because, again, people crave possessions).

If your fans value your artistry, you could probably sell NFTs. It’s the same idea as selling a signed guitar – if someone cares about your artistry, that guitar is valuable to them.

But the reality is that, if you’re just starting out, nobody cares about your signed guitar. If you don’t have a fanbase, nobody will care about your NFTs, either.

I think that if you already have experience selling merch, NFTs are worth considering. Maybe work them into your next release cycle.

But if you literally have never sold anything related to your music, it’s probably not worth going to the trouble of making NFTs. My recommendation is to focus on making fans, first.

NFTs are better with add-ons.

When Kings of Leon, for example, sold their album as an NFT, buyers also got to unlock “special perks like limited edition vinyl and front row seats to future concerts.”

3LAU’s top NFT was redeemable for a custom song, access to unreleased music, and a physical vinyl.

Gary Vee’s NFTs get you into his conference or book you an in-person meeting with the hustler himself.

It’s personal preference, but I think adding real-world stuff is cool, and if you put together the right package, it makes fans feel like VIPs.

With bonuses, the possibilities for using NFTs to build fan communities are actually really cool.

In the long run, the “how” won’t matter that much.

You’ll notice I haven’t explained how NFTs work. Ha.. Well, that’s because I really have no idea.

I mean, I’ve Googled it. I just read the Bitcoin white paper and the Wikipedia article on the blockchain. I get that an NFT is a digital asset that can’t be replicated. I know they’re frighteningly bad for the environment.* I know you need crypto to buy them and I know what a crypto wallet is.

But if I’m honest, I fully understand about 3% of that stuff.

Maybe I’m just saying this to make myself feel better, but, in the long run, I don’t think the how matters that much for most people.

I fully understand 3% of how the internet works, and using it is my job. I don’t really get cars. Or TVs. Or my phone. Fortunately, you don’t have to know how technology works to know how you can use it.

Should I be more informed? Probably / definitely. But the truth is that, once a technology becomes mainstream, the how becomes less important and the what matters way more.

This is a long way of saying that, in my opinion, the headlines for NFTs are overhyped because people aren’t familiar with the mechanisms behind the tech. I think that, over time, the mechanisms will become background noise as the tech becomes mainstream.

And if you can grasp the core concepts of what an NFT is and how you can use it to build your community, that’s what matters – not your ability to win at blockchain trivia.

The bottom line: Don’t give yourself a headache. Maybe create NFTs along with your next project. Definitely keep an eye on them.

That’s my two cents, anyway.

What do you think?

Legitimately interested to know. I’ve read what feels like 12,349 articles about this already, so I can read a few more comments.

Send ’em below if you have thoughts, and as always, good luck.

Want to build a meaningful community around your music?

The Bundle

I’ve packaged years of experience running Two Story Melody (a top-ranked music blog) and Two Story Media (a music PR firm) into a book called How to Promote Indie Music.

It lays out a roadmap to better indie music promotion – promotion that doesn’t suck. You can check out the first chapter for free.