Canadian rock band Our Lady Peace will release an additional single from its forthcoming album Spiritual Machines II as a non-fungible token (NFT). The single will be available next month through the S!ng app, which launched its NFT minting option today for content creators and artists.
An NFT uses technology that links very specific items to a token. Depending on how the owner wants to licence the content, they can make the token available to only one person or to 100 people. Artists using S!ng will be able to sell their content as NFTs instantly and get paid in cryptocurrency, a press release said.
"We pulled the 11th song off the record so it can be an NFT, and it's going to have a bunch of other unlocks as well," Raine Maida, the band’s lead vocalist and chief product officer at S!ng.
Maida said said in an interview the app will help artists protect their work and connect with fans in a more efficient way.
“The ability to sell directly to your fans and monetize that in ways that we never really thought of before, i’s a tectonic shift that’s happening,” he said, explaining that artists who make their work available as an NFT are in charge of the ownership of that content.
“When you see artists who don’t have a huge following selling completed works [and] when there isn’t that middle-man, fans will engage and participate,” Maida said.
“It goes back to the day of when we were starting out playing in clubs and you’d put out a signup sheet at the merch table to get emails from fans, why did we want that? Because I wanted to talk to them directly. And socials, Twitter, Instagram, I think it helped for a minute, but it does dilute that relationship.”
S!ng’s co-founder Geoff Osler, said in an interview that NFTs will allow artists to create verifiably-unique originals while protecting their intellectual property. He explained that the app is supported by Ethereum blockchain, a type of technology that “time stamps and verifies original ownership of a file, even after it’s been shared.”
He noted that while any artist or musician can use this service, the app also targets young new-age creators like TikTokers, Twitch streamers, YouTubers, and creators who are putting out new content at a fast pace.
“These kids need to have the right to be protected and they have the stuff they want to sell. And unlike somebody who’s established and famous, for them to be able to sell something for $10 100 times, crypto enables that because it’s so efficient,” he said. “You don’t need to be assigned to a label.”
Osler said that while the technology isn’t new artists are finding new potential for how it can be applied. U.S. rock band Kings of Leon announced on March 3 its new album will be available as an NFT, as first reported by Rolling Stone. It will be the first band to do so.
“Technology always comes in waves like this where there’s a big wave of massive excitement over the potential of something and of course the reality fails to live up. But then it starts increasing and increasing and you find yourself in a whole new world,” Osler said. “I believe we’re at that point with cryptocurrency.”
Alfred Lehar, an associate professor of finance at the University of Calgary, said the technology addresses the question of ownership rights, the transfer of ownership, and bringing a seller and buyer together in a more efficient way.
“At the moment we are at a phase of creative destruction, we see a lot of old ways being phased out, how creative work is being marketed and new players enter the market,” he said in an interview. “It’s an opportunity that wasn’t there, even a year ago and it will provide opportunities for artists to monetize their content and for users to stay in touch with artists.”
But even if you offer your work as an NFT, people on the internet can still copy your work, Lehar said. The only difference is that the original piece of work can be traced back to the original owner.
He explained that NFTs offer content creators a broader marketplace removing the middle man like a streaming service or a label company.
“If you think about paintings, you sell them in an art gallery, which has perhaps a limited number of people walking by and are seeing that painting in the first place knowing that it exists. The art gallery also takes a commission,” he said. “You can reduce that dramatically over the internet.”