Mapping the Music NFT Ecosystem

Dopr
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Rob Abelow
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David Rosen, PhD
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March 8th, 2022

Making sense of music’s web3 future

A new economic paradigm in music is here.

Music NFTs connect artists and collectors directly. Artists gain capital and community. Collectors earn financial rewards, showoff their fandom, and unlock unique experiences and collectibles.

But, collecting isn’t easy. How do you discover or value music NFTs? What platform is worth signing up for? Who offers the experience I want? Where are my favorite artists releasing NFTs?

It’s hard. Wallets, contracts, utility, platforms, exchanges, currencies, transfers, gas fees...

If NFTs ever have a chance of becoming the dominant structure in music, music’s web3 future needs to be as attractive for collectors as it is for creators.

Make music NFT collecting easy

This is why we created the music NFT resource directory - covering the organizations and platforms in the space.

The directory is open to everyone interested in music NFTs. It is intended to be a useful and free-to-all mapping of this space to help improve discovery and reduce friction in the music NFT ecosystem.

The initial directory includes 136 organizations, broken down into 14 primary utility-types.

A view of the directory filtered by Editions.
A view of the directory filtered by Editions.

This is the most comprehensive and easy-to-navigate resource providing information on the space we know of: any platform, organization, or resource that directly touches music NFTs is included, alongside links to websites, Twitter, and Discord, descriptions, and the blockchains they work on.

Search for the platforms you’re interested in or filter by utility type.

More organizations will be added as they pop up. Submit them to us here.

Utility is Everything

Most NFTs and surrounding organizations aim to offer different utility to collectors.

We assign each organization a primary utility type. This was no easy task - as many platforms touch on multiple utility types and many more will emerge.

We had to make some tough calls. Many of the utility types focus on different categories of NFTs: 1/1s, avatars, editions, generative, royalty, ticketing. Other utilities are more broad to the music ecosystem as a whole: community/social, grants, label, marketplace, research, and streaming/radio.

The utility types used in the directory.
The utility types used in the directory.

*Note: Marketplaces where music is included, but not necessarily the focus, are tagged as marketplace. If music is the primary focus, it can likely be found in Editions.

Let’s get deeper on NFT utilities and touch on some examples.

Editions

A limited collection of digital assets. Think of it as an extension of the merch table. It is 1/n, varying in scarcity. It’s a digital version of that numbered tour poster, but now it’s embedded with audio and a way to show off your fandom in the digital world...or maybe even still comes with the IRL poster!

e.g. → RCRDSHP is dropping curated, digital packs (music, mixtapes, video clips, etc.) exclusively from electronic artists. Sound artists debut new music as a limited set of NFTs. Artists hold ‘Listening Parties’. Drops are events. At Pianity, users can earn a passive income from their collections thanks to their profit-sharing token.

1/1s

A single edition. Exactly what it sounds like. Maximum scarcity!

e.g. → Catalog artists mint a single NFT edition of a track. On Oneof, you buy and sell highly curated, single-edition NFTs from the biggest names in music, using 5 tiers of scarcity that range from unlimited to 1/1. Noizd focuses on unreleased tracks, videos, stems, and more as downloadable NFTs

Community / Social

Participate in a community and earn benefits. Token distribution and benefits vary and may include: governance, financial incentives, exclusive event access, rare NFTs, and more.

e.g. → Owning a Chillpill NFT means you get to vote on all artist, manager and label decisions. 1,500 Afterparty Utopians have access to world-class experiences, such as an exclusive music festival in Las Vegas. Rally helps artists launch their own social tokens to build communities with their fans.

Generative

Algorithmic music, art, and more that recombine a predefined set of elements into unique AI-generated creations. Many projects include audio and visual components.

e.g. → SoundMint uses 3-10 sound traits using stems to generate unique 30 second musical art pieces. Pixelbands have 4 types of characters: guitarists, drummers, piano players, and bassists that combine to create a ‘Band’ and make unique ‘Songs’ with 8-bar stems. EulerBeats offers limited edition digital packs that include digital art and beat NFTs generated on-chain.

Marketplace

Locations to buy, sell, and (sometimes) mint NFTs that do not focus exclusively on music and often include digital art, video, sports, photography and others categories of NFTs. It can be hard to discover worthwhile projects due to less curation or a focus on music.

e.g. → OpenSea is the largest NFT marketplaces for primary and secondary sales, where music is one of nine categories. There are more than 136,000 music assets. Rarible also features music and video NFT editions and more via timed auctions.

Royalty

Own the copyrights to your favorite song and collect royalties. Artists take a portion of song royalties, divide them up, and sell them as tokens.

e.g. → Opulous’ security NFTs (S-NFTs) are the only ones that are currently SEC-compliant via a partnership with Republic. Their first drop was an unreleased track by Lil Pump ft. Soulja Boy. Royal was founded by electronic music artist and web3 pioneer, 3LAU. Their first drops were previously released tracks from Nas, Vérité, and a 4-track EP by Ollie.

This is a partial list and does not cover all utilities.


Discovery and Valuation Tools

In order to unlock the full potential of music NFTs, we need stronger discovery and valuation tools. NFTs should serve more than just the ‘incumbents’ or known artists. How do we discover new artists, creative projects, boundary-pushing sounds, and the most intriguing platforms?

This is why we are building Dopr - the discovery and valuation layer for music NFTs, sector-focused and platform agnostic.

We have spent our lives as independent musicians, artist managers, and music cognition researchers. And, we have all seen first-hand the gross inequities that have permeated the music industry for far too long. We are constructing this piece of infrastructure for music’s web3 future because we believe this is the path with the most direct and positive impact for artists around the world.

Our mission is to use our music neuroscience research to empower artists. We will help creators and collectors connect and tip the scales in their favor, with both sides sharing in the rewards.

Join us on our mission to advance the music NFT community and propel the web3 music renaissance.

Check out the directory and sign up for dopr’s early invite list here.

Also, if you are interested in following some great resources in the space, please check out Coopahtroopah, Water and Music, BlockchainBrett, and Kaspar.

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