music nfts have emerged as a subset of the nft ecosystem focused on music metadata. There are a few different origins for most music nfts:
The lifecycle of a music nft is pretty standard:
What differentiates a music nft from any other ERC721 token? Metadata. Marketplaces, like OpenSea & Zora, display your token by calling the
tokenURI method defined in the EIP721 standard:
And the EIP721 metadata standard only includes 3 attributes
That’s it. From here we get more opinionated. Most people want more data than just name, description & image. But, that’s all that’s defined in the Ethereum standard, how would we add more attributes?
OpenSea is the biggest nft marketplace. As a result, when people create nfts, they’ll inevitably ask:
OpenSea’s Metadata Standards expand upon the EIP721 standard by indexing the following additional attributes:
OpenSea is a very generic marketplace. It’s clear the
tokenURI method is important for representing non-funglible tokens in the metaverse. However, are the standards defined by OpenSea sufficient to represent music nfts?
How will music nfts be consumed in the metaverse? We don’t need to speculate, we can already see music nfts being indexed and integrated into platforms such as SpinAmp. This is the ideal vision for music, free to consume across the metaverse and valuable to own. SpinAmp is just one example, but demonstrates the need for standardized music metadata.
in the metaverse, music nfts will only be as good as their metadata.
Back to the original question: What differentiates a music nft from any other ERC721 token?
If you’re reading this article, you’re probably interested in migrating off platforms onto your own smart contracts. While we often demonize platforms as centralizing forces in a decentralized ecosystem, platforms add a lot of value to the music nft ecosystem. A few examples:
When I was an engineer at mint songs, we worked closely with Catalog to defined a standard music metadata schema to serve as the foundation for music nfts in the metaverse:
This new standard expands upon OpenSea’s standards to include attributes such at:
This is just the beginning. Now that platforms have defined a baseline for music metadata, we, as a decentralized community get to decide:
Let’s summarize the key points so far:
To help make it easy for music nft projects to add the standardized music metadata, I released an npm package:
This was my starting place, now the question is, how can we make it as easy as projects to plug into the standard metadata for music nft:
This first post is going to outline the initial hyperstructure we built:
music nft hyperstructure: minting nfts with music metadata.
From here on out many of the ideas are based on the original Hyperstructures article. Jacob given me a lot of inspiration here and I wanna tip my hat to the foundation he created. I highly recommend reading the original to get a deeper understanding of Hyperstructures.
Hyperstructure - Crypto protocols that can run for free and forever, without maintenance, interruption or intermediaries (Jacob). Hyperstructures take the form of protocols that run on blockchains. Something can be considered a hyperstructure if it is:
- Unstoppable: the protocol cannot be stopped by anyone. It runs for as long as the underlying blockchain exists.
- Free: there is a 0% protocol wide fee and runs exactly at gas cost.
- Valuable: accrues value which is accessible and exitable by the owners.
- Expansive: there are built-in incentives for participants in the protocol.
- Permissionless: universally accessible and censorship resistant. Builders and users cannot be deplatformed.
- Positive sum: it creates a win-win environment for participants to utilize the same infrastrastructure.
- Credibly neutral: the protocol is user-agnostic.
Traditional music infrastructure like record labels and distribution platforms require a trusted intermediary to maintain and operate it - without it the infrastructure will degrade and/or stop operating altogether. These operators are organizations, either privately owned or state controlled—and require both profits, labor and/or subsidies to serve their purpose over time.
Even platforms like Catalog / Mint Songs / Sound require a
whitelist to publish music nfts on their contracts. These whitelists typically require manual updates. If these platforms die (or funding runs dry), their infrastructure could, in theory, become unusable.
The music hyperstructure has been deployed on 4 different chains (including ETH & Polygon Mainnet) & requires zero maintenance. It will run, unstoppably, as long as Ethereum is producing blocks.
See the full list of verified contracts here.
Hyperstructures can be simultaneously free forever to utilize and extremely valuable to own. This is possible because of their unstoppability. There is no cost to maintain and keep the protocol operational forever. Once deployed, it will work exactly as it’s designed with no degradation. Gas costs are still paid by the user of the protocol.
The music hyperstructure is:
Music hyperstructures can simultaneously be free to use and also extremely valuable to own and govern.
I work with a lot of music nft projects. When 10k pfp projects, focused on music, make promises, they often include roadmaps including:
Before, these music nft projects had to hire an engineer and spend multiple weeks building out these smart contracts / minting UI. By using the music hyperstructure nft projects like Squad of Knights & Chill Pill can not only add minting quickly, but can easily set a
platformFee to drive financial value back to the projects who are onboarding more musicians into the music nft ecosystem.
createCurationto deploy your custom factory and add
Music hyperstructures have Expansive Fees—built-in incentives that can be utilized by anyone adding value in a codified manner on top of the protocol.
There are 2 sets of expansive fees built into the music hyperstructure:
platformFee- new fee type. ✨
findersFeeinherited from Zora V3.
![ZORA V3 Finder's Fee
Music hyperstructures do not contain permissions. There are 2 implications of this:
The music hyperstructure is fully permisionless at the base level. Curators / platforms / musicians can use the music hyperstructure to create custom curation mechanisms. This enable permissionless minting / curation.
curation is a public good.
The codebases powering music hyperstructures are totally open. No need to give credit when you integrate music hyperstructures into your own apps. The key distinction between permissionless & credibly neutral is:
I like CC0 as a foundation for credible-neutrality:
CC0 enables scientists, educators, artists and other creators and owners of copyright- or database-protected content to waive those interests in their works and thereby place them as completely as possible in the public domain, so that others may freely build upon, enhance and reuse the works for any purposes without restriction under copyright or database law. - source
Wanna use a music hyperstructure? You don’t need to ask permission:
Most music ecosystems are extractive:
By being free forever, there’s no incentive to fork the exact functionality. However, there is value in creating a differentiated solution with additional functionality.
By being unstoppable, there’s no risk of hyperstructures rug-pulling you.
By being permissionless, the rules of music are guaranteed to be unchanging, forever.
Combine these to get a vibrant ecosystem of independent actors. Each competing in their own self-interest, to create a cohesive, sustainable, and profitable music community for all participants.
Taking Jacob’s original version of a hyperstructure, here’s what we built:
Given the centralized nature of the music ecosystem in its current form, as well as the decentralized and unstopable nature of blockchains, we have the opportunity to create a more equitable system for creators. We have the opportunity to build a system that:
Every single piece of music technology will be rebuilt, from the ground up, with these new rules in mind. No more extractive behaviors. More opportunities for musicians to earn a sustainable living from their art, as well as growing opportunities for other actors to participate in financially productive ways as well.
💿 viva la musica