NFTs are being used by more and more celebrities and artists to sell exclusive content and earn huge amounts of money in the process, and the latest to join this trend is Abel Tesfaye, better known as the Weeknd. Before we get into this, it is important to understand what NFTs are exactly.
The enormous potential of NFTs can be seen through some of these sales and auctions, and the Weeknd’s content has certainly proved to be successful, earning nearly $2.29 million for the Canadian artist. These pieces were sold on the Nifty Gateway platform, which has recently sold similar tokenized content from the likes of Calvin Harris, Steve Aoki, Grimes and Zedd, among others. This collection included visual artwork from Strange Loop Studios, as well as a previously unheard song by The Weeknd.
The overall drop included three open editions, two silent auctions and two raffles. The cheapest pieces were priced at $100, while others were sold to the highest bidder. It was the open editions that raised the most money, with excerpts of The Weeknd’s unreleased track fetching $1.4 million in a 15-minute sale window. The biggest item on sale in the auction was a unique token with an animated video and a full song. The bidding window was open for 24 hours, and the highest bid came in at $490,000.
Thus, we can see how NFTs have helped some of the biggest names in the business earn huge amounts of money in a very short span of time, but it is interesting to note that this practice has quite a few critics as well. The environmental impact of blockchain is one of the most common arguments against NFTs, with the same issues being present with crypto usage as well.
NFTs have also been criticized as being speculative and pricing out most, if not all fans, with some truly stupendous bids as we have seen. It can also be argued that the big musicians and artists who have benefited so far do not really need the kind of money that they have earned through NFTs, although this has the potential to benefit smaller artists. Music streaming pays extremely low royalties unless your songs are generating hundreds of millions of streams, and so most musicians are dependent on live gigs and touring as their main source of income.
That has been impossible due to the pandemic, and so NFTs can help provide an alternative source of income, allowing musicians to earn directly from their fans through smart contracts which would cut out the middle man. These NFTs could also be programmed to include a portion of revenue from resales to be paid to the original creator, which is how they work on the Nifty Gateway platform.
The Weeknd is one of the biggest global stars to have taken advantage of NFTs recently, and he will certainly not be the last one. However, the endurance of this technology will depend on its ability to provide smaller musicians with a way to earn money directly from their fans, as that will be crucial with the complete absence of live music performances at the moment. NFTs do look like they are here to stay, but their legacy will depend on who they are able to help the most.