What These Big Artists Taught Us About Music in the Blockchain

The music industry is not in its best shape and has been in trouble since Napster allowed free music downloads in the early 2000s.

The music industry is not in its best shape and has been in trouble since Napster allowed free music downloads in the early 2000s. Two decades into the digital era, it’s no mystery to anyone that streaming services only pay a fraction of a dollar per stream to the artist, and ‘buying’ music is a concept reserved for those who are old enough to remember going to the record store. With these in mind, it’s natural that many artists or label executives jumped at the occasion of alternative payment methods using crypto and bringing back the concept of collecting music through NFTs.
The promise of a decentralized method of selling their music and direct contact with the fans without going through constipating record deals was embraced by big names and then naturally poured into indie artists who always look for ways to fund their music. Some artists made the most significant impact, and personally advocated for the technology, while others only tried but at least showed the many ways not to blend music and crypto.

It all starts with a song, and our first pick of the list is a familiar name to everyone who never settled with the status quo and kicked off the crypto wave with an album.

Snoop Dogg – The Pioneering Hound

Snoop Dogg being unpredictable is one of the few sure things you can expect from him. Even if you don’t listen to Hip Hop, you know how Snoop is just from his media persona and charisma that got him involved almost everywhere in Movies, Tv and business. On the music side, he started his career by becoming the 1st artist to have a top charting debut record back in 1993 and still managed to make eyes turn when he announced in 2013 that his next album would be “available in bitcoin and delivered in a drone.” Quite the punchline at the time when bitcoin was only the land of the few but to no surprise endorsed by the rapper who personally changes the designs of his headphones and is a global ambassador for many big brands.


“If anything is constant, it’s that the music industry will always be changing,” he rightly said in an interview.

He is the major force in the big names when it comes to music in the blockchain. His 20th album B.O.D.R. (BACC ON DEATH ROW) was released in collaboration with Gala Music, a new ecosystem for artists and fans that aims to transform the music industry for the better, just as he purchased the historic “Death Row” label and announced he would turn it into a blockchain-focused music company. 

The album release consisted of 25 000 stash boxes released as NFTs, with the holder gaining both virtual and real-life perks and bonus tracks if purchased through the Gala market.


Gala Music is still new, calling itself the first decentralized record company” that has taken on all the hard-learned lessons of web3 music so far and implementing personal ownership and listen-to-earn models where both the artist and fan is rewarded for listening or owing the song (or at least it’s blockchain equivalent).

Snoop Dogg is officially web3 royalty, spreading his influence as far as being the most prominent advocate of music in the metaverse. He partnered with the Sandbox and built himself a palace worthy of the hip-hop legend he is. And in true rapper style, he shot the music videos for his single “House I Built” In an expensive mansion, sat on a throne surrounded by women, cars, and jewellery. The only difference was all was virtual, short directly from his metaverse project.

The “Snoopverse” is not only an eye grabber or a tool for promoting his multiple NFT collections- the latest of which made him over 44 million in less than a week but a direct advertisement to get full early access to his virtual world to take part in virtual hangouts, concerts, and get other perks.

One fan went so far as to buy the land next to him for a mindblowing $500,000! You can, too, even if you do not spend half a million, access his world and decide whether the virtual hang is worth it. 

Whether all his crypto endeavours will be successful and lead to something is still being determined. There is no doubt though that Snoop Dogg is worth following if you’re a music and blockchain enthusiast.

50 Cent – “Forgetting” Made Him $8 Million

50 Cent is another Hip Hop Artist who followed Snoop Dogg’s steps in the music scene and even in crypto endeavours. Just one year after Snoop announced his Bitcoin plans, 50 released his 5th studio album, “Animal Ambition,” and added the option of purchasing the album with Bitcoin. 

This seemingly “small” difference turned out to be the most successful aspect of the album’s release, which only met mixed reviews from the audience and critics, even though it sold 46,000 copies in its first week, going on the top 10. The release method of posting every song as a single before releasing the album only somehow produced the needed results, as it was seen as a way to build buzz for an album that was far from his creative peaks. The Bitcoin rush of the time helped him generate more sales, both from his loyal fans and crypto heads, who at the time, just wanted to find a way to use crypto.

As his career never reached the height of “Get Rich or Die Trying,” he started diversifying, yet only bet a little on the blockchain apart from news on him buying Eminem NFTs and his fan selling his Botched 50-cent Tatto as an NFT.

The difference between 50 cents and the astute Snoop Dog is that he’s not the most careful investor, shown not only by his lack of consistency in the blockchain. He joined many other cases of people who realized they were crypto millionaires only when bitcoin skyrocketed. He said in an interview he literally forgot he made 700 bitcoin back in 2014. It proved best for him, though, as not cashing out for 4 years meant his original $400k in crypto was worth multiple millions.

The same cannot be said for computer engineer James Howells, who threw away a hard drive containing 8000 bitcoin (now worth over 100$ million!) and, after being continuously denied requests to search the site came up with a £10m hi-tech scheme, that involved A.I. and mechanical arms!

Your best bet to avoiding this unlikely futuristic dystopian scenario is simple, keep track of your investments, and don’t bet that forgetting will make you rich too! However, who knows, you might have stored up some bitcoin without your knowledge as 50 cents had.

Mariah Carey Wants You *and* Your Crypto for Christmas

As Christmas fades away with the start of the new year, it’s time for Mariah Carey’s biggest-ever song to slowly creep back until the next December. In 2017, the holiday season for Carey went beyond the multimillion streams and Christmas TV appearances when she, along with other names such as Sia, G-Eazy, Marilyn Manson, the Backstreet Boys, and 30+ others, ran a Cryptocurrency Christmas sale. It was a simple idea, you buy with Monero and get a discount on songs and merch, which eventually kick-started the community-funded Coral Reef Project.

The project aimed to bridge the gap between the crypto community and everyone else using music as the driving. And no one is better at reaching broad audiences in December than Mariah Carey. Nowadays, Monero is accepted by 50 online stores; each offering discounts thanks to the Coral Reel Projects. It was indeed expected to be more today, but the unstable nature of crypto showed itself again. 

This was a big deal at the time, however, not only cause big artists were involved in crypto. This sale marked the first mainstream retailer to accept Monero for transactions – the coin everyone saw as the alternative to the almighty but not very usable bitcoin was finally used in stores.

Years later, in 2021, as many coins that surpassed Monero’s market cap emerged, Mariah Carey signed her most recent partnership with the crypto exchange Gemini as the perfect brand ambassador for their goal of educating and inspiring women about better investment.

For every transaction that uses the referral code “Mariah,” a portion of the fee will go to the BlackGirlsCode charity, empowering young black women with tech skills. For a crypto exchange like Gemini, the campaign’s success brings apparent benefits in visibility; for Carey, it’s a way to keep growing n her role as a leading figure, this time for women artists in the Blockchain.

Her investments in web3 got even more complex with the Geojam app that takes the “web3 fan interaction” concept to the next level. If you accumulate enough $JAM tokens, you can propose a song idea with enough backing from the community to become your favourite artist’s new single. Technically, you could have Mariah Carey sing a song about how she does with the music the rest of the year from the app if you invest in it and enough people want it!

A day might come when “All I want for Christmas” won’t be the no. 1 December hit, and if that time ever comes, web3 might be Carey’s next big market.

Bjork for Web 3.0

The enigmatic Icelandic artist amassed a cult fan base over the years with her always different perspective on pop music. Bjork brought her avant-garde style to the limits with the folktronica 2017 “Utopia,” which also marked her unique entrance into the blockchain.

The album was the turning point where Bjork saw herself beyond a musical artist, giving more attention to the multimedia aspect of all her releases. With songs about love and solitude backed up by flutes, natural soundscapes, and the sonic layers of Venezuelan electronic producer Arca, it resonated with her fan base getting into almost every list of top albums in 2017.

The singer was always considered expressive and ahead of her time with her style; the same can be said about the album’s release, which not only did well on traditional mediums but was available to purchase using multiple coins and even rewarded those who bought her album through cryptocurrency with 100 AudioCoins – Bjork’s own crypto token.

The story of Bjork and AudioCoins might even hint at another form of Utopia, the crypto one between creatives and fans, that unfortunately didn’t go very well in the long term for Bjork. 

The idea was to reward and be rewarded and become a gateway for her non-crypto fans into the technology. Cutting the middle is always the goal, but that doesn’t mean it will always result in more success. Yet, adopting new technologies is now proven to be a long process, and not many of her non-crypto fanbase was ready or eager.

The coin was and is still available for purchase on exchanges, which meant that anyone, not only Bjork fans, could trade it. The initial price of the coin was 0.0026$. Three days later, it tripled from the big buzz around it, yet today they are only worth 4p. Knowing what we know today about crypto markets doesn’t come as a surprise. Perhaps aiming to get attention from the crypto community that was not that interested in the non-monetary perks initiated the project’s downfall.

Bjork and the blockchain company behind the tech, Blackpool, said it’s not about getting profit but experimenting with what we can do with the blockchain. On that note, she kept insisting on the power of web3 as the singer made her first appearance at the 3D virtual reality platform Decentraland Metaverse Music Festival in November 2022.

Indie to Go

Last but not least is all the indie artist who needs the blockchain’s crowdfunding possibilities the most. Label deals are not available to everyone and are not fit for every artist. Most can’t find any support other than from their fans, which they aim to involve more through crypto.

There are countless examples of small artists who successfully used blockchain tech to their advantage. They put their entire efforts into web3, spent countless hours on NFT Twitter, and got involved in many projects until their name resonated with collectors or they found a platform that worked for them. 

The Indie-Folk Band Goldberry is a successful example of using the decentralized Social blockchain (DeSo) and its reward system that pays the user for the engagement they get with its own currency. With around 1500 followers, they managed to gather a little over 500$ with what the in-platform currency was valued at the time. It may not sound much, but it is equal or less to some hundred thousand streams on streaming platforms!

Another blockchain solution, like Royal.io, uses the royalty aspect of songs. With the simple logic of owning a piece of the artist’s songs and then splitting royalties with them, it. pushed the sharing ownership with the artist’s concept successfully by offering to buy the native token using a credit card and then getting paid from streaming earnings. If you have a good ear for hits, you could earn much more than you invested!

One of the best examples of a working musician turned into an NFT star without using any specific platforms is Millo Lombardy, a.k.a Nifty Sax. He was one of the first to enter NFT Twitter and was the first behind-the-scenes musician to sell over 500eth of instrumental music. NFTs even started his music NFT education platform, Nifty music academy.

Not all artists, though, managed to “make it” and followed that up with the perks they promised or even transferred web3 fame into real-life fame. 

Longevity is the main issue regarding all new crypto technologies that offer indie artists a new way to get financed and reach fans. Mariah Carey is, in a sense, “to-big-to-fail,” while more minor artists could see their fan base gone from a non-successful drop. Web3 technologies are mostly related to the market value of a specific token or, like everything else online, how many users the platform has and the traction they bring to non-crypto people in the future.

Blockchain Music is Here to Evolve

The success of implementing blockchain solutions in the troubled music industry does not only affect artists but so does it affect you, the fan.

As it is now, music is hanging by a thread. The only reliable revenue sources are concerts, which naturally are becoming increasingly expensive and, as we saw during covid, could not even happen for a long time.

Even the situation with web3, crypto, and music is far from perfect, but that doesn’t mean we can’t help make a positive impact. In our recent talk with the team from Coin Slotty, an online Bitcoin casino, we concluded that rather than seeing the blockchain as the promised salvation that will replace streaming, we could use it as an always-there companion to an artist’s career and a way to offer fans something special from time to time and get rewarded for it. 

If you’re lucky to be an artist, there’s much space to learn and grow. Considering that vinyl overtook CD sales this year, the act of collecting music might return to what it once was and push the creator to fan model even further than the listed artists did.

Streaming is a reality that is here to stay, and naturally, the blockchain came up with variations. Audius is one of the first platforms that combined streaming with crypto, thus rewarding listeners and artists with their native tokens. Emanate is another exciting platform that, unlike Audius, doesn’t use a reward system but its native token per stream system with a $6 per month subscription. Bitsong is worth mentioning, as it blends advertisement revenue into the mix but heavily leans on the creator’s side.

They are far from competing Spotify or Apple music. But they are on to something that’s bound to develop further in the future.

We know from history that musical revolutions arise from the bottom up. The people/artists start a new movement, like the blues or rock n’ roll, which gradually goes up to the ones in charge. However, until big players come and shock the industry consistently, we will only make many sporadic attempts once a final, hopefully, better status quo is reached.

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

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