• Nas and The Chainsmokers Participate in $55 Million NFT Music Platform Royalty Raising

  • NFTs are causing havoc in the worlds of art and video games. However, it is possible that NFTs (non-fungible tokens) will have an even greater impact in the music industry, potentially transforming an industry that critics say has long benefited lawyers and middlemen at the expense of musicians.

    Royal is a blockchain startup that is attempting to effect such a change. Royal, which was launched this summer by Justin Blau, better known as DJ 3lau, not only helps artists create and sell NFTs, but it also offers a new business model in which fans can invest in an artist’s work and receive royalties in return.

    Blau put the concept to the test this summer, releasing 333 NFTs that represented 50% of streaming ownership in his new single. According to Royal, the experiment was a huge success, as tokens in the song are now worth over $6 million and have resulted in over $600,000 in secondary market trades.

    “I wanted to demonstrate that there was a market for this. “Until now, NFTs were just collectibles,” Blau told Decrypt, adding that he gave away the 333 NFTs for free to fans and that those who “invested with their attention” received them “now have assets worth more than $8,000

    Blau went on to say that Royal intends to open its platform to many more artists and that fans will be able to invest in 1,000 songs by next year.

    Celebrities are drawn to royal funding.

    Royal has already piqued the interest of investors despite the fact that it is only four months old. Royal announced on Monday that it has raised $55 million, in addition to the $16 million seed round it raised in August.

    Among Royal’s investors are well-known names in blockchain finance, such as Andreessen Horowitz, Coinbase Ventures, and Paradigm. However, the new round includes some celebrity cachet as well, with musicians The Chainsmokers, Nas, and Logic & Kygo all choosing to back the project.

    While the premise of Royal is intriguing—fans fund their favorite artists and receive a portion of royalties—it remains to be seen whether the platform can replicate its initial success on a large scale.

    3LAU, a musician, sells his album for $11 million using NFTs.

    Music copyright is notoriously complicated, and for decades it has been the subject of bitter and costly lawsuits. Royal’s model of eliminating middlemen and utilizing

    Technology based on blockchain

    Directly raising funds from fans could make the royalty process less contentious, but questions remain.

    These include how much control the artists will have over their songs, as well as how they will be used by third parties such as politicians or advertisers. It’s also unclear how accessible the NFT process will be to ordinary fans, who may struggle to understand blockchain, wallets, and royalty payments. Then there’s the ongoing regulatory uncertainty, with the SEC claiming that most cryptocurrencies—possibly including NFTs—are securities and that trading them requires permission from the agency.

    Artists, according to Blau, will be able to retain creative control over their songs while sharing financial proceeds with fans. However, he acknowledged that the intersection of NFTs, copyright, and music is new territory for lawyers and that it may take time for firm rules to emerge.

    At the moment, Royal is moving at full speed, fueled in part by what Blau describes as “enormous support” from other musicians, including a slew of well-known names.

    “The value of music ownership is vastly misrepresented and undervalued today, but that won’t be for long as more musicians embrace the web3 ecosystem,” Blau wrote in a recent blog post describing the emerging NFT era.

    What's your reaction?