Will NFTs Finally Fulfill The Blockchain Promise To Music?
It wasn’t all that long ago that I remember being inundated with proposals for new music delivery systems based on blockchain. The promise to music artists was, “You can charge whatever you want for your music,” and “Take all the money instead of giving it to a record label.” It got to the point where instead of just labeling blockchain as an underlying technology for their offering, they were labeling it as a feature. After a year of unfulfilled predictions, just the mention of blockchain put the proposal in the “next” file. If the very smart people at record labels weren’t already employing the technology, then perhaps there was no “there” there.
February 2021 has focused a new light on the technology however, this time in the form of NFTs, or Non-Fungible Tokens. An NFT is simply a record of who owns a unique piece of digital content. That content can be anything from art, music, graphics, tweets, memes, games - you name it. If it’s digital and it was created, it can be an NFT. It’s ‘non-fungible” because it can’t be readily exchanged for a similar good at a similar price.
When someone “mints” an NFT, they create a file that lives on the blockchain. The beauty of this technology is that once that happens it can’t be copy and pasted, edited, deleted or otherwise manipulated. It’s the original creation, and although copies of the work can be made and distributed, they are not the original and therefore, have less value.
When people think of blockchain, they immediately think of Bitcoin, which is also built on the technology. NFTs use a different cryptocurrency called Ethereum though, which means that you must first buy Ether in order to purchase an NFT.