Trying to understand cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) can be annoying AF, but the amount of cash being made and spent in the crypto space can’t be ignored. Artists and musicians have been independently making millions of dollars by selling digital versions of their art, music, video clips, photos and pretty much any other kind of digital media they can think to throw up on the blockchain.
In February, DJ and music producer 3LAU made $11.6 million selling music NFTs in only 24 hours. Just a few days later, Canadian musician Grimes made $5.8 million in 20 minutes. DJ Steve Aoki made $4.2 million in the first week of March, while Post Malone auctioned off an NFT to play beer bong against him. Those types of paydays might've normally taken the artists years to collect, but NFTs have created a new model for artists to reach consumers by avoiding middlemen in distribution.
In the music world, an NFT could be defined as a rare collectible that is stored on a digital ledger. Artists and musicians can create NFTs themselves to auction off various forms of digital media to their fans who pay using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum and others. They could add multiple buyers to the NFT or make it so there is only one owner. The artist can also receive royalties every time a buyer of that digital copy sells it to somebody else. This puts a lot of power back in the hands of artists who now have another way to monetize their art or other forms of digital merchandise.
NFTs could have a huge effect on streaming platforms that simply don’t earn artists enough. We could see an era when artists are able to do business directly with music retailers and sell their NFTs like they used to with self-produced CDs. Keite Young from Medicine Man Revival says this is just the start of cryptocurrency and the concept of blockchain technology being utilized in the creative space.
Young says he plans to release an NFT in the next 90 days, in a series called End of the Tunnel.
“It’s a performance series that is curated into an installation,” Young says. “It happens at different venues and it’s not open to the public.”
Fans will be able to purchase a digital copy of the installation as an NFT. (The digital works sold as NFTs can still be copied and shared themselves, but ownership of a token is unique. Think of it as something like a copy of a popular book autographed by the author; there are lots of copies of the book and more can easily be made, but the NFT version is one of kind.)
Young says his company Culture Factory has been working to help others build their own NFT platforms. Young says Culture Factory wants to be "the concierge" to the web 3.0 experience. He says he has the time, skillset and knowledge to engage the NFT community and develop product-to-market strategies consistent with the values of the community.
“NFTs will give artists another outlet to create exclusive content for fans in a more artistic fashion. In the future we’ll see the value of songs appreciate, like Basquiat paintings.” – Dallas rapper Rakim-Al Jabbaar
John Patillo, CEO of Southwest Digital, a Houston-based music distribution company, says they will add an NFT component onto their platform. He raises the point that artists such as Snoop Dogg and Post Malone sell 6 to 7 figures in digital assets and believes that artists in the Southern hip-hop market can see similar financial success.
“We are treating our distribution layout almost like a Walmart or Amazon in a digital space,” Patillo says. “For example, we have NFTs coming from Nipsey Hussle, DJ Screw and NFTs from some of the iconic guys here in the South. And not only are we going to let them live on our NFT platform or collectible storefront but we also are going to create these NFT collectible galleries.”
This will be a physical place where fans could go see the digital assets, leading up to the final countdown of the auction. Patillo says his company educates artists on how they can navigate this new digital space of crypto currency, NFTs and blockchain technology.
Every artist isn’t going to make $5 million in 20 minutes, but independent artists could find creative ways to use NFTs to connect more directly with fans and drive their careers forward. All it takes is one super-fan to completely change an artist’s situation. If somebody feels like digital ownership of your next project or backstage experience is worth 20 to 50 thousand dollars, then let them buy it. Instead of just posting it on YouTube or Spotify for a percentage of what the artist might think their work is worth, they could see a sizeable payday as people find greater value in digital assets.
As the NFT wave gains momentum, we will see more creative ways artists for artists to capitalize on NFTs.
Dallas rapper Rakim-Al Jabbaar says NFTs will change the rap game forever and he is working on a special NFT release with his upcoming album.
“NFTs will give artists another outlet to create exclusive content for fans in a more artistic fashion,” Al-Jabbaar says. “In the future we’ll see the value of songs appreciate, like Basquiat paintings.”
UPDATE: Based on information provided by Pollstar, a previous version of this article stated that the North American concert industry lost more than $30 billion in 2020 — Pollstar later corrected that statistic to be the global concert industry.
The global live events industry lost more than $30 billion in 2020 due to the global pandemic, including $9.7 billion at the box office, according to the year-end report by live-entertainment industry trade publication Pollstar.
At the top of the year, the industry was projected to hit a record-setting $12.2 billion at the box office in 2020, but instead incurred $9.7 billion in Boxoffice losses after the industry effectively shut down completely in March.
The projected $30+ billion figure includes unreported events, ancillary revenues, including sponsorships, ticketing, concessions, merch, transportation, restaurants, hotels, and other economic activity tied to the live events, according to the report.
Additionally, these calculations took into consideration the losses among the 147,000 live businesses featured in Pollstar’s directories as well industry studies, which included 2018’s PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2018-2022 report and The 2017 Arts and Cultural Economic Activity study undertaken by the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the National Endowment for the Arts.
“It’s been an extraordinarily difficult year for the events industry, which has been disproportionately impacted by the Coronavirus. As painful as it is to chronicle the adversity and loss our industry and many of our colleagues faced, we understand it is a critical undertaking towards facilitating our recovery, which is thankfully on the horizon,” said Ray Waddell, president of Oak View Group’s Media & Conferences Division, which oversees Pollstar and sister publication VenuesNow. “With vaccines, better testing, new safety and sanitization protocols, smart ticketing and other innovations, the live industry will be ramping up in the coming months, and we’re sure that at this time next year we’ll have a very different story to tell.”
You can read the full report here.
Elton John’s “Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour” was the year’s tour tour with $87.1 million grossed between Nov. 30- through March 7; it was No. 2 on 2019’s tally with $212 million grossed. Rounding out the top 10 are Celine Dion, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, U2, Queen + Adam Lambert, Post Malone, Eagles, Jonas Brothers, Dead & Company, and Andrea Bocelli.
The $30+ billion in projected losses is derived from the 10.92% year-over-year growth rate tabulated in Q1, the last full quarter before the Pandemic. The $9.7 billion in Pollstar Boxoffice losses represents an increase over the $8.9 billion projected in Q1 as losses grew substantially after the quarter’s end.
Jurassic World Velocicoaster to Open At Universal Orlando Resort on June 10, 2021 – Bringing to Life the Most Intense Coaster Ever, Inspired by Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment’s Blockbuster Films
Orlando, Fla. (April 6, 2021) – It’s official: On Thursday, June 10, thrill-seekers will have the opportunity to soar 155 feet in the air and catapult up to 70 mph alongside a ferocious Velociraptor pack as Universal Orlando Resort opens Jurassic World VelociCoaster – Florida’s fastest and tallest launch coaster, located at the Islands of Adventure theme park.
This all-new species of roller coaster was conceived and designed by the award-winning Universal Creative team in partnership with acclaimed filmmakers from Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment – bringing to life a new “Jurassic World” story that combines the epic thrills and popular characters from the blockbuster film franchise with jaw-dropping roller coaster maneuvers. The original cast from the movies – Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard and BD Wong – reprise their roles as Owen Grady, Claire Dearing and Dr. Henry Wu in the thrilling new attraction, which sends guests on an extreme adventure through the raptor paddock and beyond with the films’ Velociraptor pack: Blue, Charlie, Delta and Echo.
VelociCoaster will transport guests into a dynamic environment inspired by the “Jurassic World” films, surrounded by intricately detailed rock work and lush landscaping, conveniently located near the elevated watch tower used to keep an eye on the dinosaurs. Once inside, guests are greeted by Dr. Wu as they learn about the cutting-edge new coaster, which Jurassic World is touting as its newest “carnivore expansion.” Along the way, they’ll hear the screams of fellow riders as they rapidly roar by with Blue, Delta, Charlie and Echo right on their heels – and even come face-to-face with a few hungry Velociraptors who are anxiously awaiting being released from their stables. As the adrenaline builds and guests approach the load platform, they will hear a few reassuring words from Claire Dearing – and one final warning from Owen Grady.
Then, the ultimate high-speed chase begins.
After boarding revolutionary ride vehicles that have been specially designed to intensify the thrills, guests take off on an epic coaster experience that sends them through the raptor paddock, into the air, just inches above water, and more. They’ll encounter a series of intense maneuvers along the coaster’s 4,700 feet of track, including near-misses, a barrel roll right above the Islands of Adventure lagoon, high-speed launches – the fastest reaching 70 mph in 2.4 seconds – and the signature “Top Hat,” which propels riders 155 feet in the air and then immediately into an 80-degree drop – Universal’s steepest drop yet.
Stay tuned. More details about Jurassic World VelociCoaster will be revealed soon.
Universal Orlando continues to implement its enhanced health and safety procedures and guidelines focused on “screening, spacing and sanitization.” Key measures include screening guests and team members, enforcing social distancing, requiring face coverings, limiting capacity at the theme parks, attractions and hotels and increasing the already-aggressive cleaning and disinfection procedures. Universal Orlando has also launched its own contactless
payment method – Universal Pay – which can be accessed through the Official Universal Orlando Resort App and allows guests to quickly scan to pay for purchases at most merchandise and quick-service food locations throughout the theme parks and CityWalk directly from the in-app wallet.
For more information about Jurassic World VelociCoaster and to sign-up to receive exclusive updates about the attraction, visit www.universalorlando.com.