Musicians are desperately looking for ways to take more control of their earnings in these streaming times. Belgian DJ Buscemi chooses crypto tokens with web3 studio 49/META. “They put you in touch with your audience in a completely different way.”
More than ten albums, including an exclusive record for the iconic jazz label Blue Note and mix albums generating millions of streams. A worldwide hit with his single ‘Seaside’. Performances in more than forty countries on all continents and at festivals such as Burning Man and Tomorrowland. Buscemi’s dance music, with a touch of Latin and influences from house, lounge, jazz and Brazilian grooves, reaches many. But the DJ musician also wants to be meaningful on web3 and earn money.
With non-fungible tokens, certificates of ownership on a blockchain, musicians can sell their music directly to their fans as digital collectibles. They can count as tickets for concerts, merchandising and meet-and-greets. American DJ 3LAU broke all records last year with his NFT album ‘Ultraviolet’, which grossed $11.7 million. CryptoPunk rapper Spottie WiFi made $192,000 in seconds with his song ‘I’m Spottie’. Music companies also see the possibilities. Recently, Warner Music Group announced a partnership with OpenSea, the largest marketplace for NTFs.
- DJ and musician Dirk Swartenbroekx, aka Buscemi, is launching an NFT project where fans will have privileged access to a new album, share in royalties and create their own tracks for the new album.
- In other industries, they often use NFTs for loyalty programs or community building.
- Musicians are also increasingly exploring the metaverse.
30 euros per sample
Buscemi, an alias of the musician Dirk Swartenbroeckx, is jumping on the bandwagon. His NFT project, ‘Buscemi Beats NFT Collection’, consists of 3,000 original music samples in five themes: French Bossa Nova, Miami Latin, Oriental Asian, Balkan Love and Afro Vibes. It comes with a web application that allows Buscemi Beats-NFT owners to create their own remixes. The application is linked to a crypto wallet so they can register their creations on the blockchain.
A pack of five samples costs 0.095 ether (about 150 euros). Holders receive the album and a portion of the royalties. To create your own NFT, you still need to buy a composer NFT of 0.15 ether (240 euros) on the ethereum blockchain. It also entitles you to a gold edition of the album, which will be released next spring, and access to exclusive zones on the Discord forum service.
In this way, Buscemi gets better control of his income than with streaming services such as Spotify, where the financial benefit for most musicians is limited. ‘A musician receives on average only 300 euros for 100,000 streams,’ says Nick Decrock, who founded 49/META with Karel Byloos, the web3 studio with which Buscemi collaborates. About a dozen independent developers and marketers work at 49/META. Decrock sees NFT as a suitable technology to create long-term value for loyal customers, comparable to loyalty programs. The coffee chain Starbucks grafts its loyalty program on NFT technology, among other things.
I love being a pioneer.
Buscemi’s NFT project also has a strong creative side. The DJ will select five of the created remixes and work them into new tracks that will be launched in early 2023 as part of an NFT and vinyl album. The selected creators will be featured as co-artists on the album. Those not selected can still market their own NFT remix, with Buscemi entitled to a share of the royalties. “I love being a pioneer,” he says. ‘I was one of the first musicians in Belgium to offer my entire music collection on Spotify. NFTs offer opportunities to present your music in a completely new way.’
Music in the metaverse
NFTs are often mentioned in the same breath as the metaverse, 3D environments that must increasingly be connected. In the Fortnite gaming world, artists such as Travis Scott and Ariana Grande have already given massively attended performances. There are also regular performances in Roblox. JBC recently organized a virtual concert with Camille, the Flemish pop phenomenon with whom the clothing chain has released a collection.
Blockchain-based worlds also have a music scene. Mumbai Science, a DJ project by Jonas Kiesekoms and Maarten Elen, recently performed in the blockchain world Decentraland with its electronic music and NFT robots in front of a hundred enthusiastic avatars. ‘Participating in a performance like this is more fun and more social than listening to music alone at home,’ says Maarten Elen. Working with NFTs was a major shift in Mumbai Science’s business model. “Before, the money came mainly from the performances, and Spotify was a kind of advertising channel. Now we have the NFTs. They don’t make us millionaires, but they are an important source of income, which also gives the shows a sales promotion dimension’.
Decrock does not rule out the possibility that Buscemi will also move to the metaverse as the choice of virtual environments increases. “The sound quality has to be at a high level,” he says.
The ‘Buscemi Beats NFT Collection’ will launch on November 3rd at NFT.London, the biggest NFT event in Europe. The Belgian DJ plays a set.