If you’re an artist, musician, or producer, you may be familiar with the blockchain trend of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Moreover, the music industry is constantly reinventing itself. As such, novel mediums for distribution are becoming commonplace for artists looking outside the box. Accordingly, many artists are now considering how to create a music NFT and the benefits of doing so.
In this article, we’re going to teach you how to create a music NFT on Ethereum. We’ll walk you through each step of the process of creating your own NFT using OpenSea. Also, we’ll consider some of the benefits and drawbacks of this novel format. Plus, we’ll look at the top music NFT platforms available.
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What are NFTs?
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are cryptographic, digital representations of assets on the blockchain. Each NFT contains unique metadata that provides the holder with verifiable ownership. Unlike fungible assets such as the US dollar (USD), Bitcoin (BTC), and Ethereum (ETH), NFTs don’t serve as a medium of exchange. Moreover, fungible assets are interchangeable. This means that you could lend somebody one ETH, and they wouldn’t have to give you the exact same ETH back. Likewise, when you take out a loan in USD, there is no expectation for you to repay the loan using the same physical units of account. Indeed, this would be impossible for most in the age of digital finance.
However, non-fungible assets are unique. Anyone can “tokenize” almost any asset in the form of a non-fungible token (NFT). Some of the most prominent use cases for NFTs include art, digital real estate, crypto gaming, certification, identity, and music. Furthermore, NFT holders enjoy a fully-transparent purchase history of their assets on-chain. This is particularly useful for digital collectibles because it provides holders with provably scarce assets that are completely decentralized and transparent.
NFTs contain a unique digital identity that verifies authenticity and ownership rights. The most prominent types of NFTs are the Ethereum ERC-721 and ERC-1155 standards. The ERC-721 standard requires NFTs to define the owner of an asset, metadata, and security data, which is ideal for exchanging rare in-game assets. In addition, the ERC-1155 standard enables multiple NFTs to be minted in batches from a single token contract.
How Do Music NFTs Work?
Music NFTs enable artists and producers to create limited runs of verifiably rare tracks and releases. Unlike traditional formats, NFTs can’t be illegally copied or duplicated. Because music NFTs are held on the blockchain, they cannot be manipulated or altered. Each music NFT can be a digital representation of a song or release. Also, music NFTs can contain bonus content, fan experiences, concert tickets, and rare merchandise ownership rights.
Furthermore, NFTs allow artists to engage with audiences like never before. Plus, superfans can show off their dedication by owning rare releases. Pioneering NFT artists include Steve Aoki, Kings of Leon, Tory Lanez, 3LAU, Dillon Francis, Katy Perry, and Deadmau5. However, the NFT trend is in full swing throughout the music industry as artists rush to jump aboard the NFT train.
How to Create a Music NFT
Now, let’s take a look at how to create a music NFT. The process of creating an NFT is called “minting”. Multiple blockchains facilitate the minting of NFTs. However, in this example, we’ll be using the Ethereum blockchain. Ethereum is the home to a substantial amount of development expertise in the blockchain and Web3 space and hosts many of the most prominent NFT marketplaces. As such, it comes as a natural choice for this example.
In this example, we’ll be creating an NFT using an audio file. However, you could include artwork, visuals, and many other additional features. When we have our original piece of music ready to go, we will also need something called an “Ethereum wallet”. A crypto wallet is what we use to store our crypto and send it to other wallets.
To do this, we tell the Ethereum network in our crypto wallet that we want to send an amount of Ethereum’s native cryptocurrency, ETH, to another wallet’s address. Once we have chosen the destination for our ETH, we sign a transaction to confirm a “spend” using our wallet.
The most popular marketplace for buying, selling, and minting NFTs is OpenSea. To interact with the OpenSea NFT marketplace, you’ll need a Web3 wallet and some ETH. In this example, we’ll be using MetaMask. MetaMask is the most widely used Ethereum wallet and is ideal for interacting with NFT marketplaces such as OpenSea.
You can download MetaMask as a web browser extension. After downloading, you’ll need to make a copy of your seed phrase. A seed phrase is a series of randomly generated words that you’ll need to write down and keep in a safe place. Never give your seed phrase to anyone else, and always make sure you keep a backup in a safe place. Furthermore, MetaMask is a non-custodial wallet. This means that you are in control of any assets you hold inside the MetaMask wallet.
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After installing MetaMask, you’ll need to fund it with some ETH. You can purchase ETH using a centralized crypto exchange such as Coinbase or Binance. You’ll have to provide proof of your identity to sign up with these exchanges. However, once this is complete, you can link your bank account and purchase some ETH.
Create an OpenSea Account
Although creating an account on OpenSea is free, you’ll need ETH to pay for transaction fees known as “gas fees”. Gas fees fluctuate depending on how busy the network is. Accordingly, you may want to wait until network congestion is low to avoid high fees. After purchasing ETH, you’ll need to send it to your MetaMask wallet by copying the relevant wallet address and sending ETH to it from your chosen centralized exchange.
After funding your MetaMask wallet, it’s time to create an OpenSea account. First, you’ll need to allow OpenSea to access your MetaMask wallet. Follow the instructions on-screen and create a “new item” by uploading an audio file. In this example, we’ll just be uploading a single audio file. However, you can upload multiple files as part of a collection or include additional non-audio content.
Give your NFT a name, provide a URL to the audio file, a description, and create a collection for your NFT. Select the number of issues, unlockable content, and note any explicit content in the provided field. Finally, hit “Create”. This process will require some ETH for gas. After confirming the transaction in MetaMask, your music NFT will be up for sale via your OpenSea profile. Although there are many reputable NFT music platforms available, OpenSea is by far the most widely used. However, feel free to shop around for other NFT marketplaces to release your music.
How to Sell Music NFTs
Many NFT investors consider OpenSea to be the “eBay for NFTs”. You can select various additional features to accompany your music and sell them in one convenient location as a bundle. Whenever a music NFT resells, artists can take an additional percentage of the transaction.
Furthermore, NFTs are not restricted to complete songs. You can export stems of your tracks and use these audio files for NFTs. Also, early NFT artist 3LAU made headlines in the crypto space by giving the top bidder of his NFT auction the opportunity to collaborate with the musician on a new release. Such added utility helps to increase the hype around an NFT project and can help NFTs command higher prices.
Another interesting concept to consider is the use of NFTs for sample packs. Releasing one-shots on Splice or any other music library may be lucrative for established artists. However, it soon becomes pretty clear when a sample pack is being overused. Releasing sample packs as NFTs completely bypasses this issue as the creator can stipulate how many packs will be available.
Pros and Cons
Selling music via NFT music platforms offers novel audience engagement opportunities. Also, the NFT industry is a space that promotes innovation and blurs the lines between art and technology. However, NFTs are relatively new. Accordingly, music NFTs could be limited in their appeal to an audience without experience with NFTs. If you are an undiscovered artist, the chances are that the returns from your music NFTs will be small.
Despite this, NFTs provide artists and producers with exciting opportunities for real-time royalty payments. Transparent ownership histories of non-fungible assets exist on the blockchain. Along with this includes metadata that can trace every stream or download. However, although this technology has the potential to reduce counterfeiting, some NFTs can still be illegally duplicated.
In addition, the process of minting NFTs comes with inherent technical risks. If you’ve never used a crypto wallet before or paid a gas fee on Ethereum, you could suffer financial loss if you make a mistake. Conversely, the upside of publishing music as NFTs is that you can do so without intermediaries. After uploading a track to an NFT marketplace, you are in control of any revenue that comes from it.
Moreover, you don’t need to pay a label, management, or a ticketing company to earn from NFTs. NFTs are a flexible format that can cater to all kinds of rare additional content and experiences. Plus, music NFTs can be tiered to cater to different budgets and levels of fan engagement and participation.
NFT Music Platforms
OpenSea is undoubtedly one of the top NFT music platforms. However, it may be worth familiarizing yourself with some of the other popular NFT music platforms. For instance, the Rarible NFT marketplace is a thriving ecosystem for NFT enthusiasts.
Furthermore, Opulus and Audius are among the most popular NFT music platforms. These platforms offer industry-specific services to help you release your music as NFTs. Other prominent NFT music platforms include BitSong, HUSL, and Rhythm (by BeatPlaylist).
How to Create a Music NFT – Summary
Learning how to create a music NFT could give you an unfair advantage for your next release. However, NFTs are experimental. As such, remember to lower your expectations a little if you’ve had successful releases in the past. The music industry may not be entirely ready for NFTs. However, this technology is set to disrupt the way we distribute records to audiences.
After reading this article, you should have a firm understanding of how to create a music NFT using one of the most popular NFT music platforms. Releasing music as an NFT provides a variety of innovative avenues for fan audience engagement and interaction. Tokenizing audio on the blockchain offers verifiably scarce music and bonus features that previous formats could not facilitate.
In addition, learning how to create a music NFT through a platform such as OpenSea gives you a gateway into the broader world of NFT art and decentralized finance (DeFi). MetaMask‘s Web3 wallet we used in this article gives you access to a wealth of DeFi protocols and Web3 applications. Check out our “DeFi Explained” and “How to Invest in Crypto” articles to further expand your blockchain and Web3 knowledge!
There has never been a better time to learn a new skill in an emerging tech industry. Also, the use of blockchain is becoming increasingly widespread sector-wide. Moralis Academy provides expert-guided tutorials covering the most exciting aspects of blockchain and Web3.