Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group — who count Adele, Justin Bieber, Kanye West and Elton John among their talent — are going to be launch partners for Snowcrash.
Non-fungible tokens haven't meaningfully punched through into the music industry just yet — with most digital collectibles focused on trading cards or distinctive pieces of artwork.
But all of that might be about to change, with Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group becoming launch partners in a brand-new NFT marketplace.
Snowcrash is set to be based on the Solana blockchain — and already, non-fungible tokens celebrating the work of Bob Dylan and Miles Davis have been scheduled for release later this year.
It's no coincidence that Snowcrash was co-founded by Bob Dylan's son Jesse — and it comes months after Sony and Universal Music Group spent a whopping $550 million to secure the rights to the legend's song catalog.
The project is promising to work with intellectual property holders to create a range of collections spanning "primary drops, limited editions, streaming rights and digital goods, while providing the most efficient and eco-friendly experiences for buyers, sellers and creators."
Jesse Dylan has expressed confidence that this is "just the tip of the iceberg in this emerging space," while his co-founder Walter De Brouwer added:
"With Snowcrash, we have found a perfect opportunity where the entertainment community, Silicon Valley and Wall Street all come together to create opportunities for artists and organizations impacting the world today. We have also launched the platform on the Solana blockchain, which is a much better choice for the environment."
It'll be interesting to see what sort of reception this music-focused NFT platform will receive from the industry — and it's likely to be a lot less hostile than the backlash that gaming companies have received after their forays into crypto collectibles. Artists often have to contend with the likes of Spotify and Apple taking big chunks out of their royalties — and on top of that, the coronavirus pandemic eliminated crucial revenues from live events.
The First of Many?
Sony's president of global digital business, Dennis Kooker, said the company's priority is to now "develop a range of opportunities for our recording artists with a focus on delivering accessible, user-friendly experiences for both creators and fans."
The list of artists signed to Sony Music Entertainment reads like a who's who of modern music — and includes ABBA, Adele, Beyoncé, Justin Bieber, Mariah Carey and Snoop Dogg to name but a few.
Universal Music Group explained that it wanted to develop "artist-focused, premium campaigns and fan-oriented collectibles with world-class partners, which will enable our artists to advance their cultural influence at the forefront of innovation."
Elton John, Eninem, Iggy Azalea, Kanye West, Mick Jagger and The Stone Roses are just some of the artists among Universal's plethora of record labels.
It's going to be interesting to see whether any more big-name artists opt to release NFTs through Snowcrash in the months ahead — and whether this will boost adoption of digital assets among everyday consumers. While T-shirts and hoodies have long been coveted merchandise for gig goers and band devotees, the challenge now is to determine whether that same magic can be transferred to the blockchain.