UPDATE: A Tribe Called Quest sold shares in their first five albums as an NFT. This is interesting.

We’ve heard far too much about NFTs (non-fungible tokens) this year with people dumping huge amounts of money on digital somethings. Many of these NFT schemes seem like, well, scheme. But this new move by A Tribe Called Quest seems to have a foundation in something concrete.

Today, using a special NFT broker called Royalty Exchange, the groundbreaking hip-hop band is selling a piece of the revenue from their first five albums. For 24 hours, an auction will be held. The starting price for this royalty package was US$35,000 along with 1.5% of the revenues from those albums. This includes “sales, streaming, sync, satellite radio, digital downloads, CD sales, TV/film/commercial placements, samples and more…”

This is a relatively new way of using NFTs and because the auction will be over by this time tomorrow, we should have an idea of the market’s appetite for this sort of thing.

According to reporting by Music Ally, this is an example: Lil Dicky offered a piece of the publishing of his song, “Save Dat Money” for 9.209 Ether (US$23,200 at the time). That one song generated just US$2,634 over the last year. So yeah, it’s risky. Time for some due diligence.

UPDATE: The auction is now closed and the NFT sold for 40.191 Ether, which works out to about US$85,000. Music Ally reported the following:

[This is] how much money is being generated by that catalogue. The last 12 months’ royalties are listed as $6,752. That’s for the portion being sold, obviously, which suggests that the overall catalogue generated just over $450k in the last year. “The top income source is sync with 48% of returns in the last 12 months and 40% of all historical earnings,” noted the listing. “Streaming is right behind sync with 32% of last year’s royalties, up 11% year-over-year.” It added that the group’s biggest hit, ‘Can I Kick It?’, accounted for 27% of last year’s royalties, and 17% of earnings to date.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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