The music industry is no stranger to NFTs. Last March, the Kings of Leon rock band dropped their When You See Yourself NFT album, selling for 0.035 ETH ($95.2) with a redeemable physical copy as well. Likewise, music stars Aoki and Ozzy have launched their own NFT projects.
However, what we were not seeing is a more systemic approach to musical NFTs. This is about to change with Billboard partnering with Universal Music Group (UMG) to launch ChartStars NFTs.
Music Professionals Take the NFT Helm
In the corporate world, there are layers upon layers, and shells inside shells. At the highest layer is Guggenheim Partners, a global investment company with $325 billion assets under management (AuM). Below it is Guggenheim Digital Media, and below that is Billboard music media brand.
It is Billboard, as music entertainment authority for artists and fans alike, that is partnering with another big player, Universal Music Group. UMG is a multinational corporation spread out across 60 countries, having generated nearly $7 billion in revenue last year. If you’ve ever listened to music, it’s likely that UMG had its hand in delivering it to your ears.
Interestingly, Chinese Tencent owns 20% of UMG, just as it has its fingers in almost every video gaming pie, from Epic Games to Riot Games. With the seriousness of the NFT partnership properly emphasized, what is it all about?
ChartStars Follows the Footsteps of NBA Top Shot
Billboard and UMG are making ChartStars with the music fans in mind. As its name implies, it will feature Billboard Charts’ milestones but with an artistic twist for each one. This is similar to the Pepsi Mic Drop genesis NFT, consisting of 1893 NFTs, which is the number the company was founded in. Likewise, ChartStars will feature licensed art pieces, including video clips from music videos and album photography.
In short, a very content-rich NFT collection, befitting its corporate origin with deep pockets. The UMG’s part in ChartStars is a natural fit. After all, the company is responsible for 9 of the Top 10 Billboard’s album charts, something that was only accomplished six times during Billboard’s 64-year history.
“These digital collectibles will celebrate and commemorate special chart achievements with visually stunning creative. Fans will also compete for real-life prizes, adding an authentic layer of gamification to the entire platform.”Billboard President, Julian Holguin, presents ChartStars as commemorative pieces with extra perks.
That gamification will take place on the Flow blockchain, in cooperation with Unblocked blockchain bespoke startup. Unblocked builds NFT platforms for their clients, with Dapper Labs’ Flow, as a developer-friendly, proof-of-stake network. Flow’s most successful project by far is NBA Top Shot, currently ranked 5th with $938.1 million total sales.
Interestingly, Unblocked was initially named The Non Fungible Token Company, but investor feedback forced them to reconsider to something that sticks. As of January 28, Unblocked raised a $90 million valuation from Tiger Global, Dapper Labs, and even Jay-Z, the famous rapper and music producer.