Universal Music Forms NFT Supergroup: Everything You Need To Know

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The world’s largest music company has created a band made up of four virtual monkeys.

If this phrase makes you question your sanity – or the state of western civilization – you are not alone. Universal Music combines two hot digital concepts that you’ve probably read about in the last year: non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and the metaverse. Thanks to the appreciation of cryptocurrencies and some very famous boosters like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, they have gone from esoteric to ubiquitous in just a few months.

And while the NFT boom often felt like a number of people were making too much money buying crypto, large corporations are trying to figure out how to use both NFTs and the Metaverse to their advantage. Facebook, which changed its name to Meta, is the most prominent example of the concept of a networked virtual world.

Home to best-selling musicians like Drake and Taylor Swift, Universal Music is partnering with collector Jimmy McNelis to convert four of their NFTs into a band called Kingship. Kingship is made up of four digital characters – three bored monkeys and one mutant monkey – all part of an NFT collection known as the Bored Ape Yacht Club. The club is one of the most successful NFT stories of the past year; It gave full commercial rights to anyone who bought one of the monkeys to use the image.

10:22 pm, one of Universal’s labels, has hired a team of crypto artists and animators to transform the two-dimensional monkeys into three-dimensional beings. The company will record music for Kingship, which it will publish on streaming services. The “band” will perform and participate in video games, virtual reality applications, and the constellation of digital experiences known as the Metaverse.

“You can call it an NFT band or you can think of them as characters,” said 10:22 PM Celine Joshua, in an interview this week. “The characters will come to life. The monkeys will come to life.”

Joshua and her team will create these character stories from scratch. You will be putting together a marketing campaign to introduce the monkeys to potential fans, explain how they met, and describe who they are. “It’s just how we introduce new artists to the world,” she said.

Joshua is the kind of leader who tries to stay one step ahead of the next big financial opportunity. In recent years it has been social media (or Web 2.0 in technical parlance). She has tried to turn social media personalities Lele Pons and Chantel Jeffries into musicians and oversees much of the label’s relationships with social platforms like YouTube.

While technology enthusiasts banded together around the idea of ​​Web 3.0 – a decentralized Internet – Joshua jumped into the world of NFTs. That’s how she met McNelis, one of the leading collectors. McNelis acquired hundreds of monkey NFTs from Yuga Labs, creator of the Bored Ape Yacht Club, and owns a collection that is estimated to be worth more than $ 100 million (approximately Rs 744 billion). He was an early buyer of Ethereum, a cryptocurrency. The price of Ethereum in India was Rs. 3.84 lakh on November 12th at 10:48 am IST.

Joshua suggested the idea of ​​starting a new group and chose four characters that she thought would work as a band. This includes a golden monkey, another one of which has just been sold at Sotheby’s for $ 3.4 million (approx. 25.32 billion rupees). Kingship’s golden monkey is valued at around $ 190,000 at current prices, according to supply data from OpenSea, the largest marketplace for NFTs.

“We’re still trying to figure out what it is exactly,” said McNelis. “I would like to see Kingship be one of the most important ways to introduce the mainstream in the metaverse to NFTs.”

While Joshua has a novel idea – an NFT band – a virtual band isn’t unprecedented. In 1998, musician Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett formed a virtual quartet called Gorillaz. Albarn made the music, and Hewlett designed four animated characters that appeared in music videos and the occasional interview or live performance. Albarn also gave interviews as a representative of the group and performed with musical staff.

What’s different this time around is how Kingship makes money – and interacts with fans. Joshua plans to sell Kingship NFTs to give buyers access to exclusive musical experiences and real-life events. Think of it as a fan club for the virtual world.

Fans have always been willing to pay huge sums of money for items related to their favorite group, be it a t-shirt, ticket stub, or an old guitar. What’s different now is that people are paying more and more for these collectibles, whether it’s trading cards, shoes, or NFTs.

Many of the big NFT sales have felt like empty wallets – opportunists are seizing the moment to sell a virtual good that isn’t that special. “There will be a lot of tourists getting out,” said Joe Conyers III, a former music manager who now works on NFTs at Crypto.com

True believers say NFTs offer buyers something real – a bit of ownership of artists they like or access to special experiences. NFTs also speak for the blurring boundaries between our material and virtual world. Facebook calls itself Meta could just be another corporate rebranding, like Google to Alphabet. But the company is right that people live more online and have embraced virtual experiences like concerts in video games and virtual goods like avatars.

The challenge for Kingship will be the same that all bands face: the art has to be good.

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