Basically, the record label tried to combine two sensational digital products; non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and the metaverse. To oversimplify everything, NFTs is basically a digital ledger storing ownership certificate of any digital items such as photos, videos or audios. On the other hand, a metaverse refers to a virtual-reality where users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users.
While an NFT band is new, the concept of a virtual band has been with us for a long time. In 1988, Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett created a virtual quartet named the Gorillaz. Albarn was assigned to make the music while Jamie was responsible to create the band’s character animations which appeared in their music videos and live performance.
What makes Universal Music Studio’s Kingship special is that it will use NFTs as their marketing tech. Thus, enabling anyone to acquire ownership certificates of the band’s characters, art and merchandise.
Celine Joshua, the head of 10:22PM, one of Universal’s labels, was the first person to pitch the idea for an NFT band. The former Sony executive was also the one behind Lele Pons and Chantel Jeffries’ musical careers. As the new craze for cryptocurrencies emerged, partly thanks to its superb endorsers like Ellon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, Joshua began sensing a new opportunity for the next big financial opportunity.
Joshua then reached out to McNelis, an NFT collector whose collection of virtual apes is worth more than $100 million. Surprisingly, McNelis is not the creator of those apes, instead he acquired them from Yuga Labs LLC who the Bored Ape Yacht Club. McNeils welcomed Joshua’s idea and let her pick four characters and formed them as a band. And thus, Kingship’s journey began.
Kingship is a four member band, all virtuals. Kingship consists of a Mutant Ape and three Bored Ape characters, including rare Golden Fur and Bluebeam Apes. Bored Ape and Mutant owners will get early access to the group’s releases as well as input on the group’s narrative. So, Joshua and team will create the initial storyline for these characters, including how they met and who they are. However, as time goes, the owners of NFTs will have more say to the artists’ narrative and music.
Fans of a music group are famous for their willingness to spend large sums of money for items related to their favorite groups. Accordingly, Universal Music Group is trying to replicate the same model business by incorporating NFTs on top of it. So instead of buying t-shirts, old guitars and physical albums, fans of Kingship will have collectible items such as virtual trading cards and NFTs.
“We’re still trying to figure out exactly what it is,” McNelis said. “I’d like to see Kingship be one of the main ways the mainstream is introduced to NFTs in the metaverse.”
Think that all of these are weird? No worries, you are not the only one. Yet, remember that the idea of having a smartphone, too, used to be a radical idea.
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