Is it a craze? Is it an exciting new way of legitimising digital content ownership and creating value in digital art? Is it just another way of using unecessary energy and polluting the world?
Still a new kid on the blockchain, and very much in its infancy, there are still more questions surrounding NFTs than there are answers right now. But various things we know as fact; some high level artists have already made an alarming amount of coin from Non Fungible Tokens (Steve Aoki made over $800,000 for a ridiculous hairy purple avatar, for instance), D&B’s very own Saxxon has released the first solo artist album as an NFT and Onyx are now minting their own NFT collectables.
Dropped today, June 11, and available on the NFT marketplace Mintable, the Onyx digital collectables will include anything from artwork to unique tracks, each one limited to a set amount and only available if you buy the NFT. For their first drop, they’re releasing the artwork above plus an exclusive track Lizzy Gardens by GAW, who broke through on the label. The artwork, entitled Hand Of The Empress, was created by artist Jonathan Cuvelier (who’s also the Jump Up Cave co-founder) and – just like GAW’s track – only 25 minted one-off editions will be available at £25 each.
“Having a real certificate of asset ownership via blockchain technology is so interesting to us,” explains Onyx founder Chris Wickens, who was also a co-founder behind the legendary Stay At Home Festivals throughout lockdown. “We love the concept of blockchain and fully embrace this technology as it’s undoubtedly going to be a part of everyone’s future.”
“Moving into NFTs will provide Onyx with an opportunity to release exclusive tracks (or digital vinyls as we like to call them) from our artists, alongside being an innovative way to promote our favourite visual artists like never before. We want to put value back into the craft behind music, and see NFTs as a brilliant way to do this. We have lots of exciting releases in the pipeline, and the prospect of putting out exclusive NFTs alongside some of these is a real exciting one. Watch this space as we’re only just testing the water!”
GAW is excited to be part of this new crypto chapter with Onyx, too, and sees benefits of how NFTs can prevent the illicit and insulting practice of trading unreleased music.
“This new way of releasing tunes could create a bright future for the music industry,” he considers. “It’s got that dubplate culture feel to it, like having a white label but digital. A big issue plaguing the scene recently is dub sharing. With NFTs, you can trace back transaction history as well as artists receiving a cut of a trade if it’s sold on, so from a financial perspective it makes sense for artists to think about using NFTs. I think it’s super beneficial for artist to consumer connection too. It’s like having a rare collectible from your favourite artist that no one else has. I had my first proper release back in 2018 on Onyx, which paved the way to where I am now. I’ve met some sick people and crews all because I got that push from Onyx early on. To now be releasing my first NFT with them is a special feeling.”
As already mentioned, it’s still incredibly early days for NFTs, especially within underground music culture. But, as Saxxon discusses in a recent interview about his own NFT album Fractions, this level of turbulence was last witnessed in the industry 15 years ago when everything switched from vinyl to digital and early adoption of the technology could well pay off. Besides, anything that adds value to art, legitimises ownership and helps creators actually live off their craft is definitely an exciting concept.
If you’re interested investing in Onyx’s debut NFT drop, visit their linktree here and click your way through to Mintable.