You can roll your eyes and call "BS" on NFTs all you want, but their potential for musicians is undeniable. And no matter how many of those in the dark write them off as foolish without nary a Google search, independent artists will gladly continue to reap the rewards.
Such is the case with MELVV, a popular electronic music producer and DJ who has performed at many of the nation's most coveted music festivals, like Coachella, Electric Forest, and Lollapalooza. He, like many other artists, recently discovered a latent love of NFTs after a snakebitten lifecycle with a major record label.
MELVV recently opened up about his experiences in a candid blog post on Mirror.xyz, a decentralized publishing platform. Due to sustained creative differences with his former label and the absence of touring in 2021, he said he began to explore the world of Web3 before minting his first NFT on the blockchain, an endeavor he called "a unique, exciting experience" which "opened up a world of opportunity."
"Not only did it make me feel like a fine artist for once, but it also made me think more about my future," MELVV wrote. "Maybe I didn’t need constant touring. Maybe a major label wasn’t the only model for me to get my music heard in a meaningful way. Maybe shouting daily into the maw of social media wasn’t the right fit, at least for me."
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There are many reasons why electronic music luminaries like deadmau5 and Richie Hawtin have embraced a decentralized future of the creator economy. But the most timely one is rooted in the ownership of artists' work. In his post, MELVV laments the moth-eaten infrastructure present within many major labels, which he says offers "dismal" royalty splits for artists.
"Ownership is finally returning to the musicians," MELVV wrote. "In my case, I own my master recordings for the first time since I was a 19-year-old. I can fully decide when and how songs are released, and have creative control over the whole process. Independence is a first step, and Web3 is a first leap. At long last, a new variety of models are emerging for both collecting and appreciating music."
MELVV also announced "Cloud," a music NFT collection of five one-of-one records that he said traces back to the origin of his musical alias. You can check out the collection via Catalog.
"A lot has been happening behind the scenes," MELVV added. "Music continues to change and evolve. Maybe this isn’t the apocalypse for artists and musicians. Maybe it’s an opportunity. If you’re here, you’re early to something new."