Starving artist? Eat up with NFTs.
Royal.io seeks to eliminate greedy record labels by enabling artists to sell their music directly to fans via NFTs. As songs gain traction, both artists & fans earn royalties.
Right now there are 8 million musicians on streaming services, but only 0.2% make over $50k a year. Royal seeks to put ownership in the hands of artists and fans, not record labels. In doing so, artists are able to access funding without restrictive, abusive contracts. In addition to earning royalties, fans may gain access to exclusive merchandise, VIP concerts, or 1-on-1 experiences with the artist, too.
DJ 3Lau created 33 tokens, representative of audio/visual works in his latest album “Ultraviolet.” In total they sold for over $11 million. Without record labels taking their *fair* share, creators enjoy significantly more financial success. The implications are much larger than eliminating expensive lawsuits (like the one between Kanye and EMI Records).
For the 98.8% making under $50k a year on streaming services, monetization matters.
By funding their early years through OG fans, musicians can quit their day jobs and pursue music full-time faster. Early fans not only gain bragging rights, but also financial profits should the musician become the next Adele, Kesha, or Kanye.
Cash & Key Players:
Royal.io is uniquely co-founded by businessman JD Ross and musician Justin Blau, better known as DJ 3Lau. Ross notably co-founded Opendoor, a technology company that promises to “Sell your home the minute you’re ready.” Through instant cash offers and maintenance services, it’s valued at an impressive $5.33B. Opendoor currently operates in 44 US markets.
After starting his career performing at Fraternity parties, DJ 3Lau now boasts over 2.4M monthly listeners on Spotify. He frequents iconic venues such as Omnia Nightclub — Las Vegas, Stereo Live — Houston, and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino — Atlantic City. Additional artists participating in the project include The Chainsmokers, Stefflon Don, Disclosure, Logic, Nas and Kygo.
Royal raised $55M in Series A funding, led by Andressen Horowitz’s crypto investment arm, a16z. The firm currently has $3.1B crypto assets under management.
The NFTs can be purchased on the Ethereum or Matic Mainnet, depending on the artist. (The recent shift to Matic is likely due to the high gas fees on Ethereum.) Tokens sold by artists on Royal.io have embedded streaming royalty rights. The royalty amount varies depending on the token tier. The current tiers are Gold, Platinum, and Diamond, yielding .0291%, .1750%, and .8750% ownership respectively. Tokens also grant access to an exclusive Discord channel.
Royal.io isn’t just significant for starving artists and boy-bands. Its’ success demonstrates a shift towards the gig economy where value is exchanged without a middle man. The ongoing great resignation shows that workers want to spend more time honing their craft, and less time playing office politics. Royal.io embodies this sentiment for the music industry.
*As always, not financial advice.