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DJ 3LAU to Launch NFT-Based Music Platform, Raises $16M

After being the first to tokenize an album, the celebrity DJ launches a new type of NFT site.

Blockwatch
Vandeer Lind / 3lau / Ultra Music Festival

Justin Blau, who you may better know as his DJ moniker 3LAU recounts a set he and his friends performed as an opening act for a good 7 years ago. It was back then he had wished for the idea of an easy method of investment to back up his belief that they’d all make it big. Their band, now called The Chainsmokers are now famous and known to millions of fans across the globe!

In 2021, that tech now finally exists the way Blau wanted it to back then. The referred technology, of course, is NFT’s, which Blau announced on Thursday he’s raised $16 million to launch. The platform will be called Royal and is envisioned to be a new music platform enabling fans to buy NFTs that make it possible for them to share in the royalties their favorite artists earn.

Should it succeed, Royal (royal.io) could potentially be the platform that ushers in a new era for the ever-evolving world of NFTs, not to mention it could change the game for the music industry. 

NFT and Music: A Perfect Marriage? 

Blau may have dropped out of business school in his final year so that he could pursue a career as a DJ, but despite that fact, he still remained a student of economics. He was laser-focused on the music industry, which would frequently short-change artists by way of securing most if not all of their royalties. 

Naturally, with the emergence and rise of blockchain technology, Blau saw a useful tool and a brand new day over the horizon for the music industry. This is a great and innovative way for artists to keep their royalties and connect with their fans on a level unlike ever before. 

Ironically enough Blau’s not the first to view Blockchain as a possible game-changer for the music industry. Giants like Microsoft and other companies have, for years, spoken positively about the technology as a path to manage what are otherwise extremely complex chains of copyrights that are involved in gaming and music. 

Blau’s looking at Blockchain’s potential from a different angle entirely though. Rather than trying to stuff the industry’s rather tortured legacy of contracts into the Blockchain, he sees the merit in artists using Blockchain to distribute their new songs.

He would know a thing or two about that, having tokenized his first album in January, which sold off 33 NFTs tied to the album, making it a total of $11.6 billion. 

Fans agreed to Blau’s assessment as they received a real vinyl physical album and had the chance to speak with Blau, with further prospects being to even collaborate on a future song with him. 

The idea of NFT being used to experience a great many number of things isn’t exactly new or uncommon, but Blau’s genius was in realizing it was applicable to the music industry, too. This would make him one of the first people to have that idea. Other artists have since followed suit, like Kings of Leon as well as the emergence of platform OneOf on Tezos blockchain which offers NFT collections from the late Whitney Houston, among others.

Blau’s Royal will ‘completely transform the music industry according to him. 

Music’s Status as Investable Assets

Blau’s goal with launching Royal is to offer a forum of NFT’s and create a new platform for creators to establish a long-term economic relationship with one another. Royal will change the game by letting them seek investment from fans rather than artists relying on record labels and companies to provide them with the capital that’ll keep them afloat. 

Blau’s essay published at The Defiant cites what he’s hoping to achieve:

“Imagine an NFT that represents 100% ownership of a song or album’s master recording rights. The artist can then issue a DAO token that fractionalizes ownership of a song or album while maintaining 51% ownership of the total supply.” 

The idea here is that anyone will be able to buy NFTs on Royal, giving them a partial stake in new songs which could result in royalties in the future or could be further sold to another fan or even an investor. 

This is not entirely unlike the traditional arrangements in the music industry wherein copyright to a song can be divided up between multiple people. The key difference here is that selling the rights in the form of an NFT means that they can sell it to a broader field of investors including their own fans, as well as utilize the blockchain to track royalties and ownership. 

Whatever the nitty-gritty details of Royal’s plans are, the project is an ambitious one for sure and might also be difficult to pull off. Blau acknowledges that fact as well, citing that the project will be difficult to scale though he will be content at first for the platform to offer only a small bunch of songs from a handful of artists, including, of course, himself. He did state though, that some of the artists in the pool are some big names, and will serve more of an interest and excitement in what the platform of Royal is building. 

In addition to Blau, Royal is being launched by Justin Ross, a successful tech entrepreneur and a long-time friend of Blau’s. The $16 million investment was raised by Paradigm, a crypto venture capital fund that was launched by Fred Ehrsam, the Coinbase co-founder, as well as from Founders Fund, a well-known VC fund. 

 

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