Home Crypto Vinyls and NFTs: A Convergence of Music Collectables

Vinyls and NFTs: A Convergence of Music Collectables

Vinyls and NFTs: A Convergence of Music Collectables


One of the most promising aspects of blockchain technology is its ability to bring a sense of tangibility and uniqueness to the digital world. With the the introduction of NFTs, the music industry is being reinvigorated with collectables. We’d like to backtrack and shed some light on how music collectables have shape-shifted over the years, from vinyls all the way to NFTs.

Since the launch of the first commercial record-player by RCA Victor in 1930, vinyl records have steadily grown in popularity. In fact, the 2010s brought about a staggering resurgence of vinyl collection, with 2017 comprising more global sales of vinyls than any year since 1991. What’s even more impressive is the ever-expanding catalog of rare, unreleased and otherwise highly valuable limited press records that still circulate the market.

Worth More Than Gold
Other than limited quantity, what makes a record rare? Musical acclaim, for one thing. Before The Beatles were a tight-nit, chart-breaking phenomenon, they stitched together their first single, “In Spite Of All The Danger” as The Quarrymen. The vinyl (along with a Buddy Holly A-Side) is worth a jaw-dropping $216,000 USD today, and that’s if you’re lucky enough to find one! Rumor has it that Paul McCartney has long since distributed the 50-odd copies to friends and families. The Beatles are no strangers to collectable prestige — Ringo Starr sold his personal copy of The White Album (the drummer happened to own the very first press) for just shy of $566,000 USD in 2015. This marked the most expensive sale of a vinyl record to date.

While more money is spent on vinyls than CDs in the US (since 2021), the LPs’ smaller and cheaper little cousin can still rake in a huge amount of revenue in the collectables department. In 2015, Wu-Tang Clan’s seventh studio album ‘Once Upon A Time In Shaolin’, of which only one double-disk CD was issued, sold for a tremendous $2 million USD. That music collectables continue to garnish such high value and interest well into the NFT era is a good sign for the future of blockchain markets.

While vinyl sales and popularity continued to climb steadily, the introduction of digitally downloadable music came with a rather sinister threat to music collection: Piracy. A 2018 study into global music piracy habits revealed that more than one third of individuals who consume music online do so illegally. This has resulted in a huge amount of income being lost by creators and distributors of original pieces of work — figures are estimated to be around $12.5 billion lost in revenue each year in the US to music piracy.

How does this effect physical collectables, like rare vinyls?
The unlicensed and unsanctioned circulation of an artist’s catalog online means the rarity and perceived value of a track or album is likely to fall. The exclusivity attached to owning a rare music collectable seems to become more redundant when the contents of that collectable can be quite easily found and distributed online, without a cent going toward the original creator.

The question posed to artists and investors is plain as day: How do we go about a reliable and safe exchange of music collectables despite the threat of online piracy and theft ? It seems the blockchain is beginning to form an answer in the form of NFTs.

Transparent Architecture
Utilizing the relatively safe and public-facing infrastructure of blockchain technology, bands like Kings of Leon have begun to release their music as NFTs and the results have been especially positive. Apart from the music itself, vital information is included in an NFT purchase, such as the contract address and individual ID number of the token, as well as the creators earnings since its inception. This means a transparent ledger of the token is attached to each purchase – kind of like a continuous, digital receipt. It’s easy to start seeing some parallels between buying a physical, ‘weight-in-your-hand’ vinyl record and a tradable, one-of-a-kind digital NFT.

In fact, the two worlds have already collided. In April this year, Swedish company Infinity NFT released a collection of 10,000 unique tokens, each including a digital copy of classic rare LPs from the 70s, 80s and 90s. Purchasers also have the option to receive a physical vinyl from Infinity’s massive collection for each NFT purchase. North Carolina company Vinylkey have begun producing physical records with a scannable NCF code embedded near the vinyl’s centre. This code leads to a fully fledged NFT link included with each vinyl purchase.

With the NFT market rising, it will be thrilling to see where the vinyl scene further merges with this innovative and promising technology.

The Publicator is dedicated to creating a platform for artists, fans and NFT enthusiasts that wholly embraces the decentralized future of the music industry. You can apply to be a beta tester at https://the-publicator.com/.

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