3 Ways NFTs Are Transforming The Arts
Arguments abound about whether non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are the next big thing for artists or simply a passing fad.
What’s beyond a doubt is that many artists are making big bucks from selling their work on NFT marketplaces — a significant achievement given the hammer blow that the pandemic brought to an already struggling section of the economy.
Many critics claim that NFTs merely represent the latest “rich-person hobby” and are merely a “plaything” for those of us with too much money and time on our hands, as Anil Dash, an NFT innovator, wrote in The Atlantic.
But if artists can continue to make money by selling their work as NFTs, it’s increasingly likely that these “digital collectibles” won’t be leaving our culture or economy any time soon.
Here are three NFT trends that are transforming the art world.
Given that most of us didn’t even know what NFTs were just a few years ago, it’s no surprise that young people are among the “early adopters” making a killing by selling their artwork as NFTs.
Teenage artists are making millions of dollars this way, Time reported in September 2021. The story’s lead anecdote is about an 18-year-old whose colorful works of art, sold as NFTs on the platform SuperRare, made so much money that he paid off his parents’ house and cars.
In the article, Noah Davis, head of digital sales at Christie’s, called the trend “unmitigated insanity,” and pointed to record prices for artwork from teens like 12-year-old Benyahim Ahmed, one of the many young artists flocking to NFT marketplaces to sell their work.
“They have the keys to the castle,” Davis said in the article. “It’s not a strictly aesthetic game. It’s not about the same ideals and goals that fine artists used to have. This is a space that really values community and the identity of the artists behind the project in a way that was not nearly as important before.”
While visual artists can operate independently and entirely without help, the film industry is something else entirely.
One of the major reasons that Hollywood has retained a near monopoly on the movies that receive widespread distribution is because of the huge costs and thousands of people necessary to produce a feature film.
But Mogul Productions, a startup launched in February 2021, aims to bring decentralized finance to the film industry with a combination of NFTs and cryptocurrency.
Users of the Mogul app can buy STARS Tokens, which are based on the second most valuable cryptocurrency, Ethereum. Users can then spend the tokens to purchase NFTs unique to the films produced by Mogul, which are chosen on a collective basis. Users can spend their tokens to vote on what scripts they think deserve to be made.
The company also just launched its own NFT marketplace. Mogul is promoting the launch with NFTs and performances from Ja Rule, David Koechner, and Nicole Aniston. It’s also now the first company to turn deleted movie scenes into NFTs.
Mogul’s business plan is highly original, and could be incredibly promising for an industry that has been traditionally monolithic.
Most NFTs being sold have a visual component, and that’s still true for musicians, who often sell unique sounds with psychedelic artwork.
The biggest NFT marketplace on the internet is OpenSea, which includes categories for visual art as well as music.
“NFTs might just be the biggest disruptor to the music industry since streaming,” according to Splice.com, which noted that big artists including Grimes, Steve Aoki, Deadmau5 and Kings of Leon have all sold music as NFTs. One of the most successful examples is DJ and producer 3LAU, who sold a record-breaking $12 million worth of NFTs in February 2021.
This new form of monetizing artwork could represent a bold new future for artists. The next year or two could be pivotal as artists embrace a new global marketplace for selling their work.