How Nas is changing the way we think about celebrity NFTs

The marketplace for non-fungible tokens swelled to $41 billion in 2021. And, broadly talking, there’s no higher way to seize the curiosity of celebrities than with a whole lot of straightforward cash.

In the previous 12 months, the worlds of music, films and TV have come along with a standard aim: Cashing in on the new crypto craze. And, for the most half, they’ve had a standard theme: The NFTs have been reasonably ludicrous.

However rapper/entrepreneur Nas is taking a distinct strategy to tokens. Quite than rip-offs of the Bored Ape Yacht Membership or digital copies of garments worn in actual life, Nas is providing one thing extra substantial: the streaming rights to pick out songs in his catalog.


It’s a tangible asset with potential real-world returns, primarily making the NFT greater than a token, however a hybrid of crypto and conventional investments. Nas partnered with music rights startup Royal (which is backed by enterprise capital fund Andreessen Horowitz) on the enterprise. Collectively, the two plan to launch tokens that can cut up 50% of the streaming rights (and streaming royalties) for the songs “Extremely Black,” the lead single off of the 2021 album King’s Illness, and “Uncommon,” from the follow-up King’s Illness II.

It’s a play that’s gathering loads of curiosity. Initially scheduled to drop on Jan. 11, the sale was postponed as followers crashed the sale web site. Nas and Royal subsequently delayed the sale till Jan. 20.

The “Extremely Black” NFTs will now drop at 1:00 p.m. ET on Thursday. “Uncommon” turns into accessible in a while Thursday at 9:00 p.m. ET. Costs for the “Uncommon” NFTs vary from $100 to simply below $10,000. Past the royalty rights are the now-usual perks that include NFTs like unique merchandise and, in case you purchase the $10,000 NFT, two VIP live performance tickets. (“Extremely Black” tokens are half the worth of “Uncommon”.)

For followers, it’s an opportunity to have a reference to their favourite artist, however it’s not prone to fund their retirement fund. Artist T-Ache, in December, tweeted out a chart from reddit displaying what number of performs of a track it took on varied streaming platforms to succeed in $1.

Simply so you already know……

— T-Ache (@TPAIN) December 29, 2021

Assuming these figures are correct, somebody who spends $100 for the gold-level NFT for “Uncommon” will earn about 21 cents for each million streams of the track on Spotify. On YouTube, the track has been seen somewhat over 3.4 million occasions. Had the NFTs been accessible when “Uncommon” was launched on the platform final August, that may have earned “Gold degree” purchasers somewhat greater than 18 cents.


“This isn’t actually for the cash for me,” stated Nas on Twitter Areas. “This is only a way to see how doing one thing like this will construct and broaden with the core base that I bought and encourage artists.” And there actually appears to be validity to that.

However there is some cash concerned. For “Uncommon” alone, he’ll pocket practically $369,000 (minus Royal’s lower) and nonetheless retain 50% of the streaming rights. That’s far shy of, say, the $550 million Bruce Springsteen obtained in the sale of his music catalog, however it’s additionally only one track.

Nonetheless, by providing one thing with tangible, ongoing, real-world advantages, Nas is upping the stakes for celebrity NFTs.

Earlier efforts have ranged from frivolous to downright creepy. Lindsay Lohan, for example, launched one in October of herself as an animated dog—and endorsed one of herself as a cat in December. Quentin Tarantino desires to promote a scan of the handwritten screenplay of a Pulp Fiction scene, however that’s on maintain attributable to a copyright suit from the movie’s manufacturing firm. And Stan Lee’s verified Twitter account promoted a collection of NFTs utilizing his identify three years after he had died, which raised the ire of many followers. And nobody appears to know precisely what Reese Witherspoon has deliberate, although she has promoted a number of NFTs in her likeness on social media.

Nas is additionally opening NFTs as much as a wider viewers in his fee choices. You may, in fact, pay with a crypto token, as is frequent with most tokens. However it’s also possible to pay in money, one thing that’s much more commonplace. It’s a seamless course of that makes the choices extra interesting to followers which have little to no data of the crypto world, however nonetheless need that tie to their favourite artist.

In the end, is Nas’s NFT any higher than, say, the one commemorating Jack Dorsey’s first Tweet? It’s onerous to say at this level. However it’s important to credit score the artist for doing greater than promoting an artificially inflated digital token. The true query is: Will different celebrities comply with his lead and supply returns on the NFT funding transferring ahead?