Musicians also tackle the NFT craze | Music News | Detroit

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  • Russian feminist punks Pussy Riot recently released an NFT that features a scanned copy of co-founder Nadya Tolokonnikova’s two-year prison sentence for criticizing Vladamir Putin.

When our Founding Fathers drafted the Constitution, they could hardly have foreseen the arrival of domestic assault weapons, senatorial filibusters or, in all likelihood, Kings of Leon sending cryptographic video into space, then auctioning off the iPhone it was played on.

But all of these things have happened, one of the most recent being the Southern rock band that teamed up with Elon Musk to launch a non-fungible token of their self-esteem into the stratosphere.

To the credit of everyone involved, money raised from SpaceX’s recent Inspiration4 launch was donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. It also earned the band tons of publicity – the Billboard The magazine’s headline “Kings of Leon will become the first band to have an NFT performed in space” was repeated, in various guises, by countless outlets – just as they reached the midpoint of their 2021 tour.

This was not Kings of Leon’s maiden voyage into non-fungible tokens, a digitally certified art form that is sold as part of the cryptocurrency blockchain. Last March, the band Rush released their When you see yourself album as a collection of digital NFTs, and were praised by rolling stone magazine as the first band to do so.

In fact, that wasn’t true – Virtually unknown indie band Devon Welsh’s Belave beat them to the punch with the even more hasty release of an album titled Does the bird fly above your head? But Kings of Leon could at least take comfort in the more than $2 million they raised, a quarter of which they donated to Live Nation’s Global Relief Fund for Live Music Crews.

One of the biggest debates, when it comes to non-fungible tokens, revolves around the issue of ownership. While an “original” NFT contains metadata that proves its authenticity, trademarks and copyrights are not part of the transaction. In fact, the same content can be downloaded by just about anyone with a working internet connection. So why, you might ask, would anyone buy them? There are a number of potential reasons. You may, for example, want to show your support for the content creator. You might want to impress people by displaying your digital portfolio content. Or you may simply have too much money. But the most powerful motivation for buying NFTs is the possibility of making huge profits by reselling them.

Think of it as the virtual equivalent of flipping foreclosed homes, auctioning off autographs on eBay, or clearing shelves of toilet paper so you can raise the price on Amazon during a pandemic. NFTs can also give musicians the opportunity to profit from their work in artistic fields for which they are less known. Grimes, the experimental pop artist who was until recently Musk’s girlfriend, has grossed $6 million for WarNymph Collection Vol. 1a digital art series that depicts winged babies floating in space.

Expensive jpegs or artistic autonomy? Detroit Artists Explore NFTs

Expensive jpegs or artistic autonomy? Detroit Artists Explore NFTs

By Randiah Camille Green

Art stories and interviews

It turns out that space is a recurring theme in the world of blockchain art. NASA and the US Space Force have released their own NFTs. And then there’s Chris Torres, the creator of Nyan Cat, who pocketed $600,000 earlier this year for an NFT of his Pop-Tart-bodied cat flying through space and leaving a rainbow trail in its wake. In the first three months of 2021 alone, collectors and venture capitalists have reportedly invested over $2 billion in NFTs. So it’s only natural that these once obscure objects of desire have earned their fair share of derision.

“A lot of digital collectibles traded on exchanges today are, to be frank, crap,” said Forbes magazine with unusual candor in 2018, three years before Nyan Cat made his big leap into the NFT art market. “People are creating things with no real value and trying to add value to them through tokenization. Think of the current glut of digital art. Unfortunately, the quantity of demand is far from the supply.”

Of course, one only has to turn to art galleries to find works that are just as baffling as their crypto counterparts, but with no shortage of buyers.

Consider Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan’s “Comedian,” a work of art that consisted of nothing more than a banana duct taped to a gallery wall. The piece sold for $120,000, prompting the artist to create second and third editions, which also brought in six-figure sales.

“Whether affixed to the wall of an art fair booth or displayed on the cover of the New York To posthis work forces us to question ourselves on the valuation of material goods, explains gallery owner Emmanuel Perrotin. The spectacle is as much a part of the work as the banana. on bronze and resin versions of his sculpture before realizing “the banana is meant to be a banana”.

No less unusual — but considerably more interesting — was the Wu-Tang Clan Once upon a time in Shaolina 2015 album that the hip-hop supergroup released in limited edition and sold at auction for $2 million, with the stipulation that it could not be released until the year 2103.

The winning bidder turned out to be Martin Shkreli, better known as ‘Pharma Bro’, the former hedge fund manager who infamously acquired the license to manufacture an HIV drug and raised its price of 4000%. Shkreli would later boast that he had no intention of actually listening to the album, but simply bought it to “keep it from people”. Shortly thereafter, he was charged with securities fraud and sentenced to seven years in prison. The federal government later seized his assets, including the album, which was sold last July for $4 million.

Unsurprisingly, members of the Wu-Tang venture into the non-fungible universe both individually and collectively. The band plans to release a 400-page coffee table book about their legacy in the form of NFTs, while Method Man is releasing a series of comic book NFTs featuring exclusive artwork and never-before-seen music. Elsewhere in the hip-hop world, Death Row continues to release their 30th anniversary NFTs, while Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons has launched hip hop brainsa series that encodes unreleased recordings by artists ranging from Chuck D and MC Lyte to Big Daddy Kane and Grandmaster Caz.

But perhaps the most intriguing offering yet is a freshly minted NFT from Pussy Riot, the Russian feminist group whose agitprop image may seem incompatible with such entrepreneurial endeavors.

The group recently released “Virgin Mary, Please Become a Feminist,” an NFT that combines hand-drawn images by co-founder Nadya Tolokonnikova with a scanned original copy of her two-year prison sentence for organizing a protest. anti-Putin in Moscow cathedral.

The new NFT follows a series of tokens from the band’s “Panic Attack” video, the first of which sold for $187,000, which the band donated to a domestic violence shelter in Russia.

As Tolokonnikova said at the time, “I’m always looking for ways to support our activist art without being involved in institutions. NFTs are good because they pretend digital art is art, and they actually show that there is value in something that no one can touch.”

As we head into 2022, a growing number of artists see NFTs as a more viable medium than YouTube, Facebook and Spotify combined. How long that will continue – for Pussy Riot, Kings of Leon or even Nyan Cat – remains to be seen.

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