Although Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda might be one of the first musicians to drop a new single as a non-fungible token (NFT), it looks like Kings of Leon is the first band to offer up an entire album. According to Rolling Stone, the massively successful group is set to release multiple NFT editions of When You See Yourself via YellowHouse, a company promoting music industry innovations utilizing blockchain technology. Fans will still be able to buy physical copies of the new album, as well as stream it via standard services like Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, and Amazon, but the limited digital editions (entitled... wait for... NFT Yourself) offer "enhanced" experiences including alternate "movable" album covers and special edition vinyl prints.
And for that large market intersection of "ultra-wealthy, diehard Kings of Leon super-fans," YellowHouse is also minting 18 "golden ticket" NFTs for the album. One-third will be auctioned for charity, while the other 12 will be stored in a digital vault as a painter might do with their own work. “Each one of those is a unique NFT with the most incredible Kings of Leon art you’ve ever seen,” YellowHouse CEO Josh Katz somehow told Rolling Stone with a straight face.
The continued rise of NFTs — To distill it down as best we can: A non-fungible token, or NFT, is a cryptocurrency variant pegged to digital items like art or music files, and utilizes blockchain technology to verify ownership and authenticity. NFTs are already shaking up the artistic marketplace, and with recent major auction houses like Christie's getting in on the action, the new collectors' format is likely to become even more commonplace in the coming months and years.
One of many NFT variations on the market — NFT special edition albums were almost an inevitability once the technology immerged. We've already seen weird offerings like digital "shoes" introduced as NFTs, which apparently netted $3.1 million for its creators. Meanwhile, musician Grimes sold her own NFT artworks for more than $6 million earlier this month. Whether or not NFTs improve the distribution or sale of digital goods, they're certainly lucrative if you've got a big enough name to attach to them.
Anyway, however it plays out, good on Kings of Leon. It's probably the most original idea the band's had in years.