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Electronic music producer 3LAU — pronounced “Blau” — sold the world’s first digital tokenized album on Sunday, generating over $11.6 million in online sales in under 24 hours.
One song from 3LAU’s album was sold for over $3.6 million on his own custom-made digital-token auction site. The EDM artist sold 33 unique tokens which were redeemable for anything from special edition vinyl 3LAU albums, unreleased music, to special experiences.
The auction lasted for 48 hours and was used to commemorate the three-year release of 3LAU’s “Ultraviolet” album. The 33 top bidders each received an “Ultraviolet” vinyl non-fungible token or NFT.
3LAU announced the auction on Twitter.
I just wanted you to know!
I designed & animated the song NFT visuals myself!
New student of professor @grimemonday
— ▽ (@3LAU) February 27, 2021
NFTs operate as unique digital collectibles. The digital tokens have gained in popularity over the past few weeks and have sold for millions online. The crypto art market is currently valued at over $100 million.
Many artists have begun to express interest in NFTs. On Monday, Grammy Award-winning artist RAC announced plans to launch an NFT creative agency. The artist has been a strong supporter of cryptocurrencies, even starting his own digital currency $RAC on the Ethereum blockchain. He said he plans for the agency to help artists fully realize the potential of NFT sales.
Many digital-token trading platforms allow artists to earn revenue even after the first sale. When buyers go to sell the items again, artists continue to earn a portion of the profit. Chris Torres, a digital artist known for selling his Nyan Cat meme for nearly $600,000 in February, told Insider he believes NFTs will open up a whole new economy in the crypto world.
3LAU plans to use the money from his NFT sales to subsidize losses during the pandemic due to canceled concert tours. In 2020, musicians lost over two-thirds of their income due to the pandemic, according to BBC News.
Many artists like 3LAU are already beginning to realize the potential for generating additional revenue via digital tokens. On Sunday, singer Grimes brought in over $5.8 million in under 20 minutes through NFT sales. For some NFTs, Grimes even included unreleased music.
While other artists like Grimes and Torres have mainly focused on video and visual elements, 3LAU is the first artist to sell an entire album through NFTs, according to Origin Protocol.
The auction was made possible through a collaboration between 3LAU’s team and Origin Protocol, a crypto-trading company that helps develop marketplaces on the Ethereum blockchain.
3LAU, Creative Artist’s Agency, and Origin Protocol did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Several other musicians have also expressed interest in NFTs. On Tuesday, Grammy-nominated artist Steve Aoki announced his first NFT on Instagram.
The artist plans to release the NFT art collection “Dream Catcher” on Sunday through Nifty Gateway. The piece will include music, as well as 3-D illustrations created by Antoni Tudisco.