Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have exploded in popularity over the past year, with third-quarter sales totaling $ 10.7 billion (up from $ 1.2 billion in Q2).
A host of industries – from fashion to music – have taken full advantage of the rise as the unique tokens that create a cash flow for artistic objects continue to expand far beyond digital art and collectibles.
Musician, writer and director Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson weighed in on the new trend during an interview with Yahoo Finance Live on Wednesday, saying the music industry’s NFT boom was hard to understand at first.
“When I first heard about digital art that made money, sold and became big business, it was the head scraper,” said the Philadelphia native, a decades-long member of the hip-hop group The Roots.
“But revolutions usually start with a lot of head scrapers in the beginning – then they just become the norm,” he continued.
He added that he is almost certain that “ten years from now, the idea of tangible art may be a thing of the past” as more collectors and investors pile up.
“Like, ‘wait, you actually paid money to put that thing on your wall? You do not own an NFT?’ NFTs are likely to be the norm in 2040 – 2050, “Thompson said.
Statistics about NFTs in the music field have been amazing with some digital items selling for millions of dollars.
Earlier this year, electronic music producer 3LAU sold 33 digital albums for over $ 11.6 million – making it the world’s first musician to sell a digitally tokenized album.
Prior to this sale, the musician auctioned off Grime’s digital artwork for $ 5.8 million in just under 20 minutes.
Overall, Questlove said NFTs are “a unique way to have an experience.”
“As long as the artist is creative and the art is considered worthy, then this is obviously a look into the future,” he added.
Streaming as ‘the development of life’
Streaming services like Spotify (SPOT) and Apple Music (AAPL) have been scrutinized because of the way they distribute revenue – which critics say disproportionately affects future artists.
But the platforms also offer new ways for musicians to connect with fans through curated playlists.
Questlove, which equates the creation of new playlists with the completion of the New York Times crossword puzzle, said the streaming evolution is similar to the shift towards NFTs.
“Going from collecting 200,000 records to just living a life of streaming … this is part of the focal point and evolution of life that we are in now,” he explained.
Alexandra is a producer and entertainment correspondent at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @ alliecanal8193
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