As the speculative side of the NFT market cools, utility has cemented itself as a defining factor of successful NFT drops. And in the NFT music industry specifically, where NFTs empower artists to unlock unprecedented opportunities for fan connection and collaboration, utility has never been more critical.
As explained by green NFT platform OneOf’s co-founder Adam Fell, NFTs have upended the traditional role of a fan as a passive listener and consumer. Now, in place of a typical Web2 fan club comes a smaller but mightier Web3 street team composed of an artist’s most genuine fans who are mutually aligned and incentivized in the artist’s success.
Ultimately, defining the right utility for an NFT comes by identifying what an artist’s most loyal fans really want and then going above and beyond to deliver on these desires.
Pushing the boundaries
Over the last year, we’ve seen artists use NFTs to offer listeners a variety of perks. These serve existing fans while also helping welcome new ones into the fold. Web3 early-adopter Steve Aoki’s A0k1verse gives fans a suite of both on-chain and physical experiences, including free tour tickets and free mints to AOKI NFT and partner drops. Meanwhile, Masego, FKJ, and Voidz have rewarded holders of OneOf’s Tadow Collection with personalized videos, signed merch, virtual jam sessions, and an official RIAA platinum record plaque.
The possibilities are endless, but to truly deliver a memorable and worthwhile fan experience when crafting an approach towards utility, the initial direction must come from the artists themselves, said OneOf’s VP of Music, Thomas Fiss, in an interview with nft now.
“Initially, we start with the artist’s vision and build from there,” he said. “But we’re also incredibly aware that it is our responsibility to ensure we’re pushing the boundary of what’s possible — balanced with our expertise. To that point, creative integrity and authenticity are also paramount to any collaboration.”
Both integrity and authenticity were prominently displayed in OneOf’s hallmark, The Notorious BIG: Sky’s the Limit Collection. One of the most innovative NFT drops to date, it has generated an overwhelmingly positive response from the community and still serves as a case study for those looking to replicate its effects.
“The collection sold out in under 10 minutes and allows for community-based decision making of how an acapella freestyle is used in derivative works,” Fiss added. “Additionally, revenue from future uses is directed back to the community – where they can determine how the funds are utilized. More importantly, this drop became a north star for artist teams to celebrate and conceptualize ways to add depth to fandom and legacy.”
Fresh Fruit by Doja Cat x JBL
OneOf’s latest collaboration is with another breakout star: Doja Cat. Since dropping her studio album in 2018, Doja Cat has quickly skyrocketed from TikTok stardom to a global phenomenon amassing over one billion streams on Spotify to date. Now, with loyal fans around the globe, the Fresh Fruit by Doja Cat X JBL NFT drop is the perfect way to progressively and authentically open access to her community.
Initially released across five drops throughout August and September, Doja’s Fresh Fruit collection bridges the physical and digital worlds, culminating in a chance to attend the highly anticipated return of JBL Fest 2022. Running from September 27-29 in Las Vegas, JBL Fest will feature a headline performance by Doja Cat and performances by The Kid LAROI, Bebe Rexha, DJ Tigerlily, and world-renowned DJ and producer Martin Garrix.
The collection consists of 3D fruit-themed JBL headphones, artfully conceptualized by Doja herself. Like most non-fungible collections, the NFTs are separated into different tiers, each with increasing degrees of rarity and themed around Doja’s favorite fruits: Blueberry, Lemon, Strawberry, Orange, and Grape.
Each Fresh Fruit NFT provides tiered access to a host of JBL x Doja Cat events leading up to (and during) the festival, along with various perks, including JBL product discounts, additional Fresh Fruit NFTs, and a chance to win a flyaway trip for the holder and a guest to JBL Fest.
The drop also features two limited-edition eBay-exclusive Orange and Strawberry tiers, including a phygital card unlocking special access to Doja Cat x JBL AR simulations, free products, and guaranteed tickets with priority access for the holder and a guest to JBL Live! 2022.
Playing into the fluid and dynamic nature of NFTs, OneOf has exercised the ability to edit NFT metadata and evolve the utility for tokens over time, further pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.
Nearly a year after Doja’s first Planet Doja Genesis NFT drop, the JBL x Doja Fresh Fruit release provides Planet Doja Genesis holders with new utility for their tokens. Now, they can fuse three Planet Doja Genesis NFTs in exchange for one of 77 variations of 2,500 Grape Fresh Fruit JBL NFTs. In addition to a unique Grape Doja Cat x JBL NFT, all holders are entered to win guaranteed access to JBL Live!, exclusive access to JBL events, a phygital card to unlock Doja Cat x JBL VR simulations, and a chance to win a Diamond NFT. Holders also get early access and select discounts on iconic JBL products.
All tiers are now available exclusively through the OneOf website and eBay and range in price from free to $1,250. And as part of OneOf’s mission to onboard more individuals to NFTs, all Fresh Fruit NFTs are minted on the Tezos blockchain and can be purchased with all major credit cards.
The future of utility
With leaders like Doja pushing the boundaries of innovation, artists throughout the industry are taking note and searching for new ways to leverage NFTs to super-serve fans. While many recognize the power of NFTs as tools to connect with their communities, few know where to begin.
The secret, says Fiss, is simplicity.
“Simple. Simple. Simple. NFT projects should be simple, innovative, inclusive, and affordable,” he shared. “More specifically, physical + digital is gaining a lot of traction. Specifically, redemption tokens can be traded or redeemed for a physical item. Additionally, NFCOAs (non-fungible certificates of authenticity) that tether physical and digital are gaining a lot of traction. Specifically, redemption tokens that can be traded or redeemed for an authenticated physical item.”
To Fiss’s point, we’re already seeing a difference in how artists structure their drops today compared to a year ago. With the hype around NFTs starting to settle, artists and their teams are now prioritizing a long-term vision for their respective collections, ensuring that the drop is initially well received and that there is demand and community engagement for years to come.
As for what’s to come for OneOf, Fiss hinted at an increased emphasis on using NFTs as a small piece of the puzzle to solve real-world problems.
“I realize that is a bit cryptic, but we believe the next chapter of success stories will be ensuring NFTs provide a problem-solving function in parallel to heightening the fan experience.”