Royal has been making a lot of noise in the music business since it launched last summer.
Co-founded by musician and producer 3LAU (Justin Blau) the company lets artists sell fractional music ownership in the form of NFTs.
Blau’s platform attracted $55 million worth of investment in a funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) in November, and last month hired a high-profile Head of Global Artist & Label Partnerships: Darya Pourshasb, Spotify‘s former Director, Premium Content Strategy.
Today, Royal has revealed that a pair of investors from its $55 million round, EDM stars The Chainsmokers, are partnering with the platform to give away a share of the royalties for their new album So Far So Good (DISRUPTOR/Columbia Records) to their “biggest fans” for free.
According to Royal, the Chainsmokers will be making 5,000 tokens, or limited digital assets (LDAs aka NFTs) that represent a collective 1% of the album’s master-side streaming royalties of the album, which equates to a 0.0002% ownership per token.
Royal claims that the move will see The Chainsmokers become the first major label artist to share royalties for an entire album for free.
In a blog post published by The Chainsmokers on why they’ve decided to partner with Royal on this giveaway, they describe LDAs as “tokens that have music rights and additional benefits embedded in them”.
Added the Chainsmokers: “The tokens will include, among other perks, a right to a proportional collective of a 1% audio streaming royalty from all 13 songs on our finished album”.
“We’ll be giving away these tokens for FREE to our biggest fans. Because you inspired us so much in our creation of this album, we want you to join us on its journey. They are our gift to kick-start this new modern fan community.
“A number of artists have done this in the past, but not for free. It was important for us to do it this way because this isn’t about profiting off some new tech for us, it’s about connecting more deeply with you and harnessing a new disruptive technology in an effective way that truly shows what is possible as we head towards a Web3 world.”
The duo also say that they won’t be taking a percentage of secondary sales of the NFTs, and have elected to distribute this amongst the songwriters on the album, instead.
This means that the 7.5% net royalty they would have received for every secondary sale, which is typically reserved for creators, will now be paid to the other songwriters.
In their blog post, The Chainsmokers write that, “Because of antiquated laws and old judgments, we believe songwriters are underpaid”.
“We couldn’t have written these songs without this core group of amazing writers and we wanted to find a way to give them something extra for being a part of our journey.
According to Royal, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, one of the co-writers on the single Riptide, has also given up his portion of secondary sales, so they’ll now be divided amongst the 14 other songwriters, including Emily Warren, Ian Kirkpatrick, Whethan, JKash, Aldae, Madi Yarnovsky, Chloe George, Natalie Salomon, Fatman Scoop, Nick Long, Jeff Halavacs, Alex Schwartz, Joe Khajadourian, and Adam Melchor.”
The Chainsmokers say that eligible fans have been identified from gathering “email addresses from over 30,000 of our biggest fans via data on most frequent ticket buyers, our most prolific streamers, our Discord server and know many of you personally from over the years”.
This group of fans are on The Chainsmokers’ VIP list, and will have the first chance to redeem one of the tokens.
The album is set to be released on Friday (May 13) and the NFT giveaway on Royal will happen on Tuesday (May 17), which will take place in two phases. Phase 1: will see 4,000 tokens made available for The Chainsmokers VIP list At 6pm ET.
In Phase 2: An additional 700 tokens will be available for The Chainsmokers VIP list + General Access at 8pm ET
The Chainsmokers say they’ve reserved 300 tokens for “friends, family, and fans so they can share in the community”.
Fans who manage also get hold of one of the tokens will also get access to a private Discord channel, which will Royal says will feature “exclusive content and other unique benefits”.
The Chainsmokers write in their blog post that fans do not need to have any cryptocurrency to claim one of their NFTs and won’t have to pay gas fees or any other fees either, because “Royal will be covering them”.
Royal’s partnership with The Chainsmokers follows their tie-up with hip-hop legend Nas in January, which saw his fans able to invest in his music by buying shares in the royalties earned from streaming for two of his tracks.
In March, Diplo became the next superstar artist to team up with Royal to sell shares in his streaming royalties.
“The Chainsmokers are the first major label artist to share royalties for an entire album for free. This is certainly a first for the music industry, but also a first within the emerging music NFT space.”
Justin Blau, Royal
Speaking to MBW, Justin Blau said: “The Chainsmokers are the first major label artist to share royalties for an entire album for free. This is certainly a first for the music industry, but also a first within the emerging music NFT space.
“Ultimately, we want Royal to be another tool for artists to connect with fans and assert more creative control. This announcement signals just another way that we’re opening up ownership opportunities for artists and their fans.
Added Blau: “We’re excited that one of the most streamed artists of the last decade is embracing Royal as a vehicle to connect with loyal fan bases.
“This will hopefully inspire artists of all sizes and genres to see Royal as one of the options available to them when thinking about ownership. Royal can be a powerful platform upon which to maintain or launch a successful career in which dedicated fans can directly invest.”
You can read The Chainsmokers’ blog post below:
Transparency has always been lacking in the world at large, in almost every industry, but especially the music industry. That’s why we are huge proponents of the power of Web3 and many of the features of it like blockchain, and the ability it has to bring transparency to the world. The potential of Web3 has incredible implications on what the future of the world will look like.
Some of its opportunities are potentially beyond our comprehension at the point in time as the space develops, but one area it will have a resounding and positive effect on immediately is the power of ownership. Web2, while an amazing advancement in technology, left the vast amount of people creating a majority of the content without any actual ownership. We are excited about the potential of the space to put the power back in the hands of the creators and in turn creating a flourishing world of community. We have invested in many Web3 companies including Royal, Moonpay, Portals, Magic Eden, Axie Infinity, Mythical games, Superplastic, Metaplex, Sling Shot, Alchemy and RTFKT just to name a few.
One exciting development in the Web3 space is the concept of Non-Fungible Tokens (or “NFTs”), which are implemented on a blockchain. NFTs can link to, record ownership of, or otherwise be associated with certain content, data or rights. For example, NFTs can be associated with a specific piece of digital art, music, or memorabilia and even concert tickets. We believe music NFTs specifically can provide an incredible opportunity for artists to connect with their fans and create a community in a transparent manner.
For the last 10 years we have toured the world, made 2 EPs and 4 albums, and followed our fans wherever you’ve been—to every continent, country, arena, festival, and social media platform. We’ve been chasing you because you are the reason we do this. We’ve had ups and downs and made mistakes, but you have always been there for us. For the last 2 years we obsessed over this album. We thought about you a lot and we thought about how we couldn’t have gotten here without you. This album is for every one of you that supported us, that came to a show, that streamed a song, that liked a post, that hugged us when you saw us. We knew these next few years for us were about going deeper and not wider. Forging real meaningful bonds with our biggest supporters via any avenue we could, from Discord to Fanhouse. That said, we didn’t want to stop there. We thought long and hard about how to make this community official and how to give back to our fans.
We came to what was an obvious conclusion: give away a portion of the master streaming royalty rights for So Far So Good to our biggest fans.
We are working with Royal to make (or “mint”) 5,000 NFTs, which are referred to as Limited Digital Assets or LDAs on Royal’s platform — they are tokens that have music rights and additional benefits embedded in them. The tokens will include, among other perks, a right to a proportional collective of a 1% audio streaming royalty from all 13 songs on our finished album.
We’ll be giving away these tokens for FREE to our biggest fans. Because you inspired us so much in our creation of this album, we want you to join us on its journey. They are our gift to kick-start this new modern fan community.
A number of artists have done this in the past, but not for free. It was important for us to do it this way because this isn’t about profiting off some new tech for us, it’s about connecting more deeply with you and harnessing a new disruptive technology in an effective way that truly shows what is possible as we head towards a Web3 world.
As a holder of one of these tokens, you will also be able to join a private Discord sub-channel with access to exclusive content, info, and us directly.
We are also planning giveaways and surprises and priority access to tickets, merch, and events to support our community. The first giveaway will be VIP tickets and meet & greet to an upcoming headline show. Owning multiple tokens may also give you access to additional perks and opportunities that we will announce randomly. Think of this NFT as a direct channel to you all where we can airdrop you directly all sorts of things over time!
Of course, as with most NFT products, after the initial drop, you will be able to transfer and sell your token if you choose. Typically NFT creators get a percentage of secondary sales which is paid back to them so they can continue to earn money on their art every time it’s resold. That is part of the beauty of NFTs and how it can help artists make a living in perpetuity.
Here though, we will not be taking a percentage of secondary sales. Instead, the 7.5% fee of every secondary sale will get distributed equally amongst 14 songwriters who wrote the album songs with us. Because of antiquated laws and old judgments, we believe songwriters are underpaid. We couldn’t have written these songs without this core group of amazing writers and we wanted to find a way to give them something extra for being a part of our journey. They are: Emily Warren, Ian Kirkpatrick, Whethan, JKash, Aldae, Madi Yarnovsky, Chloe George, Natalie Salomon, Fatman Scoop, Nick Long, Jeff Halavacs, Alex Schwartz, Joe Khajadourian, and Adam Melchor.
We know for many of you, this technology is brand new and uncharted territory. It might be frustrating to some and you may have concerns. There’ve been times where we were nervous about doing something like this as well, but we thought if we presented it with the best intentions and removed any sort of financial gain then you might see it as a pure gesture to our community. Also, in working closely with Royal the past 8 months we knew we could deliver an amazing drop that exceeded any expectations… This is just the beginning!
Music Business Worldwide