NFT Artwork Is Blowing Up In the Music Industry — Grimes, Steve Aoki, & More Are Making Millions Selling Digital Artwork

music nfts 2021
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music nfts 2021
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Photo Credit: Steve Aoki

Digital artwork and audio distributed as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are taking over the music industry.

The technology is still in its nascent stages of experimental use cases. But the technology could change how music is monetized in the future. Let’s look at how some artists embrace music NFTs to change how they get paid.

Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda sold a digital piece of art for $30,000 via NFT. He explained why he embraced the technology on Twitter. “Even if I upload the full version of the contained song to DSPs worldwide (which I can still do), I would never even get close to $10k, after fees by DSPs, label, marketing, etc.”

NFTs are taking off because they are an easy way for artists to recoup income lost from the pandemic. After the COVID-19 pandemic, artists are left struggling to find alternatives to live tours. Live streaming, fan clubs, ticketed virtual meets, online Master Class courses are all avenues for new income.

NFTs are a new exclusive way to prove ownership of artist official merch, where the artist continues to earn residual sales each time the artwork or music changes hands.

Shinoda argues that the more popular a song or artwork associated with the NFT becomes, the more valuable the ‘original’ piece becomes. So which artists are embracing NFTs?

Daft Punk

Daft Punk issued several collectible NFTs on the Rarible platform before announcing their split up. They sent these valuable NFTs to several celebrities registered on the platform. So far, only Lindsay Lohan has decided to cash-in by selling her Daft Punk NFT for $15,000.


Grimes is embracing the music NFTs future with her alter-ego, War Nymph. War Nymph is the digital avatar she created for herself after her fifth album dropped, Miss Anthropocene. Grimes held her NFT auction on the Nifty Gateway platform, owned by the Winklevoss twins.

Grimes sold nine pieces this weekend on the platform. Seven of the nine were limited editions, while two were “open editions.” The two open editions allowed anyone to purchase the artwork and ‘mint’ an original copy. A tenth piece sold on Monday for $388,938. The secondary market for these music NFTs is huge. Some of the Grimes pieces sold over the weekend are already being resold for $2.5 million.


Electronic music producer 3lau broke music NFT sales records over the weekend. He sold 33 unique NFTs for a total haul of $11,684,101. 3LAU built a custom website for auctioning the NFTs. One included a platinum-plated vinyl record, which is redeemable for a custom song by 3LAU. It also included access to unreleased music and a bonus physical vinyl to commemorate the purchase.

Steve Aoki

Steve Aoki is joining Grimes on the NiftyGateway platform for his music NFTs auction. Aoki has teamed up with visual artist Antoni Tudisco to create unique artwork. Aoki says several different packs will be available when the NFT collection drops on March 7.