A blockchain-powered financial platform for artists, in April Opulous – then operating as Bluebox – hosted the first ever split music copyright sale by artists via NFTs.
British rapper Big Zuu and US artist Taylor Bennett each successfully sold a collection of 1% stakes in unreleased recordings via the blockchain.
All 125 of these items sold out in under 30 seconds with over 10,000 people trying to get into the sale. (Buyers of these 1% stakes acquired a worldwide exclusive fractional license to these sound recordings, with ownership in perpetuity).
Now, having completed a successful multi-million-dollar financing round to fund the next stage of its growth, Opulous is welcoming a wider range of artists onto its platform to host similar split copyright NFT sales.
“When it comes to split-copyright NFTs, we see a real sweet spot here for artists who have, say, 3 million-plus followers on Spotify.”
Lee Parsons, Opulous
“Obviously, we want the biggest artists out there to start selling NFTs through the Opulous platform,” says Opulous founder, Lee Parsons. “But when it comes to the split-copyright NFTs, we see a real sweet spot here for artists who have, say, 3 million-plus followers on Spotify – artists with the kind of solid fan-base that will actively want to help promote their music to others, and will really value owning a stake, and getting a return, from that music’s success.”
What Parsons is describing is, in essence, a future of dedicated global fanbases operating with a shared determination to fuel their favorite artist’s success – a la BTS’s online ARMY.
This determination, though, will come not just from fans loving the act in question, but also because they’re directly invested in their prosperity.
Thanks to a recent partnership with Binance, artists can also now sell non-copyright NFTs via Opulous, including VIP fan experiences – giving super-fans a chance to spend big on scarce items from their favourite artists.
Meanwhile, Opulous this month closed a $6.5 million funding round from a list of backers soon to be announced.
Parsons is keeping tight-lipped on the names of Opulous’s new backers for now, but does confirm that “some of my favorite artists” are investors in the platform.
(A quick glance at the Opulous Twitter account reveals that people like famed entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk – as well as a fair few notable music industry types – are following the company closely.)
A million dollars of the $6.5 million was raised via a crowd-raise. Parsons says this process proved so popular it was executed via a lottery system – with users having to prepay their money with the hope of ‘winning’ an allocation to invest in Opulous.
“In this world where artists need and want to [finance] themselves via their copyrights, this kind of [crypto-based] fan-funding is the inevitable model of the future. And as it builds, it’s going to become a big threat to the major labels.”
Lee Parsons, Opulous
“We could have raised literally ten times more than that with the level of demand we saw,” says Parsons, “but right now this is about sensibly taking Opulous to the next level, and bringing on the next wave of artists selling copyright NFTs for the very first time.”
Added Parsons: “We hear a lot from independent artists, ‘But I want to keep my copyrights, not sell them.’ And of course that’s one option in a career. But another option is to raise the funds you need or want direct from your fans, and have those fans become evangelists for you and your music in the process.
“In this world where artists need and want to [finance] themselves via their copyrights, this kind of [crypto-based] fan-funding is the inevitable model of the future. And as it builds, it’s going to become a big threat to the major labels.
“Our software can even track who amongst your ‘army’ is the most engaged and increase their rewards.”
Earlier this month, Opulous inked its partnership with Binance in order to allow artists to sell additional, different types of NFTs – not related to copyrights – via the Binance NFT platform.
Parsons says that Opulous plans to launch a series of these exclusive music NFT drops with “major artists” – led by Lil Yachty and Kyle – on Binance NFT, with others to be announced soon.
[UPDATE: In January 2022, Lil Yachty filed a lawsuit against Opulous in the US accusing the company of using his name and likeness without permission.]
“NFTs are very lucrative,” comments Parsons. “With our Binance collaboration, artists will be able to sell fan experiences like a day in the studio with themselves, as well as Facetime calls, a day doing extreme sports together – anything.
“We see a future where artists are doing regular NFT drops on Binance outside of their copyrighted music, selling everything from future fan experiences to artworks.”
Lee Parsons, Opulous
“And these items will be trade-able, potentially making even more money for the artists via secondary trading.”
Adds Parsons: “We see a future where artists are doing regular NFT drops on Binance outside of their copyrighted music, selling everything from future fan experiences to artworks.
“There is a lot of money to be made.”
Opulous is currently hiring for a Los Angeles-based Head of Artist Services, a role which requires at least 5 years of music industry experience as a high level account manager, artist liaison or other relevant role.Music Business Worldwide