When you're an artist, the only thing more important than creating great work is getting paid for creating. Traditionally, many artists have struggled to make a living from their craft, especially if they're not part of an elite creative class, defined by a select few people in the fine art world.
NFTs are poised to change this dynamic. It’s no longer just about owning a piece of art, it's also about the ability to buy, trade, and sell it on different digital platforms. A critical shift that’s creating opportunities for monetization, creative control, and ownership, never before seen by this generation's artists.
Blockchain Technology and NFTs
NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) represent any item that can be digitized, such as artworks or physical collectibles. If a digital asset is an NFT, that means it’s unique—just like an original piece by Banksy or Jean Michel Basquiat. The main difference is that the creator has full control over its ownership and can sell it at any time on the blockchain—a ledger where all transactions are recorded publicly and immutably (i.e., forever).
Artists, Musicians, and other Creators are already using this technology to sell their work.
In the last two years there's been an explosion of popularity in NFTs as artists, musicians, photographers and other creators slowly uncover the benefits of this technology.
For example, Musicians are using this technology to create smart contracts on their websites that represent collectible versions of their songs or albums. Unlike popular streaming services that give artists pennies on the dollar and require them to give up rights, NFTs empower musicians to sell their work directly to their fans. Without the need for middle-people.
Artists receive the primary purchase price for each piece, maintain full rights and ownership of their work, receive royalties on any secondary sales, and create a direct connection to their fans. This shift changes everything.
The opportunity is big, the learning curve steep and adapting will take time.
In this new world an artist could paint a piece in their bedroom, scan and upload it to the blockchain, and sell it online that same day. No agent cuts, no schmoozing with elitist galleries, and no compromising artistic expression for demanding clients.
This is the future of NFTs that's been promised to artists. But, it's important to note, that these promises are not yet realized.
As with any new technology, the opportunity is big, but the learning curve, and barriers, to entry are steep.
Those artists best positioned to benefit from this opportunity right now seem to have an insatiable desire to learn and the ability to self-start without a guidebook. These artists also have unwavering conviction in their craft and the role that artists play in building this new world. All characteristics commonly found in folks building anything new; but especially necessary when what you’re building is the next iteration of the internet.
NFTs have great potential to empower artists in ways that most would have never imagined. It’s exciting to think about how this could change the lives of all creators; honoring them and their craft, instead of simply extracting value.
We’re at the beginning of the long journey towards figuring out this ecosystem and how artists will benefit most from its existence. Thankfully, for the very first time in a long time, artists not only have a seat at the table for this discovery, they're also the ones building the tables.