The great art revolt: NFT brings power to the artist
Published: 20 JAN 2022 | Updated: 14 FEB 2022
Read on to learn the story behind the artwork.
ART | A revolution has been shaking up the art world for the past 10 months. Its name: the non-fungible token, or NFT. Industry professionals have massively adopted these digital property certificates — whose authenticity is verified by blockchain technology — in turn disrupting the established order in the sector.
Certificate of Authenticity
NFT. A mere three letters with enormous impact and potential. At its core, an NFT, or non-fungible token, is a digital asset whose authenticity has been certified on a blockchain.
The term “non-fungible” translates to one of a kind; in other words, an NFT is a unique asset that cannot be replaced. Think of it like this: If you own the original painting “The Old Guitarist” by Picasso, only you can own it. Other people can own a print, but only one person can possess the original. NFTs work the same way. Only one person can be the owner of a specific NFT.
NFTs can essentially be anything—their potential seems limitless, but most recently, NFTs have been associated with digital art, music, and tweets. An artist can create multiple NFTs of a work, or one.
Shaking up the art market
Although NFTs are not new, the popularity exploded in March 2021. Michael Winkelmann, aka Beeple, became the third most valuable living artist after “Everyday: the First 5000 Days” sold for $69.3 million at Christie’s. At the time, few art world professionals could have imagined that lines of code referring to a virtual work recorded on the blockchain could be worth so much. The phenomenon has consolidated over the months, turning NFTs into a veritably booming market. Despite experiencing some variations, this market is growing steadily and is shaking up an industry that is often cautious about technological advances.
But artists are much less cautious, it seems. Many hope that NFTs will call into question the business model of auction houses and art galleries, which has remained unchallenged for years. They also see an opportunity to reach a mass global audience without intermediaries through sales platforms like Nifty Gateway and OpenSea. This prospect is particularly attractive to artists who have long been sidelined by the traditional art market, such as women and those from the African continent.
Music also earned itself a front row seat in the NFT game. In March, recording artists Kings of Leon released the first-ever NFT album, which in the first week of its release generated upwards of $2 million.
The Great Art Revolt
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Shawn Mendes also recently sold virtual NFT “genies” of himself. Artists are not only monetizing their songs, but also digital “merch.”
Additionally, new opportunities arise. By making use of smart contracts songs can be split into NFT’s, with each NFT representing a part of that song’s copyright. This method has the potential to spark a copyright sale revolution amongst fans, who will be able to buy pieces of songs and recordings before their favorite artist hits the big time—and then reap the rewards of this investment down the line.”
NFTs are bound to have massive monetary and social impacts on the entertainment world, but how a work’s intellectual property will be affected has yet to fully be developed. What is certain is that this novel digital world has the potential to provide artists with more control over their creations and build a platform to better track royalties and monetize their craft.