Nashville composer makes history with non-fungible tokens

Photo courtesy Pexels

Nashville composer Cristina Spinei made history this weekend when “Prelude” became one of the first newly composed orchestral pieces to be released as an NFT, or nonfungible token.

Spinei’s piece premiered on Sunday with the help of Gateway Chamber Orchestra and is now available to 20 people on the digital marketplace OpenSea. The NFT includes an audio file, a video recording + the score.

What are NFTs? These units of currency are part of an online database referred to as blockchain, which records how cryptocurrency like Bitcoin is sold + bought. The neat part about this is that ownership of tokens can be traced and verified (think what a deed is to a house).

We’ve seen how NFTs are “digitally disrupting” the art world — like when a single piece of digital artwork created by South Carolina-based artist Mike Winkelmann, aka Beeple, sold for $69.3 million — but what is the future of NFTs in the music industry?

Earlier this year, Nashville-based rockers Kings of Leon generated over $2 million from NFT sales of their latest album “When You See Yourself” via YellowHeart. Additionally, local artist Mighty Joe Nolan is gearing up to release his new single “Back to the Drive-In” as an NFT on Wed., May 26.

Only time will tell the possibilities of NFTs, but so far it’s changing the game by giving living artists the opportunity to benefit through sales in the digital field. People can essentially purchase the “bar code” to these artworks, meaning artists like Spinei will receive royalties in the secondary sales market.