This Friday, Kings of Leon will release their eighth album, When You See Yourself. They won’t just be releasing it via the hackneyed old methods of physical media or streaming platforms, though. Rather, the arena rock stalwarts are getting into the crypto game, and selling the album via non-fungible tokens (NFTs) – making them one of the first bands to do so.
If you’re unfamiliar with NFTs, they’re essentially a type of cryptocurrency that, instead of holding money, holds a unique digital asset, allowing art and other media to be tokenised. For buyers, there’s the flex that comes with having a unique piece, recorded via a blockchain entry for all to see, and the assumption that the token’s value will increase over time.
A lot of the buzz with the tokens of late has been around digital art in particular – you may have read that Grimes recently sold a digital art collection for $6 million via NFTs.
Though the practice has been hailed as a new way for artists to sell their work, it’s also been criticised fairly heavily, mostly due to its environmental impact. As the Guardian acknowledges in the story above, the sale of 303 editions of one of Grimes’ art pieces used “the same electrical power as the average EU resident would in 33 years, and produced 70 tonnes of CO2 emissions.”
Anyway, as Rolling Stone reports, in Kings of Leon’s case, the band are dropping three different tokens as part of a series called NFT Yourself. One is a “special album package” with a digital download, enhanced media and limited edition vinyl. The second, a “golden ticket” offering, promises live show perks such as front-row concert seats for life. The third contains exclusive audiovisual art.
The band are selling the NFT versions of the album via a tech company called YellowHeart, with the sale opening 4am this Saturday, AEDT time. They’re donating all proceeds from two of the tokens – the album NFTs and the “golden tickets” – to Live Nation’s Crew Nation fund for out-of-work touring crew.