Abel Tesfaye, the Super Bowl-headlining musician known as The Weeknd, is the latest artist to embrace the excitement around NFTs (non-fungible tokens).
Specifically, he's teaming up with Nifty Gateway, the same marketplace that worked with Beeple to auction off a piece of digital art for $6.6 million earlier this year (a very impressive number, though quickly overshadowed by the $69 million that another Beeple piece sold for through Christie's).
The Weeknd and Nifty Gateway will be holding a sale on Saturday with two main components, both of them involving a previously unreleased song — which will not be available on any other platforms in the future — plus visual art developed by Strange Loop Studios in consultation with The Weeknd.
There will be a flash sale of three different pieces of art, each with a different filtered clip of the song. These pieces will be available in unlimited quantities, albeit for a limited amount of time. And there will be a 24-hour exclusive auction of a one-of-a-kind piece — accompanied by the song, in-full and unfiltered.
“Blockchain is democratizing an industry that has historically been kept shut by the gatekeepers," The Weeknd said in a statement. "I’ve always been looking for ways to innovate for fans and shift this archaic music biz and seeing NFT’s allowing creators to be seen and heard more than ever before on their terms is profoundly exciting. I intend to contribute to this movement and can see that very soon it will be weaved into the music industry's mechanics.”
NFTs are basically assets on the blockchain tied to digital art, whether that's images, audio, video or another format. The art itself is usually reproducible, but the NFTs indicate the true ownership.
Interest has exploded in recent months, thanks to auctions at eye-popping prices, as well as hopes that the technology will bring more financial benefits to artists in the digital world. At the same time, they've also faced criticism for factors including their energy usage and resulting impact on climate change.
The auction will begin at 11 a.m. Pacific on Saturday, April 3.