An Australian NFT startup founder has made music history this week after Muse achieved the first UK #1 album using blockchain technology.
Serenade, a local tech startup led by Max Shand, collaborated with Muse to launch Will of the People. Released on August 26, the band’s ninth studio album was the first entire album to be released under Web3 music marketplace Serenade’s newest ‘Digital Pressing’ format. The collection now lives on OpenSea.
Early last month, Serenade joined forces with Warner Records UK to launch the Digital Pressing product, a new blockchain-based music format that offers a “brand new, limited edition and collectible” format. Each Digital Pressing includes the audio and album artwork, a limited press run in set edition sizes, chart-eligible bonus material, on-chain royalties and bonus ‘rewards’, including voice notes, video clips and photos. Buyers are included in a ‘First Owners’ list that binds the first supporters of the pressing for the rest of time.
“The last year has seen a huge amount of experimentation in how NFTs can apply to the average artist’s career,” Shand told The Chainsaw.
“Beyond simple, fan-focused products, NFTs need to fit into an artist’s career goals. While short-term revenue gain and fan engagement are extraordinarily important, placing in the charts remains a fundamental metric to unlocking a range of longer-term opportunities for an artist. This includes negotiating better label and publishing deals, getting playlisted, and being booked at festivals and on tours,” he said.
While many other major artists have experimented with NFT technology as a part of their music-related strategies in the past, until now, there has not been a release of an entire album that is fully integrated with NFT technology.
Shand describes the new Digital Pressing format as a new way to democratise the album release process for musicians across the globe.
“We’re thrilled that Muse was the first artist to release a chart-accredited Digital Pressing with Serenade, and believe that their immediate success in selling out 1000 editions in 25 minutes will open the space for many artists, big and small, all of whom we want to work with if they approach the new Digital Pressing format with a passion to create great stuff for fans,” he said.
While this release may come as news for the international music industry, anyone familiar with Muse’s history won’t see the decision as too much of a surprise. The band was one of the first major artists in the mainstream music industry to adopt NFT technology in their creative pursuits.
As far back as September 2020, Muse was collaborating with the now-infamous CryptoKitties collection. More recently, the lead singer of Muse, Matt Bellamy, dropped exclusive NFTs alongside the release of his album ‘Cryosleep’ in July, put up for auction on the charity-focused NFT platform Cryptograph.