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A tiny fraction of royalties from Rihanna’s smash hit song “Bitch Better Have My Money” has just been redistributed to 205 people via 300 Ethereum NFTs in a collection that sold out Thursday, per Etherscan contract data.
Jamil “Deputy” Pierre—who produced Rihanna’s 2015 track alongside co-producer Kanye West—appears to have enlisted the help of a Europe-based crypto startup AnotherBlock to sell 0.99% of his streaming royalty rights to the song as 300 NFTs.
Each blockchain token signifies ownership over 0.0033% royalty rights to the song, promises “lifetime” ownership of that portion of the copyright, and grants holders the percentage of streaming rights from the master recording.
AnotherBlock’s mint for the Rihanna song sold out quickly Thursday and generated $63,000 in revenue. A valuation of $210 per 0.0033% of the song theoretically places a total value of $6.36 million to the song’s streaming royalties.
It’s unclear what percentage of the royalties Deputy has still privately retained after the sale, as the signed NFT Ownership Agreement published to the site does not detail Deputy’s total holdings. Deputy has not yet responded to Decrypt’s request for comment, but a source familiar with royalty splits in the traditional music industry told Decrypt that a total royalty cut for a producer is typically less than 5% for any given song.
According to the agreement, Deputy contracted AnotherBlock to handle the NFT mint on his behalf. The contract also permits secondary sales of the NFTs and requires Deputy to pay out NFT holders their percentage of any streaming royalties earned no less than twice a year.
AnotherBlock’s website estimates “probable” NFT holder returns for the Rihanna song to be roughly 6.5% per year, which equates to payouts of roughly $13.65 a year. This means it would take an original buyer about 15 years to recoup their initial investment, which suggests that this drop is more likely to be interpreted as a novelty Web3 experience for Rihanna fans instead of a real financial investment.
But selling a percentage of music rights as NFTs isn’t a new concept. For example, Justin “3LAU” Blau’s Web3 music platform Royal raised $16 million in 2021 and launched its anticipated music rights marketplace in November 2022. Royal reports that it has since paid out over $132,000 in royalties to its NFT collectors.
Rihanna’s record label Roc Nation has not yet responded to Decrypt’s request for comment.