In brief

  • A musician named 3LAU sold an album as 33 NFTs.
  • The auction generated over $11 million in sales.

Renowned musical artist and blockchain enthusiast 3LAU has sold a music album for $11 million on the Ethereum blockchain. The album was sold as 33 non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on Origin Protocol’s Dshop, a decentralized marketplace built on the InterPlanetary Filing System (IPFS) and Ethereum.

The NFT industry is booming, with over $100 million in sales last month alone. While NFTs are usually visual works of art, 3LAU has reimagined that by introducing audio—adding another dimension to the exploding crypto market.

Starting on February 25, buyers were able to bid on one of 33 NFTs during a three day period. Hitting $11.6 million, 3LAU’s album set a record for the most NFT sales generated in a single auction. And now that the sale is complete, buyers will be able to redeem these NFTs for limited edition vinyls, unreleased music and even the chance to collaborate with 3LAU himself. 

“The Audio NFTs that 3LAU is releasing are redeemable, when you redeem them, 3LAU will actually send a limited edition vinyl with a signature on the packaging,” Origin co-founder Matthew Liu told Decrypt

A nifty experiment

For Liu, there were three reasons how NFTs helped the auction to be so successful.

First, NFTs can be connected to physical goods. In 3LAU’s auction, this came in the form of a 3LAU limited edition vinyl being sent to a buyer. 

Second, NFTs can also be connected to additional digital content, like new exclusive 3LAU music that nobody has ever heard before. 

Third, NFTs can also be tied to experiences. In 3LAU’s auction, the top bidder—named under the pseudonym Bidder65—can now collaborate with 3LAU in order to produce a brand new single, having a say as to what the title of the song might be, or what mood the song captures. 

After the success of this auction, 3LAU’s audio NFTs are prompting speculation about what NFTs might achieve in the near to intermediate future. 

What’s next for NFTs?

Liu said that NFTs can be a market that generates millions of new buyers. 

He suggested 3LAU’s audio NFT sale provided a roadmap that demonstrates the potential future of the NFT industry. “We do think that there are a lot of creators and influencers that are looking for new ways to engage and interact with their audiences in this covid-ravaged world,” he said. 

But before NFTs really take off, a giant gap needs to be closed between the early NFT adopters and the millions who follow the world’s biggest artists and influencers. Once these millions get on board with NFTs, that’s when Liu thinks the industry will really blow up. 

“There is a tremendous opportunity for Origin—and other companies in this space— if we execute correctly and figure out how to cross the chasm between early adopters of NFTs and get into the majority of the mainstream,” Liu said. 

That is, if Ethereum can handle it.