In brief

  • Music magazine SPIN plans to release crypto art NFTs of its classic covers.
  • New Asset Exchange (NAX) will power the claimed “environmentally-friendly” marketplace.

Music media publication SPIN, which existed as a print magazine from 1985 to 2012 and continues on today as a purely digital outlet, is the latest media brand to make the leap into crypto collectibles released as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). And it's putting an "eco-friendly" spin on its plans.

SPIN says it will release a series of NFTs based on its classic magazine covers, which includes its library of hundreds of print issues and also more recent digital magazine issues. According to a release, the publication—which was purchased by Next Management Partners in 2020—plans to tap into additional photography and content from its archives for this NFT push.

The NFT marketplace will be powered by startup New Asset Exchange (NAX), and today’s announcement repeatedly billed the SPIN NFT marketplace as being "environmentally friendly," due to “ESG friendly and energy-efficient technology.” But there are no details yet on how NAX's tech accomplishes this exactly. (Presumably it will make use of the a less energy-intensive proof of stake blockchain network to mint its NFTs, but we're just guessing.) Representatives for NAX and SPIN have not yet responded to Decrypt's request for additional details.

An NFT is a verifiably scarce digital item that can be authenticated on a blockchain and can represent anything from a still photo or illustration to an animated gif, video, and more. The NFT collectibles market has skyrocketed so far in 2021, with the top three marketplaces reporting $342 million in total trading volume in February alone. That’s more than in all of 2020.

Brands like the NBA, Taco Bell, and Charmin have gotten in on the NFT rush, and more recently, we’ve seen media brands make the leap as well. Last week, TIME Magazine sold an “Is Fiat Dead?” magazine cover as an NFT for $130,000, while The New York Times sold an NFT image of a column for $560,000.

“A music, media and art collectibles marketplace supported by NAX’s digital expertise and marketplace technology, fueled by SPIN’s access to talent, celebrities and brands is a no-brainer,” said SPIN CEO Jimmy Hutcheson, in a release. “We are excited to launch this with NAX and create something really special for the fans.”

As Hutcheson’s quote suggests, SPIN plans to lean on its artist and celebrity connections to curate future NFT collections. The release points to an ongoing release schedule of imagery and NFT packs, along with artist collaborations, tokenized video footage, signed images, and tie-ins with SPIN’s physical gallery shows and activations.

SPIN has yet to confirm which covers will be turned into NFTs, although the press release was accompanied by recent cover images featuring Billie Eilish and Machine Gun Kelly. Additionally, the SPIN website has a placeholder page for the NFT push that features even more magazine covers, including older images with Madonna, Prince, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Public Enemy. Launch timing for the marketplace has yet to be confirmed.

NAX launched earlier this year with plans to “create asset-backed products, ventures and securities for the world's leading institutions.” The firm, headed by CEO Jeff Schumacher, announced $65 million in investment in a January press release with a claimed valuation over $300 million.

The firm’s claim about the eco-friendly nature of its NFTs was seemingly made in response to backlash about the environmental impact of NFTs due to the immense energy consumption of proof-of-work blockchains like Ethereum. However, some blockchains used for NFTs—such as Flow and WAX—use less-intensive proof-of-stake consensus frameworks.