Crypto Sales: Muse NFT Album To Become First New Chart-Eligible Format In Seven Years | British charts

When British rock band Muse release their ninth studio album, Will of the People, on August 26, the NFT (non-fungible token) edition will become the first release of its kind to qualify for the charts in the UK and Australia. . It’s the first new format to be added to the charts since album streams in 2015.

It will be sold through the ‘eco-friendly’ NFT platform Serenade, which sold official Brit Awards NFTs for £10 each in February.

Serenade founder Max Shand describes the release of Muse as “the black T-shirt of NFTs”, an easy-to-purchase utilitarian digital format. “What a fan wants is something simple and understandable, but it gives them a sense of closeness to an artist and a sense of recognition from other fans,” he says.

Unlike many NFTs, buyers won’t need a crypto wallet. Once the purchase is made on the Serenade website, a digital wallet is created and the NFT is transferred to this wallet. If users have an existing crypto wallet, such as BitCoin or Ethereum, they can use it.

The UK’s Official Charts Company (OCC) made NFT albums eligible for the charts several months ago, but this is the first release where the provider, in this case Serenade, is approved as a chart-topping digital retailer.

“There’s been a lot of noise about NFTs being the future of music, the future of entertainment, the future of ownership,” says OCC chief executive Martin Talbot. “It’s great that this is becoming a reality.”

He says the release of Muse didn’t force an update to the OCC’s card eligibility rules, it will be the first that meets entry criteria.

In April, British indie rock band The Amazons released an NFT digital box set, limited to 100 copies, along with pre-orders of How Will I Know if Heaven Will Find Me? album, to be released in September. This was sold as part of a bundle rather than a standalone version.

Serenade had been in talks with Warner Records, home of Muse, about releasing an NFT album for several months. Muse, which had worked with blockchain platform CryptoKitties in 2020 to create digital collectibles, was seen as the obvious first choice.

“The band have always been at the forefront of technological innovation in their creativity and artistry,” says Sebastian Simone, Vice President of Audience and Strategy at Warner Records UK.

The Muse NFT album will retail for £20 and will be limited to 1,000 copies worldwide. As an NFT and limited edition format, its supply is relatively rare. Buyers will receive a downloadable version of the album – with different cover art – as high-resolution FLAC files; Muse members will digitally sign it, and each of the 1,000 buyers will have their name permanently listed on the linked buyer list.

“We wanted it to be more about the product than the ancillary experience,” says Simone.

With the number of copies being limited – and not all of them to be purchased in the UK – the release will not significantly distort the expected performance of Will of the People.

“If you want to impact the chart, there are definitely ways to do that,” Simone says of the potential for NFTs to significantly inflate first-week sales. “With Muse, it’s actually not essential because they’re [already] on tens of thousands of pre-orders. We expect the No. 1 spot to be very clear that week.

As with other NFTs, the original purchaser can resell it, and 15% of the resale price will go to the band and the rights holders – Warner Music for the sound recording rights and Universal Music Publishing for the composition rights .

The OCC has confirmed that resales of the album will not count as a “new” sale.

“There are absolutely no plans to change the fundamental principles [of the charts] where we count the sale of something when it’s brand new and you buy it first,” says Talbot. “We don’t count sales to the second buyer.”

Future releases may include extras and fan rewards that are added to the album as the campaign around it evolves. The OCC will ensure that the extras at the exit are not so inflated that they violate the rules of the table. “What you’re always looking for is something of such value or opportunity that it eclipses the music itself and people don’t buy it for the music, they buy it for the music. the [added extras]says Talbot.

As for whether this could all crumble into gimmickry, Simone says Warner is already planning similar releases for other acts. “It will become more widely adopted,” he says. “This will be the beginning of the door opening.”