a16z, The Chainsmokers back 3LAU's NFT platform Royal in $55 million Series A

Royal, the startup building a marketplace for digital assets tied to music artists, has secured $55 million funding through a Series A fundraise led by a16z.

Royal aims to provide artists with a way for music artists to share ownership in their music with fans by issuing digital collectibles and non-fungible tokens. In a sense, the firm's offering is illustrated in the recent drop by its found 3Lau, who released a collection of 333 unique art pieces that also represent 50% of ownership in the streaming rights of his song, Worst Case. The company says more than 120,000 users have signed up for access to the platform since August.

While an artist might give up ownership in a song in an NFT drop, they are also unlocking more value from their art, according to 3Lau. 

"Music has never been purchasable as art," he said. "No matter what percentage artists offer, it unlocks value. Because [fans] can say they are one of the, let's say, 100 people who own something. They'll want to promote the artists in more ways and add more value to the community."

The funding round adds a number of artists to the firm's cap table, indicating that there's interest among the entertainment community to follow 3Lau's lead. Investors from that vertical include The Chainsmokers, Nas, Logic & Kygo. Other investors include Coinbase Ventures, Founders Fund, and Paradigm. 

Ultimately, 3Lau's goal is to create a platform where upstart musicians can bootstrap their careers, leveraging the NFTs to finance future albums. The fresh cash injection will help Royal build out the requisite engineering and legal infrastructure to support such a product. 

"We're rolling out slowly," 3Lau said. "We are building out our security, auditing, and infrastructure to be mainstream useable."

Royal further plans to build out a native exchange wherein its users can trade artist assets without having to go through the process of setting up a wallet.