Artist who tokenized album for $11M explains why the NFT boom isn't like the ICO craze

Episode 16 of Season 3 of The Scoop was recorded remotely with The Block’s Frank Chaparro and Ryan Todd with DJ and music producer 3Lau. 

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The market for non-fungible tokens, digital collectibles, and tokenized music is hitting the mainstream. On Thursday, Beeple's NFT-powered suite of 5,000 images sold for a staggering $69 million, making it the third-highest figure paid for work by a living artist. Indeed, the sale sent shockwaves across the broader press, cementing NFT's place in the mainstream consciousness.

The market has been growing at a fast clip, with weekly users on NFT platforms soaring from around 20,000 at the beginning of the year to nearly 200,000 this week, according to data from The Block. 

On this episode of The Scoop, The Block's Frank Chaparro and Ryan Todd unpack the market's recent headlines with DJ and music producer 3Lau.

Performing artist 3Lau has long been focused on the intersection of music and crypto. Recently, he tokenized an album in a move that netted the Long Island native more than $11 million.

In this episode of The Scoop, the group discusses how tokenization will usurp record labels and put more money in the pockets of artists, his plans for helping more artists get involved in NFTs, and what makes this current crypto boom cycle different from the initial coin offering rally. 


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"You have these middlemen that have capitalized on artists' emotions and their lack of financial savviness," he said, describing the record labels and managing companies that capture much of the value from a musician's work.

Through NFTs, artists can now engage directly with their audiences. 

"Beeple is an example of that as someone who makes amazing stuff. Will there be speculation in the short term? Yes. Will there be innovation in the long term? Yes," he said, adding:

"But in the end, just like with any market, there is a period of price discovery and that's what we're going through right now. The difference between this and what happened with the ICO boom in 2017: back then, people were buying ideas that could barely be delivered upon. Now people are buying things that give them emotions."

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

Frank Chaparro is the Editor At Large at The Block. Chaparro started his career at Business Insider, where he specialized in the intersection of digital assets and Wall Street, market structure, and financial technology. Soon after joining Business Insider out of Fordham University, Chaparro was interviewing top finance and tech executives, including billionaire Mark Cuban, “Flash Boys” star Brad Katsuyama, Cboe Global Markets CEO Ed Tilly, and New York Stock Exchange President Tom Farley. In 2018, he become a sought after reporter in the crypto world, interviewing luminaries such as Tyler Winklevoss, the cofounder of Gemini, Jeremy Allaire, the CEO of Circle, and Fundstrat head Tom Lee. He runs his own podcast The Scoop and writes a biweekly eponymous newsletter. He leads special projects, including The Block's flagship podcast, The Scoop. Prior to The Block, he held roles at Business Insider, NPR, and Nasdaq. For inquiries or tips, email [email protected].