By Christos Makridis
Creatives ranging from artists to musicians to podcasters have experienced a renaissance over the past decade with the rise of social media and other digital tools. But aside from those going viral, making a living as a creative isn’t easy — until now.
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) allowed creatives to connect directly with their fans, reducing their reliance on middlemen. For the first timecreatives can now sell NFTs on Shopify – one of the largest digital e-commerce platforms – through Onlya blockchain, music and video company from Solana.
NFTs rose to prominence in 2021 with $40 billion in sales and surpassed it with $42 billion in 2022 despite the “crypto winter”. according to analysis by Chainanalysis.
Many creators, ranging from musicians to YouTube influencers, often create merchandise to build community. But managing inventory and sourcing supplies is a full-time job in itself. Since 2006, Shopify has served as a mainstay in the creative economy, allowing them to connect their fans with merchandise without taking on the burden of all the logistics that come with the territory.
“Over 50 million people worldwide are online creators, and over two million of those people use their creativity to earn a full-time living, but there’s still a hugely fragmented ecosystem when you look at the tools available to creatives, artists and musicians to reach fans with their art and make a living at the same time,” said Tommy Stalknecht, Founder and CEO of Single.
Publishing tokengating content and commerce on the Single app allows creators to upload any file to the single platform and create it as an NFT on the Solana blockchain, instantly appearing in their Shopify storefront for buying alongside traditional goods. “It shouldn’t be any harder for anyone to collect digital goods because they’re physical, so we want to make sure people can buy NFTs just as easily, creating instant value for fans,” Stalknecht said.
“Token trading offers creators the ability to engage with their true fans by unlocking unique trading experiences through NFTs. Shopify views NFTs as community building and engagement tools. The launch of Single’s new artist and creator-focused features in their Shopify app helps more merchants unlock new, engaging commerce experiences,” said Chevy Walcott, business development manager at Shopify. “Our investment in Single and our growing blockchain ecosystem demonstrate our commitment to further increasing participation in Web 3.0 and expanding business opportunities for creatives, artists and musicians,” Walcott said.
Web3 natives often refer to NFTs holding “utility” or benefits outside of the intrinsic value of the NFT. But creators have had limited tools to provide utility, making it difficult to take full advantage of the Web3 economy. Single’s announcement is a game-changer. Now, a musician who mints NFT music and sells it to fans not only creates immediate value (i.e. the music), but also additional benefits, for example, benefits on store merchandise.
Other Web3 companies are also leading the way in empowering the creative economy. Audius offers artists the opportunity to earn revenue from their streams. And unlike Spotify and traditional streaming services, artists keep 90% of the revenue they earn and receive rewards from the $AUDIO token.
“The direct engagement and commerce between artists and their fans, and the significant revenue this can bring, is disrupting the music business as we know it today,” said Roneil Rumburg, CEO and Co-Founder. from Audius. “This year, the Audius community is focused on building the tools available to artists on the platform to deliver new types of paid products and experiences directly to their fans,” Rumburg said.
This change means creators will have a direct way to generate revenue, connect with fans through Web3 technology, and increase their own independence.