Perceived as a means of maintaining control over one’s works, NFTs make it possible to transfer specific rights, thus becoming an alternative source of funding for student investments.
Against the overly consensual and commercial choices from the big record companies, become a producer yourself! Thus, My Major Company was born in 2007, and promised Internet users that they would choose, in exchange for producer shares, the artists who would be signed by this new label. In the end, Internet users funded the recording, and it was indeed a major, Warner Music, that secured the marketing of the albums. For labels, independence stops at the boundaries of distribution chains.
NFTs have raised the same effort on the side of independent producers of films and animated series. NFTs – non-fungible token – are digital assets whose ownership is certified in blockchain and which have the special feature of being unique – they are therefore not fungible as bitcoins are, as one coin is worth another (see Rem Nos. 57-58, p. 75). They are also unidentified or poorly identified legal objects, but each time they certify a property right. What is rarely expensive, prices rose in 2021 for certain virtual objects sold in the form of NFT, such as the work Weekdays: The first 5000 days by American artist Beeple. In March 2021, Christie’s included it in its NFT disposal program and opened the auction for $ 100. It eventually sold for $ 69.3 million. Art loves just like fashion surplus. So there will be NFTs to dress your avatar, your character, in a completely unique and expensive way, finally these worthy representatives of ourselves in the virtual worlds, whether it be video games, metavers or more prosaically our presence on digital social network.
In cinema, NFTs are also seen as a new source of revenue. Quentin Tarantino set out to sell as NFTs script pages and outtakes from pulp fiction. Apart from the fact that the intellectual property exists outside the blockchain, and the producer of the film – Miramax studios, which is currently controlled by beIN Media Group and ViacomCBS – believed that the contract signed with Quentin Tarantino forbade him to market these elements of the film, which led to a lawsuit, in November 2021, in a California court.
Sometimes NFTs are not only used to generate additional income, but they can also be the source of funding for the work. In this case, grades are put up for sale, profit sharing on the work, access to a fan club or viewing of the work itself … and the fans are there. Both producers and artists, for their part, can fully control their rights as they decide what they want to sell. The emblematic example is the series Stoner cats, whose financing in the form of NFTs was launched in July 2021: 10,000 NFTs were offered for sale for 0.35 Ether (the currency associated with the Ethereum blockchain), or approximately $ 800, which was sold in thirty-five minutes. The transmitted NFTs are here a right of access to the produced episodes. The enthusiasm was general because the stars were there to lend their voices to the different ones cats : Mila Kunis, at the beginning of the project, but also Ashton Kutcher. In a podcast, Mila Kunis explained the reasons for the use of NFTs to provide access to this series, reasons that testify to the artists’ desire to acquire the share of rights that have so far been controlled by the studies: “I produce content for television, and I had to make an animated series for a channel. There is so much content and I have so little control once it is sold that I would return the ownership of the content to the artist. I want a transparent system. So I thought I would do it in NFT. »
But, just like My Major Company was supposed to create summen to make the produced artists viable and thus attract the “stars” from star academy, it is very likely that NFTs’ funding of films and series, if it can promote independent production, will continue to be subject to marketing logic. The bet in this area is whether the promotion of works can do without the big companies, giant SVOD services and rely solely on online initiatives that will promote a greater diversity of works and investments. In the end, it is to repeat the effort with the long tail, as in music.
- “Mila Kunis creates Stoner catsan animated series available in NFT ”, 20minutes.fr, July 27, 2021.
- “Miramax and Quentin Tarantino collide on NFTs from pulp fiction », Nicolas Rauline, The echoesNovember 18, 2021.
- “NFTs Remove New Way of Financing Cinema and Series”, Nicolas Madelaine, The echoesDecember 30, 2021.