NFTs had a wild 2022. January began with euphoric highs and a record $4.8 billion traded on OpenSea. By contrast, December ended the year with a hangover — volumes down by 95% with just $283 million traded in the month.
Still, the crypto winter hasn’t deterred musicians from embracing Web3. December saw an uptick in music NFT activity thanks to legacy artists Armin van Buuren and Styles P, as well as high-profile drops from crypto-native musicians like 3LAU and Daniel Allan. The first “billion club” NFT was released, unlocking streaming royalties in a track with more than a billion Spotify plays. Meanwhile, the independent scene continued to flourish with a seventh-straight month of rising volume on Sound.xyz – the largest platform for independent musicians.
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Across the 10 biggest music NFT projects tracked by Billboard in December, sales volume was up 28% in ETH terms (751 ETH) and 23% in dollar terms ($949,781) from November. Based on analysis of sales data from 19 different NFT platforms, independent releases combined with secondary sales volume on OpenSea, here are the 10 biggest-selling music NFTs and collections in December 2022.
1/ Styles P – “The Farmacy Fantoms” Monthly trading volume: 205 ETH ($249,280 at month-end conversion rate) Primary sales: 170 ETH Secondary sales: 35 ETH Drop date: Nov. 28
The Farmacy Fantoms is a music NFT project by rapper Styles P. The collection of 6,666 animated ghost characters come with different visual traits and one of ten different tracks. In the future, holders will also get access to events and discounts on Styles P brand products.
2/ Armin van Buuren – “Armin’s All-Access (AAA)” Monthly trading volume: $210,120 Primary sales: $189,448 Secondary sales: 17 ETH ($20,672) Drop date: Dec. 13
Superstar DJ Armin van Buuren launched an all-access pass in December, granting NFT holders entry into a Web3 fan club community. The NFT unlocks an exclusive section of the DJ’s Discord server, as well as access to unreleased tracks, studio livestreams and exclusive events. Each NFT comes with music by the Dutch producer and 10 variations of digital artwork by Rik Oostenbroek. The duo sold 952 passes in December, at $199 each.
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3/ Reo Cragun x Daniel Allan – “Criteria EP” Monthly trading volume: 138.67 ETH ($168,622) Primary sales: 94.247 ETH Secondary sales: 44.324 ETH Drop date: Dec. 15
Two of the biggest names in the independent music NFT scene teamed up to end the year with a bang. Criteria is an 8-track EP fusing electronic production from Allan and hip hop vocals from Cragun – who previously collaborated on Flume’s “Quits” EP. In December, the duo released 2,500 NFTs with a unique rarity structure. The rarest track, “Criteria,” has just 25 editions making it significantly more valuable than the most common track, “Supercharged” with 1,000 editions. “Supercharged” has a floor price of 0.056 ETH ($68) on secondary markets while the rare “Criteria” has a floor price of 3 ETH ($3,648).
Criteria was the largest ever drop on music NFT platform Sound.xyz, and despite the broader bear market in crypto, the drop sold out in approximately an hour. The collection was heavily supported by the leading music NFTs collectors, or “whales,” — many purchased more than 100 each.
4/ Violetta Zironi – “Moonshot” / “Gypsy Heart” Monthly trading volume: 59 ETH ($71,744) Primary sales: 40 ETH Secondary sales: 19 ETH Drop date: April 2022
Violetta Zironi is establishing herself as one of the most consistent independent artists in the space, appearing in this top 10 for four of the last seven months. Her debut “Moonshot” collection — featuring artwork from her father, Disney animator Giuseppe Zironi — continues to generate strong sales on OpenSea with 19.24 ETH traded in December.
Her new collection Gypsy Heart is now being rolled out to existing fans and holders through an early access mint pass. Zironi sold 500 mint passes in December (out of a total 5,000), generating 40 ETH. The project will go live to the public in January.
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5/ 3LAU – “Too Late for Love” Monthly trading volume: $58,839 (48.3 ETH) Primary sales: $58,839 Secondary sales: N/A Drop date: Dec. 14
Electronic producer and DJ 3LAU set records back in 2021 with an $11.6 million NFT sale. Since then, he launched the Web3 music platform Royal, allowing fans to own a percentage of streaming royalties in tracks by The Chainsmokers, Diplo and others.
In December, 3LAU released his first single of the year, and his first NFT drop since 2021, “Too Late for Love.” Released via his platform Royal, the producer sold 330 gold tokens, each representing 0.1165% of streaming royalties in the track, and three diamond tokens, each granting 3.8488% of streaming royalties as well as backstage access to 3LAU events for life.
6/ Offset and Metro Boomin – “Rick Flare Drip” Monthly trading volume: 42 ETH ($51,072) Primary sales: 39 ETH Secondary sales: 3 ETH Drop date: Dec. 1
The first ever NFT from Spotify’s “Billions Club.” “Rick Flare Drip” has more than 1 billion streams on Spotify, and now fans can own a small piece of the future streaming revenue. The royalties were unlocked through a partnership with Bijan Amir — one of the producers on the track. “This is my first foray into Web3 and crypto,” said Amir. “I wanted to do something meaningful when I did. I love the idea of fans getting a share of my rights, instead of me selling a share of my masters to some investor.” The NFTs were sold via Anotherblock, a Web3 platform that sells streaming royalties in some of the world’s biggest tracks.
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7/ KINGSHIP – “Key Cards” Monthly trading volume: 25 ETH ($30,400) Primary sales (in Dec): N/A Secondary sales: 25 ETH Drop date: May 2022
The Bored Ape supergroup secured its seventh-straight month in this top 10 thanks to consistent sales on secondary markets like OpenSea. In December, the group began teasing video footage from the studio where producers Hit-Boy and James Fauntleroy are currently working on the band’s music.
8/ Rae Isla – “Rocks” Monthly trading volume: 23 ETH ($24,320) Primary sales (in Dec): 20 ETH Secondary sales: 3 ETH Drop date: Nov. 28
Independent singer-songwriter Rae Isla was featured in November after selling the first 600 NFTs from her “Rocks” project — a collection of 1,000 NFTs made up of four tracks, each with different rarities and artwork released through Nifty Music — a music NFT accelerator. Isla returned to the top ten in December after selling the remaining 400 and capturing a further 3 ETH in secondary sales on OpenSea.
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9/ WVRPS by Warpsound Monthly trading volume: 20 ETH ($24,320) Primary sales (in Dec): N/A Secondary sales: 20 ETH Drop date: January 2022
WVRPSound is the biggest music NFT project ever in terms of trading volume. Since launching in January last year, the collection of AI-generated music and animated characters have earned more than 6,000 ETH in volume (approximately $7.3 million). In December, the project gave away an album of AI music to holders which triggered a fresh wave of trading activity.
WVRPSound also announced a tool for artists to create multitrack NFT albums. Now, an entire album can be minted as an NFT with interactive buttons to skip tracks. It sounds simple, but this hasn’t been done before at scale. Until now the only other example was an early experiment by an indie band called Talk Time. WRVPSound made the technology open source for anyone to use.
10/ Sammy Arriaga – “Pixelated” Monthly trading volume: 17 ETH ($20,672) Primary sales (in Dec): N/A Secondary sales: 17 ETH Drop date: June 2022
Bringing country to crypto, Sammy Arriaga is a singer-songwriter that launched an NFT project called “Pixelated” back in June. Based around 12 different versions of one song, Pixelated is a collection of 4,000 NFTs, each with a unique pixelated profile picture which Arriaga’s fans use across their social media accounts. The Pixelated project has enjoyed steady volume on secondary markets like OpenSea since the launch, but volume picked up in November and December.
Methodology: The chart was compiled using data from primary music NFT sales across 19 different NFT platforms, independent releases and combined with secondary volume data from OpenSea. Data was captured between Dec. 1 – Dec. 31, 2022. Conversion rates from crypto to US dollars were calculated on Dec. 31.
Disclosure: The author owns music NFTs from Reo Cragun and Daniel Allan, however, the above list is based purely on sales data.
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