February was a big month for music and NFTs. Spotify plugged into Web3 with a token-gated playlist experiment, while Def Jam Records signed a virtual band. Snoop Dogg returned with a fresh NFT drop and Rihanna fans got the chance to own streaming royalties in “Bitch Better Have My Money,” right in time for her Super Bowl halftime show — although the NFT drop was not without controversy.
Overall, crypto prices crept higher in February, with Ethereum now up 46% from the start of the year. 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 February 2023.
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1/ Rihanna – “Bitch Better Have My Money” Monthly trading volume: $532,452 Primary sales (Feb.): $63,000 Secondary volume: 284 ETH ($469,452) Drop date: Feb. 9
While Rihanna was making history at the Super Bowl, her music was making headlines in the NFT space. A portion of streaming royalties in her track, “Bitch Better Have My Money”, were sold via NFTs on Web3 platform Anotherblock, netting $63,000 in sales and a further $469,452 in secondary trading volume. The hype was amplified as Rihanna opened her Feb. 12 halftime set with the track, sending global streaming figures 594% higher in the week ending Feb. 16.
The NFT drop was controversial, though. It was not officially endorsed by Rihanna; instead, the royalties were unlocked through producer DEPUTY’s share in the track, and it’s unknown whether Rihanna was aware of it. The NFTs also quadrupled in value on the secondary market, shooting far beyond logical expectations for return based on the streaming calculations.
The collection was later halted on OpenSea for “promising fractional ownership and future profit based on that ownership” — something OpenSea doesn’t allow — proving that NFT projects positioning themselves purely as investments are still at risk of regulatory scrutiny.
2/ Violetta Zironi – “Another Life” Monthly trading volume: 167 ETH ($276,552) Primary sales (Feb): ~110 ETH ($182,160) Secondary volume: 57 ETH ($94,392) Drop date: Feb. 17
After a successful genesis drop last year, singer-songwriter Violetta Zironi returned in February with a new collection, Another Life — an EP encompassing five tracks and 5,500 unique profile picture illustrations. Holders get access to virtual shows, live concerts and the ability to use the songs for their own projects. To celebrate the drop, Zironi hosted a 14-hour Twitter Spaces marathon with her community.
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3/ Kids of the Apocalypse Monthly trading volume: 10748 SOL ($243,979) Primary sales (Feb): 6,666 SOL ($151,318) Secondary volume: 4082 SOL ($92,661) Drop date: Feb.. 9
Several years in the making, Kids of the Apocalypse (KOTA) is an ambitious, immersive music NFT project built on the Solana blockchain. It features graphic novel characters, dystopian storylines and a dark-pop soundtrack from veteran Swedish producer Stefan Storm, previously of pop duo Sound of Arrows. KOTA is now the biggest music NFT project on Solana, a blockchain that offers faster speeds and cheaper transaction fees than Ethereum.
4/ MyFi Studio – “Wind Tunnels” + “Circles Are Bad” Monthly trading volume: 94.48 ETH ($156,458) Primary sales (Feb): 70.33 ETH ($116,466) Secondary volume: 24.15 ETH ($39,992) Drop dates: January 2023 (“Wind Tunnels”) and February 2023 (“Circles Are Bad”)
“Wind Tunnels” and “Circles are Bad” are innovative NFT instruments that you can play and interact with in real-time. They are fully coded onto the Ethereum blockchain itself, which is a significant departure from most music NFTs, in which music is typically stored on an external server while the NFT simply contains a link to the music. “Wind Tunnels” and the follow-up drum machine project “Circles are Bad,” however, are fully coded onchain.
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5/ Shilly: The Access Pass Monthly trading volume: 82 ETH ($135,792) Primary sales (Feb.): N/A Secondary volume: 82 ETH ($135,792) Drop date: Jan. 31
Shilly — a Bored Ape that makes chaotic pop-punk records — dropped a series of access passes in January, letting the community get involved in music releases. The most exclusive pass, the Band Pass, gives fans the opportunity to work on music with Shilly and even feature on tracks. The project was incubated by Universal Music’s NFT imprint Probably a Label.
6/ KINGSHIP Monthly trading volume: 76 ETH ($125,856) Primary sales (Feb): N/A Secondary volume: 76 ETH ($125,856) Drop date: July 11, 2022
The Bored Ape supergroup was part of a new pilot experiment with Spotify in February, through which KINGSHIP Key Card holders can now access an exclusive ‘token-gated’ playlist on the streaming platform. The news triggered a fresh wave of buying activity in the KINGSHIP collection, which captured 76 ETH in volume last month. Spotify has partnered with a total of four projects in the NFT space to test the new feature.
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7/ Snoop Dogg – XYZ Monthly trading volume: 45.2 ETH ($74,851) Primary sales (Feb): 44 ETH ($72,864) Secondary sales: 1.2 ETH ($1,987) Drop date: Feb. 3
Snoop Dogg returned to Web3 to capitalize on one of the biggest current trends in the space: open editions. Rather than a fixed supply of NFTs, with open editions — which are typically sold at a lower price to make them more accessible to collectors — fans can mint as many editions as they want within a set time frame. Web3 music pioneers RAC and 3LAU both dropped open editions this month, but Snoop Doog blew the doors off. The rapper sold more than 10,000 editions in a 3-day period via Sound.xyz. Snoop Dogg’s “XYZ” sold for 0.0042 ETH (about $7) each, totaling more than $70,000.
8/ Sammy Arriaga – “Metagirl (remix) featuring Nessy the Rilla” Monthly trading volume: 30 ETH ($49,680) Primary sales (Feb): 30 ETH ($49,680) Secondary volume: N/A Drop date: Feb. 25
Following in Snoop’s footsteps, independent country artist Sammy Arriaga also launched an open edition on Sound.xyz in February, aiming to beat Snoop Dogg’s 10,000 sales with a series of NFT incentives. The biggest collector will receive a special reward, while the rest will be entered into a lottery to win a valuable NFT. At the time of writing, Arriaga has generated 5,000 sales. One collector purchased more than 1,000 NFTs, briefly becoming Sound.xyz’s biggest all-time collector in terms of NFTs held.
9/ Tycho – “The Science of Patterns” Monthly trading volume: $19,000 Primary sales: $19,000 Secondary volume: N/A Drop date: Feb. 25
Electronic producer Tycho reissued his 20-year-old EP, The Science of Patterns, in February as a digital release for the first time. As a twist, the record is only available as an NFT through Tycho’s Web3 fan club portal. Powered by Web3 tech company Medallion, the multitrack album format is brand new to Web3, allowing fans to stream the entire album within the NFT itself, unlike previous album NFTs which simply unlocked access to music elsewhere.
10/ WVRPSound Monthly trading volume: 11.09 ETH ($18,365) Primary sales (Feb): N/A Secondary volume: 11.09 ETH ($18,365) Drop date: January 17, 2022
WVRPSound is the biggest music NFT project ever in terms of trading volume. Since launching in January 2022, the collection of AI-generated music and animated characters have earned more than 6,000 ETH in volume (approximately $7.3 million). The project recently announced plans to launch playable versions of its characters in The Sandbox metaverse.
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 Feb. 1 – Feb. 28, 2023. Conversion rates from crypto to US dollars were calculated on Feb 28.
Universal Music Group’s revenues surged 21.6% to 10.34 billion euros ($10.96 billion) for all of 2022, boosted by strong returns from recorded music subscriptions and streaming. The world’s biggest music company reported the revenue its recorded music division gets from subscriptions and streaming rose by nearly 19% to over 5.3 billion euros ($5.6 billion), while digital revenues in its music publishing division rose by nearly 50% to over 1 billion […]
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