The Future of Live Music = NFT Tickets

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Concert and festival goers have largely abandoned ink and paper in favor of saving their event tickets on their phones for the past ten years. A new wave of post-pandemic performances has begun to shake up the live-event ecosystem via, you guessed it, NFTs as ticketing has moved from paper to PDF and the age of digital credentials.

Although it can occasionally seem like avatar NFTs and digital art are the only applications for NFTs that have a long lifespan, this is simply untrue. The fact is that there are a lot more applications for NFTs than there are right now. Nonfungible ticketing is a past use case for NFT that is frequently forgotten.

Tokenized concert and festival passes, which were first introduced years before Bored Apes sent the creative community into a frenzy, have remained an intriguing but underdeveloped aspect of the NFT market. NFT ticketing has reemerged as a promising contender in the race for real-world NFT utility, however, as the strange, wide world of nonfungibles continues to expand, giving rise to a wide variety of advancements and innovation.

What is the current state of the NFT ticket market, and what steps must be taken before this emerging technology is widely used? Explore now.

NFT ticketing – what is it?

NFT ticketing is exactly what it sounds like: access passes for any live (or even virtual) event in the form of NFT tickets that live on a blockchain. What distinguishes this from electronic tickets? NFT tickets differ significantly from their barcode or QR code-based counterparts due to the blockchain component.

Both ticket issuers and recipients can gain from NFT tickets in a number of ways. By using the blockchain as a ledger, issuers can keep a more thorough record of attendance figures while also interacting with ticket holders in a novel and creative way through NFTs.

By gathering information about the owners of a particular NFT ticket, Issuers can easily send out notifications, hold unexpected giveaways, develop token-gated websites and services, and more.

The same is true for NFT ticket holders, who get more than just a ticket to an event—they get an immutable, frequently interactive digital asset that allows them entry to performances or festivals. Additionally, owners of these tickets have access to restricted events like fan clubs made up only of NFT ticket holders.

Think of PFP NFTs as being similar to NFT tickets. PFPs come in a variety of rarities, serve as member passes to a number of communities, signal the special status of an NFT collector, and they can appreciate in value over time. However, PFPs are specifically targeted at cryptocurrency and NFT enthusiasts and frequently come with the disclaimer that they are associated with monetary gain or loss and price speculation.

On the other hand, NFT tickets are a fresh addition to an already extensive network of concerts, festivals, conferences, and other live events. Imagine purchasing tickets to a metaverse of live events where deals abound. For instance, a PFP-like benefit for holders could be added to the experience already present with a performer, music festival, nightclub, etc.

NFT ticketing is utilized by who?

In 2021 and 2022, blockchain-powered events rose to prominence, but NFT ticketing has been around for much longer. And if we examine the history of NFT, the desire to develop tokenized experiences has persisted even in situations where the technology and knowledge haven’t matured.

With his one-day concert, Our Music Festival, superstar producer/DJ and blockchain music pioneer 3LAU set out to help lay the foundation for blockchain-powered events. NFT ticketing for attendees was not implemented by the festival, though doing so would not have been easy given the lack of awareness of NFTs and software wallets at the time.

In order to allow festival attendees to accumulate tokens that could be used for real-world purchases while at the event, 3LAU and company created a tokenized experience.

There is no doubt that the DJ would have used token-gating for his debut festival if NFT ticketing had been an option for 3LAU in 2018. As NFT technology evolved over the years, 3LAU focused on other initiatives to help democratize the music industry, but other musicians and festivals also embraced NFT ticketing.

Startups

NFT ticketing initially started with startups. NFTs weren’t as well-known in 2020 as they unavoidably became by the end of the following year. However, researchers were already looking into possible applications of the novel technology in the music industry.

Two main value propositions for NFTs were presented early on. The first was that they might be able to link tickets to a more reliable and verifiable form of identity, which would essentially cut down on bot and scalping activity. Second, NFTs could establish a direct channel for event attendees to continue marketing to the community after the event (as mentioned in the previous section).

Startups like GUTS Tickets started developing NFT technology to prevent scalping by connecting a ticket to a person’s wallet or identity and giving artists a share of secondary market profits. Blockchain ticketing initiatives appeared to become regional initiatives from festivals and artists starting in 2020 because companies like GUTS are still a long way from becoming widely adopted.

Festivals

The most notable of these more regional initiatives may be Coachella. With Coachella Collectible NFTs, AEG Worldwide introduced a fresh use case for NFTs as lifetime passes and memorabilia.

Even though the Coachella collection received mixed reviews, it provided a platform for other projects to take off, such as Las Vegas’ Afterparty and the Swedish music festival Way Out West.

Soin Holdings Inc. entered an endeavor similar to Coachella with Afterparty. Soin offered 1,500 NFT collectibles that served as access passes for the two-day Afterparty festival that took place in March 2022 in an effort to disrupt the traditional music festival model.

With the support of the crowdsourcing website Corite, Way Out West launched a smaller-scale campaign. Way Out auctioned off three-lifetime tickets in the form of NFTs, drawing comparisons to Coachella as well. Additionally, Corite gave attendees the option to mint their festival memories and mementos as NFTs, but these had no mechanism for a festival pass.

Artists

Independent musicians and artists are also figuring out how to incorporate NFT ticketing into their tours and performances, in addition to massive initiatives. With many musicians launching NFT and blockchain projects to increase their fan bases during COVID, NFTs are quickly emerging as a significant sector of the music industry. NFT tickets increasingly appear to be an essential component of the expanding music NFT ecosystem.

With the release of his Cotton Candy NFTs as part of a separate crowdfunding campaign, pop artist Pip recently made a splash. The collection was essentially designed to serve as a set of NFT backstage passes and included NFTs that were offered in three different tiers.

After purchasing a Cotton Candy NFT, owners gained access to a platform for members only, with benefits including free admission to all of Pip’s headlining concerts for life. Although this kind of system is similar to those used at large festivals, it is much more intimate and small-scale. Due to the frequency and popularity of these drops, other musicians, including The Cool Kids, Steve Aoki, and others, have started to grant NFT owners free admission to their concerts.

When will NFT ticketing start to gain traction?

Although NFT tickets have not yet crossed the “mainstream” NFT ecosystem, innovative projects at the nexus of live events and NFTs already exist. One such service is the Proof of Attendance Protocol (POAP, pronounced “poh-ap”), a blockchain-based protocol that generates digital collectibles or badges.

Since they have been around for a while, POAPs have given event organizers a way to thank attendees of festivals, summits, conferences, and other events. As the NFT ecosystem exploded in 2021, POAPs—most commonly linked to blockchain-powered events like Devcon and other various Ethereum and Bitcoin events—got a new lease on life.

POAPs quickly evolved into a way to thank participants in events, Twitter Spaces, NFT drops, Discord events, and many other things. Additionally, these POAPs began to serve as status symbols, encouraging their owners to trade them on OpenSea in order to possibly receive benefits in the future.

Gmoney’s Admit One collection has emerged as one of the most well-known examples of how artists and developers use POAPs to whitelist holders for upcoming drops. It’s even becoming a backward-compatible requirement for attendees of previous events to purchase NFT tickets for upcoming ones as PAOPs become more useful.

What will it take for NFT tickets to become the standard? has been brought up as this niche area of the NFT market grows. Why is the market for NFT tickets still so underdeveloped if the demand for proof of attendance badges is booming? It mainly boils down to usability.

The idea of NFTs has undoubtedly started to gain traction in the music industry, whether as collectibles, a form of crowdfunding, or lifetime festival passes, but the vast majority of music fans have not yet joined the NFT movement. In other words, the majority of theatergoers still don’t own an NFT wallet, which eliminates NFT tickets from consideration for many event planners.

Of course, there are some digitally native communities that are more aware of and accepting of NFT ticketing, such as the ones that surround 3LAU, Steve Aoki, BT, and others. NFT ticketing, however, may not offer enough benefits over downloading a traditional PDF ticket via mobile devices to some people (especially general music lovers).

But make no mistake, the distinction between music lovers and NFT enthusiasts will continue to fade as more people become active in the NFT space. As a result, both consumers and artists need to do their homework to understand how NFTs, from album drops to multi-day festival passes, can disrupt the music industry.

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