Many musicians have already joined the NFT (non-fungible token) space, which is growing quickly. On the other hand, the NFT version of Muse’s upcoming album “Will of the People,” which will come out on the same day as the CD, vinyl, and digital download versions, seems to be the first of its kind. In the UK, the NFT release of Muse’s album has even been certified as “chart-compliant.”
How, for example, will sales of “Will of the People” in the NFT format be counted toward the band’s overall chart placements?
In the United States, that is not the case. Since Luminate and Billboard are not as ready as their European counterparts to include NFTs in the mix of sales and streaming that adds up to unit counts, any U.S. sales that may happen will not be counted as part of Muse’s opening number in the U.S.
In a statement to Variety, Luminate said, “Billboard and Luminate do not include NFT sales in our chart calculations at this time. We are watching the growth and changes of this new platform to see how it might eventually fit into our current charts or contribute to new charts where NFT sales activity would be more relevant.”
Earlier, the U.K.’s Official Charts Company, which runs album charts in both the UK and Australia, said that “Will of the People” would be the first NFT-bundled album to count toward a release’s total score. Serenade, which is selling the Muse NFTs, is qualified because it is an album release digital retailer approved by Official Charts.
Whether or not the format is included won’t have much of an effect on Muse’s position on the charts in the US or anywhere else. The US, UK, and other places will all get some of the 1,000 Muse NFTs that are being released around the world.
Rare items like the NFTs for the Muse album usually sell at auction for hundreds or tens of thousands of dollars. However, the prices for these NFTs are surprisingly low. A “Will of the People” NFT can be bought for about £20 (about $24) by anyone who wants one. This is less than the price of a deluxe vinyl version. If a lot of them came out at once, the effect on the charts would be much bigger.
It’s important to know that this model, which costs about $24, doesn’t have some of the other features that come with NFTs that cost more. Max Shand, the founder of Serenade, says that the NFT albums his company plans to release will “offer full-length audio and original artwork, as well as unlocking incentives and a list of first owners that publicly connect fans to the artists and releases they love.” This is like high-end vinyl for the Internet. Compared to other NFT releases, the Muse one doesn’t have as many extras. The package comes with the NFT token and a high-resolution download that has the digital signatures of each band member. The names of everyone who buys something will be kept in an online database forever.
Matt Bellamy, the lead singer of Muse, talked about how excited he was about the idea of albums being released in NFT format, especially for bands that don’t make as much money from tours as Muse does.
“That’s interesting,” said Bellamy. Regarding the release next week, I admit that “it’s not a big deal for us,” but I do support what I think the technology may be. It’s a way to make something really one-of-a-kind by making it impossible to copy online. I think it’s more important, for example, for artists who don’t have any other way to make a living, and especially for digital artists, if people accept and believe in it. It’s still kind of new, but I think this technology could be great for smaller bands.
At the moment, we don’t know if NFT sales in the UK, where the medium is now allowed to be counted, and the US, where it may be counted in the future, will be counted as a single unit when figuring out unit counts and chart data. If NFTs are added to the Billboard 200 formula in the future, one thing that Billboard and Luminate might think about is whether to make any changes if they are sold in large quantities at prices that are much higher than the low price that the Muse NFT is being sold for right now.