Recent NFT buzz helps raise value of music within the K-pop industry

연합뉴스 / 2021-07-19 17:37:01
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▲ This photo provided by JYP Entertainment shows the logo for JYP Entertainment. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


▲ This photo provided by Universal Music shows pop star The Weekend. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)



SEOUL, July 19 (Yonhap) -- As non-fungible tokens (NFT) have recently emerged as a hot topic in the K-pop industry, all eyes are on whether the digital asset will bring a new culture to K-pop.

Recently, there have been a series of attempts to combine NFT and music in the popular music industry.

Singer Se7en released lyrics of his new song "Mona Lisa" in both Korean and English versions as a NFT while band Leenalchi also released its hit song "Tiger Is Coming" in the same format.

A similar trend can be observed in the Korean idol industry. The most prominent move was made by JYP Entertainment as it created a partnership with block chain company Dunamu earlier this month for the K-pop NFT platform business.

JYP is the first Korean music agency to officially enter the NFT business. JYP's largest shareholder and CEO, Park Jin-young, also sold his 2.5% stake to Dunamu.

The movement to phase in NFT within the pop music scene has already begun as well. According to the report revealed by MRC data on the U.S. music market during the first half of 2021, NFT has become a new source of revenue for artists to distribute music and artwork.

Canadian pop singer The Weekend made more than $2.2 million by auctioning music and artwork in the form of NFT.

Matthew Bellamy, the lead vocalist of the rock band Muse, recently released three tracks of his new mini-album (EP), including a song recorded on the guitar by legendary musician Jeff Buckley, as an NFT.

Analysts have commented that the music industry is paying attention to the significance of these non-fungible tokens since the value of music continues to drop due to streaming services. However with NGT, artists are able to create scarcity of their music anew.

As the act of buying CDs to listen to music has come to an end and digital music streaming has begun, music is no longer something people can "have," but rather something people "share."

However, NFT enables a particular person to "own" a source of digital asset. This is because block chain technology can be used to assign unique recognition values that cannot be duplicated to certain digital contents and record ownership information.

In particular, the K-pop idol industry, which has developed a strong fandom, is analyzed to fit well with the characteristics of NFT. With physical CDs selling like hot cakes, K-pop's unique fandom culture has also shown that CDs have become one's "possession" rather than as a means of listening to music.

"K-pop fans have a relatively strong desire to own everything their favorite star has," said Kim Heon-sik, a pop culture critic. "It is also characterized by the fact that K-pop supporters are very strong in mobile culture."

"As K-pop has grown into the mainstream of music worldwide, the size of the fandom has grown tremendously," he said. "The depth and breadth of the accelerating fandom can be further expanded through NFT."

Another characteristic is that there is no theoretical limit to the content that can be made with NFT. Not only music, but also contents related to portrait rights such as photo cards, and various records and traces of stars can be made into assets.

An official from the music industry said about NFT, "It can be a unit that evaluates the value of artists in a highly developed society."

However, there is also a sense of problem that the more infinite the scalability, the more we should guard against excessive monetization. Some point out that it is also necessary to think about issues that can be derived in the future, such as infringement of the star's privacy and issues surrounding portrait rights.

"The direction is important because it is still uncertain how much value buyers will evaluate," a K-pop industry official said. "The most important thing is to commercialize it without hurting existing fan sentiment."

Secretary-General Choi Kwang-ho pointed out, "Even if it is technically possible to be assetized, there may be a problem of how far the psychological resistance line that the public can accept morally." Critic Kim Heon-sik also said, "We need to set a standard point and share it with fans."



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