Are you looking to discover new Web3 musicians, take part in royalty shares, curated drops, multichain platforms, or something else? There's probably a music platform out there for you. We checked out quite a few of them and are here to give you the rundown.
The list today is pretty Ethereum heavy, which is a sort of commentary on the state of Web3 music - most projects seem to be based on ETH platforms, but there are options out there for every chain.
Let's explore. 🔎
Ape Drops is a sleek looking platform that launched alongside ApeCoin. It offers music NFT purchases on a limited time basis. They had a few high profile drops from Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa, among others. With Ape Drops, when the NFTs are first released, they are only purchasable with Ape Coin at first. Music tracks sold as NFTs on Ape Drops are tradeable on OpenSea and LooksRare though, so you can collect without exchanging for Ape Coin (using Wrapped ETH, for example).
It has been largely dormant since April. It's unclear if the project is still alive, but it is a noteworthy experiment.
Royal is more of a crowdfunding platform for established artists rather than a Web3 music service. The way it works is that each NFT that you can purchase on Royal entitles you to a certain percentage of a song's streaming royalties (think Spotify, Apple Music, etc) that you can claim. Every NFT comes in a few different tiers that offers different features. Here's an example below.
So you're not actually purchasing any music with Royal NFTs, you're only purchasing a fraction of the streaming royalties associated with the song. The selections of music that are available on Royal are all from pretty high profile artists as opposed discovering new or unknown Web3 creators. The aim of the platform is different from the rest of the list in this article.
Audius is part social network, part music platform. It doesn't actually offer any marketplace features, so there's no music for sale here. Everything is freely streamable, and users of Audius are incentivized by receiving the platform's token, $AUDIO for performing certain actions within their app like: filling out your profile, daily streaks, and song uploads, but there's not direct monetizing of the music outside of tipping creators directly with $AUDIO.
They have premium features for holders of their token. At the time of writing this, the $AUDIO token was trading at about 17 cents, so the Bronze tier will cost about $1.70, Silver at $17, Gold at $1,700, and the Platinum tier will require about $17,000(!) worth of $AUDIO.
According to this blog post, only the top 5 songs, playlists, and API integrations (services that use Audius) get rewarded with $AUDIO tokens. At the heart of it, Audius is a streaming service that rewards people who put their music on the platform and engage with it. Having success with the platform feels largely hinged upon how much you believe in their token.
Zora operates like a standard marketplace - you can mint, buy, and sell all of your NFTs (not just music) here, and everything published on the platform is usable on OpenSea and LooksRare, so it's easily tradeable with the rest of the ecosystem. It's also completely open, so there's no application process to be a creator here. Most tokens sold on the platform are understood to be digital copies that the holder owns, but there's no streaming revenue or decentralized finance aspects to consider here.
They've built a pretty deep set of tools around their ecosystem for more technically minded creators - creating collections, embedding and displaying NFTs, DAO creation, and API integrations. They support artist royalties, and the platform takes a 5% cut from sales.
Sound is a curated platform music platform that offers individual songs as NFT sales. The platform is structured so that each track published to the platform receives a specific time that it goes live, and there's a constant countdown to the next release on the front page, it's like a built in hype machine. There are several releases every day at different times, all easily viewable from the homepage. NFTs purchased on Sound are also tradeable on OpenSea, and the music is streamable without having to purchase anything.
It's also got an embedded music player with a queue (great platforms think alike) that makes listening to the music an enjoyable experience, and all the music with it's cover art is presented in a nice way.
The last thing to take note of with Sound is that they offer a few different options when artists are listing their work for sale. They've got presales and public sales that you can offer at different prices, in addition to being able to list a certain amount of them for free, which isn't as easily done on most platforms.
Catalog is another curated Ethereum music platform that you can apply to as a creator, but it operates like a standard NFT marketplace. You can purchase and mint individual songs as NFTs and they're tradeable on Zora, OpenSea, and LooksRare. Items minted on the Catalog platform are all put into a general Catalog collection as opposed to having individual collections per release, or per artist.
They have a nice looking UI and the experience of browsing the platform is smooth, but unfortunately their music player doesn't work across every page so you're stuck listening to the song for the page you're on, and there's no playlist features either. You'll find a nice selection of Web3 creators but it's pretty barebones in terms of features.
OpenSea aggregates everything on Ethereum so items from Zora and other marketplaces will be available here. OpenSea remains the marketplace with the most liquidity, therefore they're the most likely to lead to secondary sales. There is a 2.5% fee on sales.
Discovering new content using their Music category does come with the caveat that it might not be actual music, it's not always clear when browsing their music collections. If you're only interested in discovering music, it might take more effort than expected to filter through everything. There's also no integrated music player on OpenSea or queue functions, so you can only play music on the individual NFT page and it stops when navigating away.
LooksRare is a marketplace that is almost identical to OpenSea, so it's got minting, buying, and listing things for sale. Listening to music on LooksRare is a challenge, none of the songs I tried on LooksRare gave me the option of playing them (they were able to be listened to on OpenSea and DNS). Even video NFTs played without sound, but it requires deeper investigation before making a definitive statement. Their support for music NFTs appears to be limited to buying and selling, not listening. They do have liquidity, so it might be a good place for secondary sales.
We would be remiss if we didn't mention our very own platform! DNS is focused on making discovery and consumption of Web3 content an enjoyable experience regardless of the blockchain you use. Our built in music player features a queue and playlist functions, so you can create cross-chain music and art playlists, in addition to traditional social features like following artists and liking NFTs. The homepage also gets rotated with new content every day that is curated by hand.
There's no buying or selling of NFTs on DNS currently, it's purely for exploring Web3 content at the moment. It aggregates all Tezos, Ethereum, and Polygon NFTs and lets users combine wallets so everything fits on one profile, but the platform does skew pretty heavily towards Tezos. DNS also released a batch minting tool for Tezos users and plans are underway for deeper marketplace integrations.
Radion is a Tezos marketplace focused on music. You can pay with regular tez, or you can use their $RADIO token (we couldn't find documentation on how the token works). They support NFTs minted on the Hic et Nunc contract as well as collections from OBJKT.com, in addition to natively minting onto the Radion platform. The music player is minimalistic, there's no support for playlists, queues, and stops playing when you navigate away from the current page.
The homepage promotes the latest releases. You can browse the handful of creators on the platform, purchase and view releases from them, but it's not immediately obvious how to do that. I had to click Download, and then when the transaction confirmation came up in my wallet, only then was I able to see the price for the NFT.
Launched in May 2021, Hen Radio was one of the first music NFT services. Hen Radio is all about listening to music minted on Tezos using the Hic et Nunc minter (now Teia). There's no curation or direct purchasing involved, and the homepage is simply a stream of all the music NFTs minted on that contract. It will only show items minted on Teia, but not on OBJKT or DNS. It only works with NFTs minted as MP3s, and it won't play music minted inside video files.
Since the shutdown of Hic et Nunc last year, Hen Radio has seen decreased activity but it remains a lovely way to discover music NFTs on the original Tezos contract. It's been around for a long time and serves as a cool piece of history on the chain.
Nina Protocol is a Solana based platform that aspires to be open and decentralized, very much in the spirit of Web3. All songs published with Nina can be streamed by anyone freely, but they're also purchasable as NFTs and you'll own a digital edition of the song (no rights or royalty shares, it's just like buying a single). Notably, the Nina Protocol doesn't take any fees, so artists get 100% of their sales, and it's open to all creators.
There's an integrated music player with Nina Protocol so you can browse and explore while listening. Tracks on Nina Protocol is priced in USDC, but you pay with Solana and it gets automatically exchanged for USDC on their backend. There's no strange DeFi mechanics going on with this though, it's just for ease of pricing.
The other key feature of Nina Protocol is called Hubs, which are communities that allow you to publish your releases for sale, share other people's music, post blog content, and collect fees via a referral system.
Releap is another Solana based option for music NFTs. It's got standard marketplace offerings that allow you to mint and sell your music NFTs, like Nina Protocol. It's open for everyone to mint and doesn't appear to be heavily curated.
The platform itself is smooth but they don't offer much in terms of discoverability - you're limited to top selling and most recent filtering. They do offer a built in music player but there is no queue or playlist functionality.
The status of Web3 music platforms still feels quite early. There's still a lot of experimentation going on and it doesn't feel like anyone has settled onto a definitive go-to, or #1 music platform.
what's a music nft, on opensea it's anything related to music, sometimes crowdfunding, sometimes it's buying a track,
But we think there's a lot of interesting things to learn from these other platforms, so let us know in our Discord if there's anyone you think should be added to the discussion! What are your thoughts on the music NFT space?