illmind future of crypto music NFTs

Grammy-winning hip-hop producer !llmind has spent the last decade exploring the intersection between music, business and technology. Now more than ever, with the rise of NFTs and cryptocurrency, there are myriad ways for industrious artists like him to make money. But the Brooklyn-based beatmaker and entrepreneur sticks to a strict code of ethics.

“When you sell a product, whether digital or physical, the question is what problem are you trying to solve? !llmind said Genius. “Who are you communicating this to? And will this particular thing be responsible for making the world a better place? »

This all might sound unusual coming from someone in the music industry, who isn’t exactly known for being selfless, but !llmind is following suit. In 2011, after making a name for himself creating tracks for artists like 50 Cent and Scarface, man born Ramon Ibanga, Jr., released his first digital drum kit Blap-Kits, a collection of percussive sounds that he had created over the years. It used to be that budding producers had to rummage through piles of dusty vinyl records to find snares and cymbals to sample. With Blap-Kits, !llmind wanted to change all that. He wasn’t sure it would sell, but he knew that he would have benefited from such a thing in its early days.

On a whim, !llmind launched Blap-Kits on his blog for $20, and when he woke up the next morning he found he had won $2,000. A second volume sold double, and over the years !llmind has made Blap-Kits a very lucrative business. In 2021, revenue exceeded $1 million.

From there, says !llmind, it was a “natural progression” into the world of NFTs, his primary focus these days. For the uninitiated, an NFT, or non-fungible token, is a unit of data used to authenticate and prove ownership of something, whether it’s a jpeg, a pop song, or even a a house. This is done through the blockchain, an encrypted ledger that cannot be changed. “It’s really intuitive, reliable and complex information storage,” says !llmind. “That’s how I see it.”

Last year, !llmind released the world’s first ever NFT sample pack. For the price of 4.5 Ethereum (nearly $12,000, as of March 2022), the buyer got access to 10 exclusive melodic loops which, according to the “smart contract” embedded in the NFT, can be manipulated and monetized in different ways. manners. For example, the NFT owner can use the loops to create new songs which can then be licensed for film or television. According to !llmind, such arrangements could make it easier for artists to collaborate, create songs based on samples, and get paid for their work.

“The big problem that NFT is going to solve in music is that we no longer need to use outdated paper contracts and trade the same way we trade now,” says !llmind. “You hear stories of producing a song, or being involved in a song, and then signing a 100-page deal. Which sounds ridiculous, but it’s happening. Imagine a way to streamline all this in one [system] where all parties agree on a smart contract. It’s unbreakable. He is there constantly. And whenever there is a fee or payment due to you, it is automatically transferred through cryptocurrency. I think it’s extremely powerful.

The smart contracts included with NFTs can vary widely, which also creates opportunities for artists to create unique experiences for their fans. If, for example, you buy an NFT associated with a song by your favorite rapper or rock band, you might end up owning a piece of the edition or you might just get a rare collectible whose authenticity is verified by the blockchain.

“They are just as legitimate,” !llmind says of these two types of NFT contracts. “The collectible music stuff is great too. It’s like owning a Michael Jordan rookie card. It’s a piece of cardboard, and I don’t own the rights to use anything related to Michael Jordan, but I have this physical card, and there’s someone out there willing to pay a premium for it. this because it is rare and because it is an original.”

Always the innovator, !llmind is set to launch Squad of Knights, a collection of 8,888 NFTs that will bring token holders, all musicians, into the Metaverse and recording studios. “Essentially what I do is encourage and gamify the experience of musicians coming together to make music together, get to know each other, and build lasting relationships,” he says. “And I reward them for doing it.”

!llmind cannot predict the future of NFTs, crypto and music. He knows some fans remain skeptical of the technology, and he’s the first to admit that scammers and bad actors are giving it all a bad name. But he sincerely believes that NFTs and cryptocurrency offer hope to artists who have long been treated unfairly by the centralized powers of the music industry.

“What I want the future to look like is for artists, songwriters, rappers, singers, music producers, engineers, and creators to get paid properly for what they put out, retain ownership of what they post and maintain creative control and the freedom to roam and do whatever they want with their art and with their music,” says !llmind. “Those are the three pillars of what a creative artist in music is waiting to do.”

Alice P. Darby