Reflecting on a transformative year for onchain music.
What started as a niche trend has subtly grown into a strong ecosystem of artists, projects and communities passionate about the next generation of music.
In this report - we’ll break down some highlights from 2023. Giving you an overview on many of the major milestones and accomplishments from the past year.
Please note this list is non-exhaustive. We put out a form for projects to be included in our recap and if we missed you - we hope to feature you next year!
Before we dive in - let’s start with an opening note.
By Cooper Turley.
There was no denying onchain music had entered a bear market.
Whereas 2022 saw the most volume for music-based collections to date - 2023 was no walk in the park.
Starting the year we saw dozens of different formats, collections and platforms all taking a stab at how to attract new collectors and liquidity.
The novelty of collecting music had worn off - forcing teams to get creative about how to build an audience and how to retain collectors.
Artists that used to sell out in the first second were now having to work harder than ever to push their collections - and as a result - adjust their pricing and supply to match.
To set the stage - at the start of 2023, all editions lived on mainnet.
We saw 1/1s going for ~1ETH and your average limited edition going from anywhere between 0.01 ETH - 0.1 ETH.
There were rumors of L2s - but the first half of 2023 was spent burning as much in gas as the price of an edition itself.
We saw collections from huge brands and household names - many of which captured the headlines for a week only to have to run it back the following month to keep people excited.
Long story short - 2023 was the year that people wrote off onchain music.
The general commentary from your average person on Twitter was making fun of the meme of “Music NFTs” or constantly poking holes at why anyone would want to collect something you can listen to for $9.99/mo on Spotify.
However - that didn’t stop the ecosystem from moving forward.
A collective shift to L2s in the middle of the year saw gas prices drop to near 0 - and with it, the price per edition became the most accessible it’s ever been.
Platforms opened to all artists - removing the waitlist and the barrier to entry for artists that were eager to mint their music onchain.
And then new problems emerged. In a world of free mints, cheap editions, open accessibility - hopes of a secondary market for music went out the door.
Now people were purely collecting for patronage - removing the wider segment of collector liquidity that were buying for $100 and trying to sell for $1000.
You could argue that this is what led to the steep decline in volume over the later half of the year - or just chalk it up to the market in general entering its lowest moments.
The space went from needing to set an alarm to grab an edition before it sold out to being able to come and get any edition basically whenever - as there was no longer a rush or fomo to collect the latest drop.
Fatigue started to set in - from both artists and collectors alike. Stumbling into virtually any collector chat and you were met with little more than a constant string of “Gms” lacking a degree of meaningful conversation. And for the chats that were active - the main topics of conversation generally centered around what was wrong with the space, why things weren’t working or whatever piece of drama was on Spaces that week.
So collectors started to consolidate. We saw collector groups band together to spotlight and support their favorite artists - leading to mints that paid the equivalent of millions of streams from niche communities around the world.
And that brings us to today.
Onchain music has never seen a stronger set of consumer products. Platforms are getting easier to use - and the social experience has paved the way for the most engaging experience in music to date.
But there remains a major gap.
Artists struggle to see the value in putting their music onchain and collectors aren’t seeing returns.
So we start out 2024 in a bit of a limbo.
What is it that will make people excited about onchain music in the year ahead?
If one thing is for sure - we need to take a step back and take a hard look around us. Challenge everything we know and what has worked in the past versus what will work in the future.
Hopefully - 2024 will be the year when we see millions of music fans onchain.
Now the question is - will that be from collecting a song, joining a fan club, streaming unreleased tracks or something entirely new?
To those reading this - thank you for your consistent support. Those who still remain have shown an unwavering commitment to the future of this space and that will never go unnoticed.
We’re proud to be advocates for onchain music in a world where most people have dismissed it entirely.
Here’s to a flipping the switch - and to finding the silver bullet that puts this ecosystem on the map.
Designed by IndieDAO.
2023 was a shakeout year for onchain music.
Despite numerous projects shutting down or pivoting, what’s emerged is a new generation of teams and projects eager and excited to find mainstream adoption.
We hope this map can give you an updated lay of the land on key players to keep an eye on in 2024.
Invest in Music is sponsored by Coop Records - an onchain record label.
Coop Records has released 100+ songs onchain with artists Daniel Allan, RŌHKI and BLOODY.
They collaborated on drops like ORIGINS, Faceless and Existential Dance Music.
If you see a * next to a song - this means that there is overlap with Coop Records.
To submit your project to Coop Records - email email@example.com.
By Michael DiVestea.
Violetta Zironi - 340 ETH (Sound + Moonshot + Another Life)
Violetta made a name for herself onchain. She’s a leading voice and responsible for 340 ETH in volume in 2023. Leading the way was her collection Another Life - 5 songs, 5,200 editions, and 125 ETH. She also generated 6 ETH on Sound with strong sales from “Heavenly Angels,” one of the first Forever Edition enabled drops.
Snoop Dogg - 108 ETH (Sound)
Snoop Dogg released two songs on Sound - including the first open edition “XYZ” and the first Sound Swap “Let Me Hit Somethin”. As a cultural icon - these drops generated the most volume this year on Sound - good for the top of the artist leaderboard in 2023.
RŌHKI - 70 ETH + 224 SOL (Sound + Glass)*
RŌHKI held strong as one of onchain music’s most innovative talents. They released 12 songs on Sound and 4 videos on Glass. They finished out Season 1 with “Reflection” and the first ETH drop on Glass for their “Origins Finale”. They closed out the year with CERULEAN - giving set collectors a dynamic split on 0xSplits. It was certainly a huge year for the group, and now we’re watching to see what Season 2 brings next year.
X Li - 67.5 ETH (Sound)
X Li took Sound by storm this year, bursting onto the scene with over 21 ETH on their genesis drop. With just three songs on Sound, they generated the third most of all artists on Sound. All of the tracks were off "California Love Stories.” and earned him a feature on Billboard’s Top 10 Music NFT artists.
Sammy Arriaga - 57 ETH (Sound)
Sammy Arriaga has one of the leading onchain music communities, drawing support from his collection “PIXELATED.”
Sammy holds a premium price and was one of the first to drop on Optimism with Rae Isla and then TK and Campfire for “Heartbreak Closer.” He was a part of one of the biggest drops on Sound “METAGIRL (Remix) Feat. Nessy The Rilla” - generating 40 ETH - making it the second biggest song of the year, only behind Snoop Dogg.
*ETH calculations are estimates based on yearly Sound volume data pulled on 12/3/23 and totals from other platforms collected at various dates throughout December 2023. Only sources included in the parenthesis were included in each artist’s calculation.
By Michael DiVestea.
Narrowing down a list of our favorite onchain artists is nearly impossible.
Please enjoy a curated list of 20 artists we covered this year along with notable projects to check out.
Project Astro - 444 Editions - 19.7 ETH
Right out of the gate in January 2023, ASTRO brought together 9 artists for a full-length visual album featuring Reo Cragun, Daniel Allan, Pauline Herr, Camoufly, Mark Johns and more. Orchestrated by Australian producer TWERL, each track had a different rarity, as well as a unique burn mechanism — if you burned four of the editions you got a special bonus track.
NOISE DAO - High Frequency Volume 1 - 30.9k Editions - 7.2k Collectors
Noise DAO is the leading DAO in the music space, pooling $2.7 million to help fund the onchain music ecosystem since 2021. At the start of the year, they launched High Frequency Volume 1 — a curated compilation album featuring 16 artists.
Watch our podcast with Adam from NoiseDAO here.
Violetta Zironi - Another Life - 5.2k Editions - 232.6 ETH
Italian singer songwriter Violetta Zironi has redefined what it means to be a musician in 2023, removing her music from Spotify and going ‘all in’ on her Web3 community. After hosting thousand of hours of Spaces, she dropped her second project ‘Another Life’ in January — 5 original songs, released through 5,200 editions on OpenSea.
Thank you Bello for sharing metrics for Violetta.
Heno - In the Meantime - 552 editions
Rapper, storyteller and activist Heno launched a visually-striking three-part film on Zora that touches on surveillance, therapy and trying to find peace. 5% of sales went straight to social impact organisations.
Grimes - Gen-1 avatars - 78.2k editions - 60 ETH
Grimes came back onchain with a surprise free drop on Zora in March. Gen-1 is a collection of AI avatars that will be used in an upcoming game on Elf.tech.
LNRZ - Satellites - 1.25k Editions - 5.26 ETH
Onchain collective LNRZ has consistently highlighted new talent all year, but Satellites was their standout moment of 2023. Five artists came together in the desert to record six tracks, with supply, rarity and price all chosen by the community.
Watch our podcast with Reo here.
Probably one of the most ambitious Web3 experiments in music this year. Annika Rose and her record label NVAK Collective built a video game experience around her single “Bruises,” ending with token-gated access to a new song.
Watch our podcast with Annika here.
The iconic YouTube channel Colors, with 7 million subscribers, is best known for its minimal aesthetic and intimate live performances. This year they launched Colors Collect in collaboration with Zora where fans could collect some of the videos and have their name attached to the episode’s release page.
Imagine a Gameboy that lets you remix music. That’s the basic idea behind Spores — an interactive tool for remixing onchain music in real time founded by Rihanna and Kanye West collaborator Keyon Christ.
Watch our podcast with Keyon here.
TK - ORIGINS - 7k Editions - 7.4 ETH*
TK has been innovating onchain since early singles on Sound. This year he rolled out his Sophomore album ORIGINS, racking up 7,000 mints across seven tracks. Collectors who purchased all seven songs unlocked a bonus eighth track.
Watch our podcast with TK here.
Latin artist Xcelencia pioneered a new concept this year by creating an album collection that evolves based on Spotify streaming data. The NFT artwork changes as the songs generate more streaming volume.
Daniel Allan - Duality - 135 Editions - 6.75 ETH*
Duality is the first music project to use an ERC-6551 standard to create a music album. The ERC-6551 is an NFT that can hold other NFTs — in other words an album NFT that holds individual songs as NFTs! The music itself includes Daniel’s new breakout song “I Just Need” featuring Lyrah.
Watch our podcast with Daniel here.
Ziggy Ziggy LA Live - 300 Editions - 1.5 ETH*
Live DJ sets … onchain. Ziggy Ziggy teamed up Daniel Allan, Bloody White and Beachcrimes to film three live DJ sets in LA this summer. The audio was released as limited edition drops on Sound, with live video minted on Zora.
Watch our podcast with Ben here.
Iman Europe - Moneymorphosis - 100 Editions - 5 ETH
Rapper Iman Europe returned for her landmark drop of the year, Moneymorphosis, and flipped the trend of low-cost open editions with a fixed edition of 100 at 0.1 ETH. The project was launched as a single NFT in partnership with LNRZ and collectors were later airdropped six individual tracks on Sound.xyz.
Watch our podcast with Iman here.
San Holo - Existential Dance Music - 2k Editions*
No-one does big, emotional, euphoric dance music like San Holo. The producer and DJ is one of the rare bigger artists to drop consistently onchain, releasing a string of singles on Sound.xyz through the year, culminating in a full album available to stream and collect on a custom website.
Watch our podcast with San Holo here.
WesGhost - Faceless - 2.5k Editions - 5 ETH*
Rising pop punk artist WesGhost dropped a 6-song project prior to going viral on Instagram and Spotify. The pseudo-anonymous act was born out of the Kid Called Beast community and has quickly blossomed into one of the most promising acts in all of music. Faceless featured a lottery style mint paired with a music video on Zora.
Watch our podcast with WesGhost here.
Jadyn Violet - Raver Realm - 587 Editions - 14 ETH
Jadyn Violet carried us through the bear market this year with weekly Twitter Spaces. And he ended 2023 with his ambitious long-term collection Raver Realm — a hand-drawn PFP collection combined with music. As a bonus, the collection evolves and unlocks new features as the songs gain streaming popularity on Spotify.
Watch our podcast with Jadyn Violet here.
RŌHKI - Cerulean - 600 Editions - 19 ETH*
Rohki has set the standard for cinematic audio-visual content onchain, attracting a huge, loyal collector base. Cerulean was their final drop of the year — a six track EP with a lead single featuring metastar Angelbaby. Collectors of all six tracks unlocked a token granting them 5% of primary and secondary sales.
BLOODY - Exhibit A - 446 Editions*
After a year of innovative drops (including an EP structured like a ponzi scheme) LA artist Bloody White revealed an alter-ego project “Bloody.” Bloody’s “Exhibit A” EP rolled out with one of the best tracks of the year, “Instante” featuring Heybela, and a unique auction mechanism.
Songcamp - C4 - 2.37k Editions - 17.4 ETH
The artist collective behind Chaos Packs, which generated $400k volume back in early 2022, returned this year with Camp 4. C4 brought together 15 artists across five tracks, each can be “pressed” onto a blank CD onchain via Zora.
Watch our podcast with Matthew from Songcamp here.
UK producer Sound of Fractures spent the year raising funds through drops on Sound, visual sales on Zora and his own token. All leading up to his final project Scenes which combines an EP with photos and memories submitted by his fans and community.Watch our podcast with Sound of Fractures here.
By Jake Nixon.
Branching off from the Camel collective, SUN has become one of the most active in onchain music. Fostering a strong sense of community among their members, they're focused on finding music gems to invest in. They have a collaborative mindset, as it can be seen from their participation in our Onchain Curator Program, usually winning in various categories!
Named after ROHKI’s Desperado, the Vietnamese collective started making waves in July. Defining themselves as a cult, they emerged at a time when many artists faced challenges in selling their work, proving that communities can make a difference. They’re now working on the 99 Camel Cult project, in which they will curate 99 songs from various artists. You’ll also notice that the default avatar on Sound is a camel!
Watch our podcast with Camel here.
Initiated by community members Crittie P and Arella, the DANC3 community quickly gained prominence in onchain music with their “DANC3 Mixtape (CRAZY)”, a collaboration featuring 14 artists and mixed by serboy. They maintained their momentum with “Feel Tha”, by Davyd. Their collector chat has consistently been one of the most active through bear and bull, holding truth to a simple goal: “unite the world by making them DANC3.”
NOISE is an art collective pushing the boundaries of what it means to curate. They are an active collector and have one of the largest collections of Music NFTs. Their HIGH FREQUENCY releases are meant to be a space for artists to release songs that might not fit into any traditional genre but will slap you in the face.
Watch our podcast with Adam from Noise here.
Launched by Reo Cragun, and with participation from LNRZ, hedsDAO, The Hume Collective, and more than 100 community members, The Green Room was born with the mission to support emerging artists in onchain music. Initially raising more than 3 ETH, the Green Room has supported Acutek, and is currently voting on a proposal for cuban artist Yaxx Castillo.
As one of the quieter collector groups in the space - Woodstock brings a long-standing love for music fused with a venture oriented mindset to collecting music. The group actively participated in supporting top collections and amassed one of the most impressive catalogs of onchain music grails.
By Cooper Turley.
2024 is the year for onchain music to prove its value.
To reach a new audience of fans - and to create deeper relationships with emerging artists.
We hope this report can show that despite the numbers not being anything crypto would ride home about - this space is actively creating opportunities and case studies for the generation of artists and collectors to come.
We’d like to thank our community for supporting us. For collecting our blogs, podcasts, spotlights and more.
We’re proud to be a leading curator of onchain music and look forward to making bigger waves in the year to come.
Invest in Music.
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