Bits: How Creators will wag the NFTs Tail

Creator economy x NFTs is a natural combo, but which one will wield the power?

Ben Thompson’s recent post on “Non-Fungible Taylor Swift” reminded me of one core shift at play within NFTs.

https://stratechery.com/2021/non-fungible-taylor-swift/

It would be naive to see the current NFT landscape as anything but primitive. Most creators and users alike are discovering NFTs and blockchains for the first time. Similarly, they are discovering the massive amounts of liquidity and money possible in this space, which is creating a bit of a gold rush or bubble depending on who you ask. In that, we’re seeing NFT platforms and collectors make out like bandits, with prices rising 10x+ overnight.

However, Thompson’s piece reminds us that we are living in the Era of the Celebrity. Taylor references influence and power via with Twitter followers, and she wields that directly. If an artist does not like the terms of a prior deal, they kill it using their influence and audience. Literally, they ask their audience to starve that prior content until they can renegotiate or capture the value elsewhere. After all, their audience loves them not their label or TV channel.

Today, artists are giving up meaningful % of their NFT sales to platforms for minting, tracking, trading and distribution. As distribution shifts from crypto users to solely the artists users, that value will diminish. In kind, NFT production continues to become more standardize as we see lumpy volume across different platforms.

It’s only a matter of time until creators demand best-in-class terms. What will those be? My guess is it hinges on features like collaboration, deeper community engagement, earning power akin to royalties. Most importantly, creators will expect to truly own their NFTs. As we already see in the creator economy, this era is all about disintermediating rent seekers and gatekeepers like agents / labels, so why wouldn’t crypto be the ultimate means to that end?