The serialised album release is increasingly being used by recording artists across the world as a way to ensure each track gets the attention they believe it deserves in the playlist-focused streaming era. Indian electronic pop artist Ritviz is taking the strategy up a notch by releasing two collaborative full-length efforts in the form of 21 singles that he will put out every week starting from the first week of August through the end of December.
A set recorded with bass music producer Nucleya will be followed by a collection with hip-hop duo Seedhe Maut. Anticipation for both albums has been high among Ritviz’s substantial fan base – he’s the most streamed independent artist on Spotify in India – especially because the singer-composer has thus far only delivered EPs, the last of which was a set of five 30-second video “songs” exclusively released on short video app Moj. This time around, it’s Instagram Reels that’s bagged a deal to premiere some of the upcoming proper singles 24 hours before they hit streaming services.
That wasn’t the only piece of Ritviz-related news this week. Illustrator Santanu Hazarika, who makes his artwork, marked the musician’s 21-song announcement with the release of a commemorative NFT that was snapped up on Indian cryptocurrency exchange WazirX for 300 WRX (around $388.50) a mere 37 seconds after going live. UnderTheRadar, the company that manages both Ritviz and Hazarika, says this is the first of a series of drops from the visual artist who will collaborate with a number of different musicians for his next few NFTs.
Over half a dozen other Indian music acts, including Western classical pianist and child prodigy Lydian Nadhaswaram, Hindi film music composer Sneha Khanwalkar and electronic music producer Kohra, have announced plans to sell NFTs on WazirX on which 65 creators have sold NFTs worth $61,000 this month.
That’s notable in a country that’s been relatively slow to get on the NFT bandwagon on account of the confusion around a supposed ban on cryptocurrency by the government. But it’s less than a third of the 50 ETH (approximately $202k) Tamil composer-singer Kaber Vasuki pocketed in May for his NFT of the demo recording of his song “Vasanam” that was listed on the OpenSea marketplace.
We’re likely to see more such activity in India where artists, both the visual and music kind, are starting to view NFTs and cryptographic transactions as a whole, as a new, additional revenue stream. Veteran Bollywood music director Bappi Lahiri is peddling a clutch of ‘Disco King’ NFT cards on OpenSea while rapper Raftaar will accept SafeMoon as payment for a virtual concert he’ll perform for an audience in Canada in July.
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