Artist 3lau (aka Justin Blau) launched his startup Royal earlier this year as a way for musicians to sell shares in their royalties as NFTs. It emerged in August with $16m in seed funding, but now it has raised $55m to further its plans.
The new funds come from a mixture of institutional and individual investors. VC firm Andreessen Horowitz led the round, but talent agency CAA and management firm Crush Music were involved, and artists The Chainsmokers, Nas, Logic, Stefflon Don, Kygo, Joyner Lucas and Disclosure also chipped in.
The funding follows 3lau’s test of Royal’s technology by giving away 333 NFTs (or ‘limited digital assets’ as Royal is describing them) that collectively own a 50% share of streaming royalties from his new single ‘Worst Case’. Royal says that in two weeks “the song has reached an implied value of over $6m” with secondary market trading volume passing $600k.
Attaching music rights or shares of royalties to NFTs is a very new business, and understandably there is caution and outright scepticism about how these models work, and whether they will pay off for artists and fans alike. Having artists at the centre of some of the companies doing it feels like a positive development, though.
Royal says that more than 120,000 people have signed up for its platform since its launch in late August, and it is promising details of its “live sale” in the coming weeks. That’s when we’ll find out which artists are on board, and how Royal plans to make its platform as accessible as possible to music fans, rather than just crypto collectors.