Another week, another musical NFT group tie-in. Last month UMG subsidiary 10.22PM signed a Gorillaz-style cartoon band staffed with characters from NFTs brand Bored Ape Yacht Club – just days before another bunch of expensive simians from the same brand announced another collaboration, this time with veteran producer Timbaland.
However, Ursa Major – the new band created by Grammy award-nominated producer and entrepreneur Poo Bear (who according to the press release, “greets everyone by saying, ‘Happy Birthday’” which sounds quite fun, if you think about it) and NFT production company & creative agency, D.O.M. – is a little different: this time, it doesn’t lean on an existing NFT IP (hence “first-ever original NFT band”).
Instead, Ursa Major is composed of original characters: four colourful bears called – deep breath – Captain Staynard Othelos, Detty, Tun-Tun, and FuzzEE WuzzEE, and a Star-Wars-esque trailer builds their back story. The bears’ music is written and produced by Poo Bear and the first release will be sold through NFT platform Nifty Gateway.
This may be something of a test case: while Poo Bear’s calibre and fame is well-established, can an NFT artist’s identity be successfully launched without a connection to previously-established characters? Pivoting from “famous music artist” to “visual art NFT payday” (see: 3lau, Grimes, et al) is one thing – but does it work the other way around?