Brazilian music producer Lucas Mayer was trying to sell his music as NFTs when he became frustrated with trying to get an artist to make art for the audio of the NFT – or non-fungible token- while also divvying up the crypto royalties from the sale. That’s when he decided there needed to be a marketplace that made all of this seamless while allowing artists and fans to get their appropriate share of royalties in crypto.
“I wanted to create an NFT marketplace only for musicians and music marketing,” Mayer told Yahoo Finance in an interview. “So we started as a marketplace and now we’re helping artists [and fans] receive money in crypto instead of through Paypal.”
Mayer, who is behind the global music production house ‘DaHouse for commercials for Ford, Doritos, Kia and more, created the NFT music platform Phonogram.me. It’s an NFT marketplace made for musicians to sell their music, royalties, tickets for events, backstage passes, artwork, and more.
Artists can distribute their songs through Phonogram.me across major global streaming platforms like Spotify and collect their royalties in crypto. Fans can invest in artists’ music and get paid a portion of royalties alongside the artist as listeners stream the music. The more plays the artists get, the more fans profit alongside them.
Using smart contracts, Phonogram.me is able to register the song in the blockchain and automatically divvy up the correct percentages of royalties in crypto between parties who are owed.
“When the money arrives, because of this smart contract, it's already split between all the properties so everybody who has a part in that song gets their share in their crypto wallet,” Mayer said.
Phonogram.me also prides itself on cutting taxes independent artists have to pay for traditional music distribution platforms by 30% to 50%. And thanks to crypto there’s no foreign exchange rate to deal with and no service fees for going through outside payment services like Paypal.
Mayer is also working on a direct bank transfer. In Brazil, users can add their bank accounts on the Phonogram.me platform and directly convert the crypto into Brazilian currency into their accounts. Mayer and his team are trying to see if they can configure the same solution in other countries that have different rules.
The site opened in the U.S. and worldwide late last month after completing a testing phase in Brazil first. Users who sign up on Phonogram.me will set up a digital wallet associated with the site where royalties in crypto they are owed will automatically be deposited in their wallets.
He says artists from Russia are messaging him because they cannot receive money from banks from other countries, and are eager to receive monies in crypto. He says they have more than 60 releases from Russia already on the line.
Mayer also has a marketplace in the works called Gogram.me that will be an NFT ticket site where fans can buy tickets for concerts, but also purchase and resell those tickets.
“Imagine that you're scalping,” he said. “The band is not earning money from the second selling because it's not connected with them. But when we have something in the blockchain and you'd have to sell it as an NFT, the band makes money off all the additional sales so it’s a good deal."
Jennifer Schonberger covers cryptocurrencies and policy for Yahoo Finance. She has been a financial journalist for over 14 years covering markets, the economy and investing. Follow her at @Jenniferisms.