Ep. 97: What are NFTs and what do they mean for the world of music, musicians, and fans? with Ari Herstand

Photo by Pascal Bernardon on Unsplash

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are virtual original art, just as bitcoin is virtual currency. Musicians have made millions in recent NFT sales, and unlike most revenue streams, an artist’s NFT sales potential is not necessarily tied to the size of their fan base. What exactly are these collectibles-of-the-future, and why should they matter to musicians and their fans?

Ari Herstand


Joining me today from LA is Ari Herstand, a musician, actor, and best-selling author of the book, How to Make It in the New Music Business. Ari hosts the New Music Business podcast, writes a blog, and is Founder & CEO of Ari’s Take, an online music business education and artist advocacy company. He pretty much does it all, and Forbes calls him “The poster child of DIY music.”


We discuss:

  • What are Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)?
  • Examples of NFTs and recent sales in the musical and art worlds
  • Can all musicians stand to benefit from NFTs, or just those who already have celebrity status?
  • NFTs are minted and authenticated using blockchain technology.
  • Current challenges to musicians’ earnings
  • NFTs’ potential impact on revenue for musicians
  • Benefits of certain NFT marketplaces
  • Are NFTs here to stay?
  • What costs are involved in creating an NFT?
  • Celebrity status doesn’t necessarily = NFT success. How do you know if your fan base will support NFTs?
  • What does residual income have to do with NFTs?
  • What other unique value do NFTs bring to artists?
  • What do NFTs offer fans?
  • Why should you consider purchasing an NFT?
  • How do you show off NFTs you’ve purchased?
  • Non-monetary reasons for NFT popularity
  • The latest answer to environmental concerns of NFTs
  • Other potential future applications of the blockchain that could help independent musicians make a living from their work

 Connect/Other Resources

 In-Episode Promo

Thank you to our sponsor, Sheet Music Direct. Sheet Music Direct is the world’s premier destination for digital sheet music, powered by sheet music publisher Hal Leonard. I have used Sheet Music Direct for probably 10 years, and it has saved me countless hours of driving to music stores and sifting through bins of sheet music and books to find the right song (and hoping the perfect song isn’t out of stock). Sheet Music Direct’s library has more than 1 million sheet music arrangements that you can view – and listen to – right from your device for convenient online shopping and immediate downloads of educational, classical, and pop scores that represent just about any genre and holiday. Prices start at $0.99 and you can both print your purchases instantly and access them on any device, which has really come in handy for our family when we’re out of state visiting Grandma & Grandpa, and they want to hear my kids play the piano! Access the latest hits and yesterday’s classics at sheetmusicdirect.com.


Ari shares the music video for his new release Like Home, and discusses its significance in his life and its relevance to us all at this time in history.

Closing Words

And that is a little bit of the YouTube audio from Ari’s new release, Like Home (listen to the album on Spotify). There is a link in the show notes to the video so you can listen to – and watch – the entire video. Thank you so much to Ari for sharing with us today about this new frontier of digital collectibles and what it means for music lovers. Thanks also to Ari for all he does to enhance lives with music – he does a ton to advocate for artists and has lots of educational resources available. All links are in the show notes. If you’re interested in learning more about the current metadata and music publishing system Ari was talking, you can listen to episodes 56 & 80 for more information. Another related episode is #46: How do songs end up on Spotify playlists, anyway?  All the links, and a transcription of this episode, are at mpetersonmusic.com/podcast/episode97; there is a link to that page right in the episode details in your podcast app, as well as links to connect with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can also view sponsorship information on the website at mpetersonmusic.com/podcast/sponsor. This show is a passion project, and our sponsors help offset production costs and collaborate with us in making the world a better place through the power of music. There are several ways for you or your business to partner with us in this mission, from Buy Me A Coffee, to ads, Patreon, and other collaborations. Thank you so much for joining me today. Until next week, may your life be enhanced with music.

View Episode Transcription

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