Owning Music Isn’t Dead.
How music collecting will evolve
Is music collecting dead? Have the digital age and streaming services killed the need for owned music collections? Are we seeing the end of ownership — forever? These questions have been asked as streaming services continue to grow in popularity, with users preferring access to an entire library of songs on demand to owning a copy of their favorite album. But that doesn’t mean that music collecting is dead; it’s just evolving.
There are a few reasons we may be seeing a decline in people traditionally collecting music, but it all comes down to convenience. Streaming services have made it incredibly easy to access any song you want, whenever you want it. The music is in your pocket and on-demand, with no effort or cost. Many people have also grown up in this digital era, so they’ve never owned a physical copy of their favorite album. They just want the music and don’t care how they get it.
The digital age has changed how we collect music, but it hasn’t killed the idea or the purpose of collecting altogether. It’s simply evolving into something else, something that is more about curation, dedication, access, and experiences.
There seems to be a perception that when you add a digital track or album to your library on Spotify or purchase an mp3 — you own it. But the truth is, you do not. You’re just licensing access to that music, which can be taken away from you anytime, removed from the server, and deleted from your library. You’re renting it, not owning it.
You own digital music when you buy it through a token. We call this NFT music today, but at its core, it’s just music, shared and traced on-chain, immutably. NFT music is an alternative method of digital ownership that allows you to own your music collection and have it stored securely on the blockchain.
NFTs are non-fungible tokens, which means they are each unique and interchangeable. When you buy an NFT, you buy a one-of-a-kind asset that can’t be replicated. When you buy a music NFT, you buy a one-of-a-kind copy of a song that is provably and irrevocably yours. You can do whatever you want — trade it with others or keep it in permanent pristine condition in your wallet and grow a legacy collection of tokenized digital music that is entirely your own.
Digital ownership isn’t just about the music itself but also the utility of the music. It’s access to and ownership of experiences encompassing the artwork, the audio fingerprint, the lyrics, credits, and photos. Owned digital music allows you to connect with the experience differently. You can explore the utility of music as an access pass, unlocking a closer connection to artists and collaborators. You can even collect music for the artwork and display it. Collecting music has always been a way for music fans to connect with their favorite artists, and the owned music allows them a way to do that like never before.
Music collecting — why does it matter?
Collecting isn’t simply about having a music catalog — it’s also about the social value of it all. Those who grew up in the age of the CD and vinyl are often passionate about the music they love, and the physical album and its artwork can be a great way to express that passion. When you buy music, curate it yourself and evolve a selection of music you deeply love, you’re not just buying a song — you’re creating a legacy that reflects your tastes, ideas, and passion.
You get to own the music and can share it with other fans. Connect with other music lovers and forge new relationships. And when you buy music, you help support the artists that make the music you love. While streaming platforms pay pennies on the dollar, directly purchasing owned, NFT-based music from artists offers them an independent revenue stream that can go directly to funding more of the work you care about.
If you’re interested in owning or collecting physical music but don’t know where to start, there are plenty of ways to experiment. Collect a few tracks or drops from your favorite artists and see which one you like most. Try out different collecting methods, or even just mix and match. You can build a collection around Editions of a song, 1/1 productions, artworks connected to the music, or even music-based profile pictures.
Where we go from here…
We’ve seen a decline in physical music collections, but that doesn’t mean owned music is dying out. There are plenty of ways to bring collecting and holding music back into the mainstream. More and more performers are educating their audiences about the value NFT-based tracks can bring to their careers and artistry, and the sentiment is slowly shifting. There are challenges ahead. Onboarding and educating people about how to purchase NFT music isn’t an easy proposition, and neither is changing the conversation around NFT music as a collectible rather than a speculative asset. But these changes will happen gradually as we talk about it, explore it, shout about it and create new use-cases.
If you’re a music fan, there’s no better way to show your passion and connect with other fans than by collecting songs and connecting with artists through owned music and music NFTs. Creating a space for ownership and collecting music as a part of our culture is a clear pathway to keeping the industry healthy and vibrant for the next generation of artists and creators.