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Grammys 2022: NFTs 'part of music ecosystem,' OneOf co-founder says

The 64th Annual Grammy Awards, originally scheduled for January 31 but postponed amid the Omicron surge, is finally set to take place this Sunday in Las Vegas.

Big-name performers including K-pop band BTS, breakout star Olivia Rodrigo and newly minted Oscar winner Billie Eilish are all slated to perform, with Trevor Noah returning as host.

Jon Batiste leads the nomination list with 11 total nods followed by Justin Bieber, Doja Cat, and H.E.R., with eight nominations each.

However, the lead-up to this year's award show offered something different to fans than in years past — a collection of music-inspired non fungible tokens (NFTs).

The Grammy Awards NFT Collection, which is part of a three-year partnership with the Quincy Jones–backed NFT platform OneOf, comes as the market for NFTs has exploded within the music industry, providing new revenue streams and opportunities for song ownership by bidders and fans.

"To be on the forefront of technology while simultaneously serving the music community with a new and innovative platform is only the beginning of what NFTs are doing to change the musical landscape and to generate more income for music creators," Adam Roth, SVP of partnerships & business development of the Recording Academy, said in a press release.

NFTs will be part of the music ecosystem...This is not just a 2021 or 2022 fad...Lin Dai, OneOf Co-Founder

Various drops throughout the month of March included a free NFT available to all fans, as well as a single "golden ticket" NFT for an all-inclusive travel stipend for two to this year's award show. Prices ranged from $250 to $2,000 with select "tiers" to attract fans at a variety of price points.

A portion of the proceeds went to the Recording Academy's scholarship fund.

"We aim to bring NFTs to the mass consumer," Lin Dai, co-founder of OneOf, told Yahoo Finance during a recent interview.

"We applaud the Grammys for really leaning into this new wave of technology that is fundamentally going to be very instrumental and helpful to artists' careers," Dai continued. He added that the three-year partnership signals a "green light that NFT and blockchain technology is here to stay."

"This is not just 2021 or a 2022 fad...[NFTs] will be part of the music ecosystem," the exec predicted.

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OneOf recently announced major partnerships with Warner Music Group (WMG), Sports Illustrated, and the top-rated syndicated morning radio show, "The Breakfast Club." Its recent Whitney Houston Collection made headlines when a never-before-heard Whitney Houston song, which the late artist wrote when she was 17, sold for $1 million.

Dai also revealed that the company landed an exclusive partnership with the Biggie Smalls' estate, and will be creating Notorious B.I.G. NFTs in honor of the deceased rapper.

Legendary producer Quincy Jones threw his support behind NFT platform OneOf as non-fungible tokens continue to explode in the music industry. OneOf recently launched a three-year partnership with the Grammys.
Legendary producer Quincy Jones threw his support behind NFT platform OneOf as non-fungible tokens continue to explode in the music industry. OneOf recently launched a three-year partnership with the Grammys.

OneOf is the brainchild of Dai, along with executives Adam Fell, and Joshua James, who created a company called Zig Media, which is often referred to as the "Instagram of news" for distilling information into video and photos.

The trio wanted to make buying NFTs of various artists eco-friendly, easy and accessible to everyone.

Built on the Tezos (XTZ-USD) blockchain, minting an NFT on OneOf's platform uses two million times less energy than other "proof-of-work" networks. That means minting an NFT on OneOf takes about the same amount of electricity as one Twitter post, whereas minting an NFT on a "proof-of-work" platform uses the amount of electricity of the average U.S. household over a period of 5.3 days.

Dai explained that this unique approach brings the minting costs down to "essentially under a penny" — and allows for a more affordable option for fans.

OneOf accepts Bitcoin (BTC-USD), Ethereum (ETH-USD) and tezos for purchase, but you don’t have to use cryptocurrency, or have a crypto wallet to purchase an NFT on this platform — you can simply use a credit card.

Overall, Dai revealed that "blockchain can fundamentally change a lot of the inefficiencies that exists in the music industry, and bring more transparency to payments and how artists, [including independent artists], can earn a living."

He went on to say that "building the community" will be key for continued growth and momentum.

"We're educating one artist at a time and one thing at a time. We're a platform built for all fans, not just crypto whales."

Alexandra is a Senior Entertainment and Food Reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alliecanal8193

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