In the first half of 2021, NFTs, non-fungible tokens, have become an almost ubiquitous part of the music industry, for better or worse. 

For the uninitiated, an NFT is a unit of data that certifies that a digital asset is unique and not interchangeable. As the music industry struggles in the streaming era to compensate artists properly, it was only a matter of time before musicians followed the art world into NFTs.

The potential was evident, with music fans always desperate to seem like a bigger fan than the rest (the less said about ‘stans’, the better). And the results speak for themselves: artists have started raking in the cash recently by selling NFTs, making more than they could ever dream of before.

With that in mind, we thought we’d take a look at 5 of the biggest and best music NFTs yet!

Grimes ($7 million)

TikTok’s most famous Communist really swept up in the NFT gold rush, making bank after selling a series of 10 pieces on Nifty Gateway in February. A mixture of original artworks and short videos set to music, two works, titled ‘Earth’ and ‘Mars’ brought in the bulk of the sales, with thousands of copies going for $7,500 each. A one-of-a-kind video called ‘Death of the Old’ managed to sell for a whopping $389,000. ‘More money than sense’ comes to mind. Her partner Elon Musk also got in on the action, selling an NFT about NFTs, because of course he did.

Steve Aoki ($4.25 million)

The superstar American DJ and producer was one of the first artists to realise the potential of the new digital market. Working alongside renowned visual artist Antoni Tudisco, his debut NFT collection, titled ‘Dream Catcher’, sold big on Nifty Gateway, one of the leading marketplaces for NFTs. The very rich Aoki was understandably excited. “NFTs gave me an opportunity to finally merge art, collectible culture and music in a way I’ve never been able to realize before,” he said at the time. “I had no idea what to expect when we started this project so the feedback and response from the NFT community has been overwhelming to say the least.”

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Kings of Leon ($2 million+)

The stadium rockers decided to sell their latest album, When You See Yourself, as a collection of NFTs and became one of the first major bands to do so. What a decision it turned out to be: they generated over $2 million in sales, with six ‘Golden Ticket’ auctions, which guaranteed four front-row seats to one show of every Kings of Leon headline tour for life, being eagerly bought up. And the band made sure to give something back, donating $500,000 of their earnings to Live Nation’s Crew Fund to support live music crews struggling during COVID-19.

Eminem ($1.78 million)

Slim Shady’s first NFT collection, ‘Shady Con’, was a great success when it sold on Nifty Gateway at the end of April. It included digital action figures based on some of his iconic characters from his hilarious music videos. Original instrumental beats were also included in the collection. The most valuable item in ‘Shady Con’ was ‘STANS’ REVENGE’, a one-of-a-kind video, which was accompanied by a rare pair of Eminem’s Carhartt Air Jordan trainers.

RAC ($708,000)

A lesser-known artist on this list, the Grammy Award-winning Portuguese-American producer André Anjos quickly realised that NFTs were the way to go. He sold a collection of NFTs related to his new record YOU and soon arrived at a sobering reality: the $708,000 that he earned from the sale was more than his combined album sales over the previous decade, speaking to the miserly earnings from streaming that musicians have to struggle against.