World-renowned Hip Hop artist Snoop Dogg has acquired the music label Death Row Records from Blackstone-backed MNRK Music Group. Through the use of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and virtual reality, the artist plans to transform Death Row into the first music label fully integrated in the metaverse.
In many ways it’s a return home for Snoop Dogg as Death Row was the first label to sign him. His acquisition allows him to fulfil his vision of using blockchain in entertainment.
“Death Row will be an NFT label,” said Snoop Dogg in a Clubhouse conversation. “We will be putting our artists through the metaverse,” he said. “Just like we broke the industry rules (as) the first independent (label) to be a major, I want to be the first major in the metaverse.”
A blockchain record deal
The artist’s latest album celebrates his new label by calling it “Back on Death Row.” For the album launch, he announced last week that he’s partnering with blockchain music label, Gala Music, a platform that transforms music records into NFTs. Fans will be able to buy each of the album’s 17 tracks as a Stash Box, which also comes with other unspecified rewards.
The company behind Gala Music, Gala Games, is a competitor of Animoca-backed metaverse where the rapper has a virtual estate. Someone bought plots of virtual land surrounding Snoop Dogg’s digital estate for $1.23 million.
The Sandbox Doggie avatars
In addition to building a mansion on his virtual land, The Sandbox also plans to launch an NFT collection that includes a Snoop Private Party Pass. The passes provide access to VIP parties he throws in the metaverse, access to virtual concerts he performs on his estate, events, Q&A sessions, and early access to exclusive drops.
The work with The Sandbox gives Snoop Dogg experience in the metaverse and an understanding of what works and what does not. For example, he is about to launch a 10,000 NFT collection of Sandbox Doggie avatars, and it seems that some will be used in a metaverse music video.
Having gone through this project enables Snoop Dogg to understand which features engage fans and which don’t so that he can advise Death Row’s artists on how to manage their virtual careers.
A key aspect of a metaverse record label will be the launch of virtual concerts. Considering how starved fans have been of live experiences for the past two years, with things reopening after COVID, right now might not be the perfect time for digital concerts to kick off in a big way. Nevertheless, it is an innovative idea that resolves many logistical concerns about live music, such as limited ticketing, geographic restrictions, set-up costs, and an exhausting traveling schedule.
In addition, despite it being likely that many fans want to experience live music again, others have also realized the comfort of staying at home and may not be ready to be surrounded by thousands of people. Therefore there may already be an audience looking for digital concerts.
Meanwhile, Warner Music has partnered with Sandbox for virtual music events. Timbaland launched a music label based on Bored Ape NFTs, and a Universal Music subsidiary unveiled a metaverse group also based on Bored Ape NFTs.