Universal Music Group (UMG) created a label 10:22PM to target the metaverse. The label announced the formation of the KINGSHIP, a music ‘group’ consisting of four non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that are Bored Ape Yacht Club characters. 10:22PM is looking to release music, products, digital experiences and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) centered around the metaverse band.
The Bored Ape Yacht Club was launched earlier this year and is arguably one of the most successful NFT projects yet. Similar to CryptoPunks, 10,000 unique caricature-like NFTs were minted and released for sale. The NFTs have specific features such as hats, glasses, and other accessories that vary in scarcity and influence the market value of the characters. At the end of October, a Bored Ape NFT with the gold fur trait, which less than 1% of the minted NFTs have sold for $3.4 million at Sotheby’s, beating the previous record sale of $2.9 million in September.
The fact that a Universal Music Group division is launching a celebrity-like group of these NFTs highlights their standing in the industry.
“Creating KINGSHIP has been incredibly fun and imaginative. I started 10:22PM to push the boundaries of innovation in the music industry and with KINGSHIP, we’re literally inventing what’s possible in real time,” said the label’s founder Celine Joshua.
“Just as we would with any artist or creator, my team and I will work with KINGSHIP to sharpen their vision and develop their unique sound. Each member of the group has their own story and personality that influences and contributes to KINGSHIP’s overall narrative. Through music and events across the metaverse, we will bring the Apes in KINGSHIP to life by building communities and utility, and entertaining audiences around the world.”
Despite the exponential development of digital assets this year, an NFT band is a new concept. Since the NFTs are unique, they are owned by a digital wallet and require the collaboration of the owner to use them. In this project, NFT collector Jimmy McNeils is the owner of the four NFTs in the group. The contractual agreements with Mr. McNeils have not been disclosed.
Choosing Bored Apes was likely no accident. Firstly, the owner of the NFT has commercial usage rights. And secondly, the club has already shown it plans to be involved in the metaverse more broadly by setting up in Decentraland. One wild guess is that the KINGSHIP might perform some concerts in Decentraland.
“This deal is a leading example of how powerful commercial rights are for collectible NFT projects and their collectors,” said Mr. McNeils.
One question is whether the Bored Ape creators Yuga Labs had any involvement. Last month they inked a deal with Guy Oseary, whose company Maverick manages Madonna and U2.
Yuga Labs was following in the footsteps of CryptoPunks creators, Lava Labs, which previously signed an agency deal with UTA, highlighting a trend of the intersection of mainstream media and NFTs.