A remix is a piece of musical content or media that’s been modified or altered in some way, including adding and/or removing parts as well as combining it with another piece of media. This process changes or recontextualizes the original piece of media, thereby giving the remixer an outlet for their creative expression as well.
The process of remixing music NFTs has become fairly common. Additionally, there have even been some forward-thinking artists who have released music NFTs that specifically encourage remixing.
In this post, we’ll go over everything you need to know about music NFT remixes. We’ll also discuss the possibility of remixing other types of NFTs, collaboration with artists, copyright law and some notable music NFT remixes in the past few years.
Can I Remix A Music NFT?
An NFT is a non-fungible token, which is essentially a digital certificate of authenticity. The NFT and all information regarding its provenance are stored on a specific blockchain to prove that the digital file is 100% unique and authentic.
In terms of remixes, music NFTs are most frequently used. These music NFTs can include:
- Digital artwork
- Concert tickets
- Digital merchandise
- Meet & greets
- Collaboration opportunities
- Collectibles for the music metaverse
Fan edits are a common form of remixed NFT. In these edits, users take NFTs of music, videos, or artwork and then remove or modify the content in order to create something new and unique.
That being said, it’s absolutely possible to remix a music NFT. In fact, because of the collaborative nature of NFTs, the crypto space, and the growing metaverse, music NFT remixes are arguably becoming more popular than ever.
What Other NFTs Can I Remix?
Music remixes are a relatively new form of artistic expression. They were first developed in the early 1970s at DJ parties in New York City and have their roots in dancehall and dub music. They were immediately seen as a viable form of creative expression, making them highly influential in the underground music scene. Then, over the years, they became most closely associated with hip-hop and electronic music.
As a result, music NFTs are the most frequent kind of NFT that people remix. However, it’s perfectly possible to remix other NFTs, including pieces of artwork, photographs, videos, poems, or even books. In some cases, there are multimedia remixes, meaning that they’re actually a combination of some or all of these forms.
Fans and enthusiasts usually remix NFTs as a form of creative expression, although it’s totally possible to monetize these NFT remixes. The first and easiest way to do this is to take the remixed NFT and then sell it on an NFT marketplace.
However, you’ll need to be certain that you have the legal right to make a profit from the NFT, usually in the form of owning the original song’s copyright. Of course, it’s entirely your responsibility to make sure that you’re acting in accordance with all intellectual property and copyright laws.
You could also monetize NFT remixes on metaverse land that you buy. To do this, you can build a venue on your parcel of digital land and display the NFT that you’ve remixed. Then you can charge an admission fee via cryptocurrency for other metaverse users to come and listen to or see what you’ve created.
Of course, you need to make sure that you have the legal right to play, display, or profit from the NFT remix. It is entirely your responsibility to make this confirmation, otherwise, you may run afoul of intellectual property laws.
How Do NFTs Encourage Greater Collaboration With Artists?
There’s been a growing remix culture, which encourages users and fans to alter and/or combine pre-existing content into new, customized content. This includes both music NFTs as well as other art-related NFTs.
In general, the creation and trading of NFTs benefit tremendously from this remix culture. This is because NFTs are intimately associated with the metaverse, which is itself meant to be a collaborative space. Also known as Web 3.0, the metaverse is essentially the next evolutionary step of the internet and it fosters cooperation amongst users.
This participatory philosophy extends to NFTs as well, including the act of remixing them. As a result, many artists have seen the collaborative potential in NFTs and have capitalized on this by actively encouraging remixing and editing amongst their fans. The artists have done this largely by releasing NFT albums that are meant to be remixed by the fans.
Additionally, by its very definition, an NFT is a totally unique and indivisible piece of media. That means that owning an NFT is a more active form of participation between fan and artist.
For instance, if you go out and buy an album from your favorite artist, then there’s nothing particularly special or unique about that album. However, if you buy a music NFT that’s one-of-a-kind, then you know that you’re the only person who has that particular piece of media. As you can imagine, this is a
vastly more intimate relationship between fan and artist than owning a conventional piece of music media.
Who Owns The Copyright For A Music NFT?
This depends entirely on how the artist mints the music NFT in question. If they’re so inclined, then the artist can include licensing and/or copyright as part of the NFT sale. If the sale includes licensing and/or copyright, then the buyer can:
- Remix the NFT however they want to.
- Play or display the remixed NFT wherever they want to.
- Gather royalties and profit from the act of playing or displaying the remixed NFT.
However, even if the NFT sale does not include licensing and/or copyright, remixing an NFT may still be partially protected under the Fair Use doctrine. This depends on the specific scenario and we cover it in greater detail in the section below.
That being said, an NFT sale usually does not include licensing and/or copyright. Let’s think of it this way: if you buy a collectible or a signed copy of a Rolling Stones record, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you own the licensing and/or copyright.
Instead, it just means that you own a one-of-a-kind copy of that particular record, even if it is potentially priceless. Ultimately, that piece of intellectual property (IP), and all licensing and copyright, is still owned by the Rolling Stones or their publishing company.
On the other hand, if an artist mints an NFT that includes partial or full licensing and/or copyright, then whoever purchases that NFT will also be purchasing the legal rights to play or profit from that NFT. As you can imagine, this gives an additional financial incentive for people to buy these NFTs.
How Does Fair Use Affect Music NFT Remixes?
Even if the NFT buyer does not actually own the licensing and/or copyright, they might still be able to legally remix the NFT under the Fair use law.
This legal doctrine allows anyone to use a copyrighted work without the copyright holder’s permission for six (6) specific purposes:
- News reporting
Under these circumstances, the act of taking copyrighted work and then remixing or editing it is protected by Fair Use and the remixer can not be sued for copyright infringement.
The determination of Fair Use for a remix is on a case-by-case basis. In other words, there are many factors that will determine if an NFT remix is protected under this doctrine and there is no set formula for calculating licensing fees.
If you use a remixed NFT in a performance, then it might still be covered under Fair Use. This includes virtual performances that you might put on in the metaverse. However, the more you profit from a remix without getting permission from the copyright holder, then the less likely it’ll be protected by Fair Use.
Finally, if an NFT remix is transformative, then it will likely be considered Fair Use. In this context, “transformative” means that the original work has been transformed in some substantial way. In essence, it means that the remixer has added something new, including altering its purpose or changing its character.
Notable Music NFT Remixes
Let’s take a look at some of the most notable music NFT remixes that have come out.
In early 2022, Snoop Dogg acquired a majority stake in Death Row Records, the very label that made him a star in the early 1990s. Not long after, he released a music NFT collection called Dogg On It: Death Row Mixtape Vol. 1.
Each song in this collection is broken up into distinct audio elements, thereby encouraging buyers to make their own remixes. In fact, the description for the NFTs reads: Own it. Remix it. Master it.
For instance, the first single “High” is made up of four audio files that come in the form of metaverse tokens. These files break down as follows:
- Vocal track, without any instrumentals, in an edition of 420 tokens.
- Instrumental track, without any vocals, in an edition of 500 tokens.
- Instrumental track and hook without the verses in an edition of 250 tokens.
- Complete song in an edition of 500 tokens.
Plus, each of these music NFTs is attached to an image NFT from the Bored Ape Yacht Club.
As of yet, Snoop Dogg has not made it completely clear what owning the NFT tokens means in terms of copyright and monetizing any potential remixes. However, he has made it clear that he wants buyers to remix the NFTs, at least for bragging rights if not for outright monetization.
On November 2, 2021, legendary producer Timbaland released an EP called Opera Noir. This release is unique in that each song was broken up into individual audio elements, including drums, synth sounds, hooks, and stems. These elements were then auctioned off individually in the form of Ethereum NFTs.
Any collector or enthusiast who purchases at least two of those NFTs could then access a web-based remixing app, upload the song elements, and then manipulate them to remix a custom music NFT.
As part of the promotion for this innovative release, Timbaland stated that releasing music through new avenues is exciting for him and that direct engagement with his fans is very important. He worked with Kevin and Jennifer McCoy, a married couple of multimedia artists who are considered to be pioneers and innovators in the NFT art space. For Opera Noir, the McCoys created animated artwork that’s generated by an algorithm to match the music. This means that every release will have unique artwork, making each music NFT totally unique and that much more valuable.
In April 2021, Grammy-winning producer Illmind released what he called the “first ever NFT-backed sample loop/melody pack.” This music NFT collection included 10 melody compositions as well as full copyright and a “royalty-free guarantee.”
In other words, the contract gave the NFT buyer complete legal rights to use the audio files for their own purposes, however they saw fit. Since this NFT drop was just sample loops and raw melodies, it was understood that most buyers would be using it for remixing.
However, because the purchase conferred full legal rights to the musical material, it effectively allowed the buyer to monetize the remixes however they wanted to. This included selling the remixes on an NFT marketplace or playing the compositions on metaverse property that they own.
The electronic music artist 3LAU has fully embraced all the exciting possibilities of music NFTs. In November 2021, their enthusiasm for this technology culminated in their release of an NFT song called WAVEFORM. This was a marquee offering in collaboration between Christie's auction house, the NFT marketplace OpenSea, and 3LAU's own Royal business venture, which is dedicated to tokenizing music on the blockchain.
WAVEFORM was an original 3LAU track with just one copy in existence. The buyer of this single NFT gained full mastering, copyright, and publishing rights to this piece of intellectual property. This means that they can distribute, monetize, remix, and even rename the track however they see fit. Plus, the NFT also included a physical sculpture of the WAVEFORM waveform.
Find The Latest Music NFTs At The Husl
The HUSL is a music NFT marketplace on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain with one-of-a-kind collectibles, unique music products, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and access to exclusive events. We specialize in music NFTs, so our drops also include the newest NFT albums and songs.
If the artist decides to mint the NFT with copyright and publishing rights, then the NFT buyer can remix and monetize the NFT as they see fit. On the other hand, if the artist retains all rights to their intellectual property, then the buyer could still hypothetically remix the content as long as it fell under the Fair Use doctrine.
The mission of the Husl is to connect fans and creators within the growing metaverse, all while radically prioritizing an exclusive and communal experience for users. As a result, we’ve also developed our own metaverse known as the Huslverse. Within this digital world, there are multiple venues and locations where users could monetize, play, or display any NFT remixes that they might create.
At the end of the day, buying and selling music NFTs on a marketplace like The Husl takes a lot of the power and profit from middlemen and corporations and gives it back to creators and fans. It’s a total overhaul of the music business, making it more geared towards the musicians and their biggest fans.
To get started with music NFTs, launch the HUSL app today!