Jamil “Deputy” Pierre, producer of Rihanna’s hit track “Bitch Better Have My Money,” has utilized the help of European crypto startup AnotherBlock to redistribute 0.99% of his streaming royalty rights as 300 Ethereum NFTs. The collection sold out on Thursday, and according to Etherscan contract data, 205 people were granted ownership over a fractional portion of the song’s copyright. Each token promises lifetime ownership of 0.0033% rights to the master recording and offers holders a percentage in streaming royalties, all amounting to $63,000 worth of revenue. This essentially places a total valuation of $6.36 million on the song’s streaming rights alone.
It is still unclear what percentage of the royalties Deputy has retained after the sale, as the published NFT Ownership Agreement does not disclose this information. When asked for comment, Deputy has yet to respond. However, a source familiar with royalty splits in the traditional music industry stated that typically a producer’s total share of proceeds is less than 5%.
The agreement stipulated that AnotherBlock would be responsible for minting the NFTs on Deputy’s behalf. Additionally, secondary sales and transfer rights were permitted under the terms of the contract, requiring Deputy to pay holders of his NFTs twice a year based on any streaming royalties earned from their respective investments.
AnotherBlock estimates possible returns for the Rihanna song to be approximately 6.5% annually, translating to roughly $13.65 annually for a buyer. This indicates that it would take an initial investor around 15 years to earn back their investment, which implies that this drop is more likely meant as a digital souvenir for Rihanna admirers than a bona fide financial asset.
Though selling portions of music rights via NFTs isn’t an entirely novel idea – Justin “3LAU” Blau’s Web3 music platform Royal raised $16 million in 2021 and launched its marketplace last November – with over $132,000 already paid out in royalties to NFT owners.