(Credit: Spotify)

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A Tribe Called Quest to sell off song royalties as NFT

Legendary New York crew A Tribe Called Quest have jumped into the cryptocurrency game by announcing that a portion of their song royalties will now be available as a NFT.

For those of you without annoying college friends or incorrigible wannabe Silicon Valley cousins, an NFT is a non-fungible token that guarantees a unique digital asset. It’s a receipt for what you’re buying, which in this case is 1.5 per cent of sound recording royalties from each of the group’s first five albums (evidently some things still remain sacred, as the final Tribe album to feature Phife Dawg, We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service, which doubles as a tribute to the late rapper, is not included in the sale).

With a starting bet of $35,000, the purchaser of the NFT will receive royalty payments on any sales, streaming, radio, digital downloads and TV/film use of songs from People’s Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm through The Love Movement. Basically, if you hear ‘Jazz (We’ve Got)’ or ‘Can I Kick It?’ or even ‘Find a Way’ in a commercial or trailer, you’ll get paid. Not much, but you’ll get paid.

What this represents for A Tribe Called Quest is slightly mystifying at the moment. On one hand, it could be a savvy move for the remaining members of the Queens collective to jump into a viable economic market, possibly selling the NFT for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

On the other, it could represent a need for fast cash and/or a representation of just how little royalty payouts come from markets like streaming services and physical media purchases. Notice that merchandise sales are not included in the NFT purchase, because for many groups, sales of shirts and hoodies are a far more reliable and lucrative source of income than the music itself.

Either way, it’s all a bit strange to see. Not good, not bad, just strange. Like getting stomach aches when you gotta go to work, or staring into space when you’re feeling berserk.