Music and film using NFTs to drive the future of fan engagement

Music and Film

By Anastasia Samaras

Last week, Upstream hosted the featured panel at Benzinga’s NFT Listmakers event bringing together industry trailblazers to discuss key insights. Upstream’s panel discussed music and films entry into the NFT world and what it means for the future of fan engagement.

You can enjoy listening to our panel at your leisure here on Youtube. Key takeaways can also be found below.

Setting the stage for the discussion

Across 14 NFT marketplaces, total trading volume skyrocketed from $85.7 million in 2020 to $19.6 billion in 2021! NFTs are being integrated everywhere from sports to music, even traditional exchanges are tapping into the space.

Despite the rapid increase in trading volume, NFTs haven’t yet reached the everyday fan. According to Chainalysis’s 2021 NFT Market Report, a mere 20% of user addresses on OpenSea accounted for 80% of secondary NFT sales, while just 5% of all addresses account for 80% of profits made on secondary sales.¹

We consider that this boils down to a lack of knowledge surrounding blockchain technology and the hurdles involved in participating, as well as the overall price points for popular NFT collections and their associated gas fees.

Despite these roadblocks, people are eager to get involved. While the excitement is traditionally focused on the high prices these NFT collections can get, the community engagement component runs even deeper.

For instance, the Bored Ape Yacht Club “BAYC” NFT collection, whose NFTs go for an average of $234,000 saw just 152 traders in the last week.² However a closer look at Bored Ape Yacht Club’s wider community shows 680,000 Twitter followers and a discord community with over 146,000 fans.

We believe as the NFT process becomes more user-friendly and affordable — something Upstream showcases with its NFT platform — forward-thinking entities across sports, music, and entertainment will open the doors to an entirely new wave of NFT collectors.

Trends in music, film, and TV that are empowering creators


The way music is created and consumed has evolved greatly.

Streaming, technology, online beat marketplaces, and other music creation platforms have all enabled creators to take back ownership of their content in the digital world.

Leading artists are selling their catalogs, publishing rights, and music royalties to buyers eager to scoop up music IP. Hipgnosis Songs Fund has already spent upwards of $2 billion to acquire music catalogs.³

Gary Marella, Co-Founder of Beatclub has seen the way creators make music shift and highlighted how the rise of streaming has impacted artists — especially during the pandemic. He stressed the importance for up-and-coming artists to capitalize in all the areas they can with NFTs being a viable revenue source.

In addition to Beatclub’s award-winning roster of producers and songwriters, the platform also allows producers to retain 100% of their musical rights and income, set pricing terms, and retain publishing shares and royalties. Beatclub makes it easy for artists and producers to connect and work together and sees NFTs as an innovative way to connect producers and artists to the fans.

Joel Madden, Singer from Good Charlotte and Founder of Veeps; echoed his thoughts. Veeps’ mission is to inspire and enable artists and performers to build a sustainable business, on their own terms. As a creator himself, he’s seen creators take back control of their music and can see the value of integrating digital merchandise into their brands.

Today, there are over 8 million musicians on Spotify. Only 7,500 of them, 0.09% of the group, make more than $100K per year.¹ Artist recognition in an ocean of creators is clearly difficult. In order to stand out, musicians need to focus on audience building across various platforms.

Using NFTs, artists can offer authentic digital collectibles in the form of tickets, videos, audio clips, reward-based NFTs, and more. Creators benefit from these new revenue streams while fans are given the ability to closely support musicians and collect digital pieces surrounding the music they love. This path has the potential to create loyal brand ambassadors and generate brand longevity as NFTs continue to trade. Further, as the NFTs trade, creators dictate the resale royalty which can be paid in perpetuity.

Film & TV

The panel then proceeded to Aaron Gilbert, CEO of BRON Media Corp, to discuss the evolution of Web 3.0 components being embraced by film, tv, and entertainment.

He highlights how NFTs or what he likes to call ‘Digital Merch’ is an exciting new opportunity for BRON to come across and how this is an amazing space for not only the filmmakers but the audience and consumers as well.

Aaron discussed one of BRON Media’s specialties is Indie Movies and with that, there needs to be fan engagement from day 1. He highlighted that there will be trial and error but that is a part of the path to building opportunity and unlocking new immersive experiences for audiences.

The height of popular streaming services and the pandemic have driven fans away from theaters and has created a competitive environment for filmmaking, which has also altered cinema as a whole. NFTs represent an innovative ability to generate buzz and a fan base from pre-production past distribution.

Imagine the excitement audiences can look forward to with digital tickets, access to new digital content, or NFTs that unlock experiences like a red-carpet walk, having your name said in the film, a digital meet and greet with a commemorative NFT, and more!

Considerations for brands entering the NFT market

As more musicians, studios, and more enter the NFT space, our panelists shed light on what to look out for.

  • Friction points to participate in the NFT market. Consumers are used to high-tech, high-touch apps that enable them to purchase or receive merchandise with a few snaps and clicks. Keeping the NFT process familiar is crucial in keeping an on-brand and streamlined process. For most NFT platforms users must have a wallet, purchase crypto, connect their wallet, and more. Upstream removes these friction points by keeping blockchain technology under the hood by supporting in-app wallet creation; flexible payment options like PayPal, credit, debit, USDC digital currency, and traditional bank payments; and simple trading tools.
  • Price points. Gas fees have to be paid regardless of whether a bid on an NFT is successful. On most Ethereum platforms, users are responsible for these high fees which deter fans from participating. Upstream is a layer 2- Ethereum platform and covers users’ gas fees all in a carbon-neutral way. Because of this, creators can offer truly free NFTs as fan engagement offerings or sell millions of NFTs with no gas fees!
  • Authentication (KYC/AML). It’s important for brands to protect the authenticity of their NFTs and ensure they aren’t selling to bad actors. Upstream verifies all buyers and sellers to maintain a safe and secure trading ecosystem.
  • Licensing, copyright protection. Upstream enables creators to dictate their resale royalties and receive continuous NFT revenue throughout an NFT’s lifecycle.

Creators now have the potential of developing and maintaining ownership of innovative digital content to help evolve their personal and professional brands. Music, photography, video, and sports are just a few subcategories of the cultural collection and will continue to grow into fruition.

Fun NFT Stats

  • There are 2M active NFT users on Ethereum; unique wallets that sent or received NFTs¹
  • Most popular types of NFTs include PFPs 44.2%, Cultural collectibles 42.6%, Gaming 5.1%, Art 8.0%¹
  • Total trading volume for NFTs = $19.6B¹
  • CryptoPunks highest single sale=$11.5M¹
  • BAYC highest single sale=$2.8M¹

Concluding Thoughts

To hear more on the panelist’s perspective on music and film using NFTs to drive future engagement, Click here. To connect with Upstream reach us at

Join Upstream’s Discord community:


  1. 2021 NFT Year in Review | 2 DappRadar | 3 Forbes

About Upstream

Upstream, a MERJ Exchange Market, is a fully regulated global stock exchange for digital securities. Powered by Horizon’s proprietary matching engine technology, the exchange enables investors to trade shares in IPOs, NFTs, U.S., and international dual-listed equities, and celebrity ventures directly from the app Interested issuers can reach the team at

About Horizon

Horizon is a fintech company that builds and powers global securities exchanges with an integrated suite of software for compliant issuance, management, and secondary trading of securities. Their in-house solutions combine Wall Street and Silicon Valley to power the next generation of securities offerings and trading in the U.S. and globally. Learn more at


Upstream is a MERJ Exchange market. MERJ Exchange is a licensed Securities Exchange, an affiliate of the World Federation of Exchanges, and a full member of ANNA. MERJ supports global issuers of traditional and digital securities through the entire asset life cycle from issuance to trading, clearing, settlement, and registry. It operates a fair and transparent marketplace in line with international best practices and principles of operations of financial markets. Upstream does not endorse or recommend any public or private securities bought or sold on its app. Upstream does not offer investment advice or recommendations of any kind. All brokerage services offered by Upstream are intended for self-directed clients who make their own investment decisions without aid or assistance from Upstream. All customers are subject to the rules and regulations of their jurisdiction. By accessing the site or app, you agreed to be bound by its terms of use and privacy policy. Company and security listings on Upstream are only suitable for investors who are familiar with and willing to accept the high risk associated with speculative investments, often in early and development stage companies. There can be no assurance the valuation of any particular company’s securities is accurate or in agreement with the market or industry comparative valuations. Investors must be able to afford market volatility and afford the loss of their investment. Companies listed on Upstream are subject to significant ongoing corporate obligations including, but not limited to disclosure, filings, and notification requirements, as well compliance with applicable quantitative and qualitative listing standards.




A MERJ Exchange Market. Ethereum-powered exchange for IPOs, NFTs, & Celebrity ventures

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