Intended as a means of maintaining control over one’s works, NFTs allow the transfer of specific rights which thus become an alternative source of financing for studio investments.
Against the all too consensual and commercial choices of the record majors, become the producer yourself! Thus was born My Major Company in 2007, promising Internet users that they would choose, in exchange for producer quotas, the artists who would sign with this new label. Eventually, internet users funded the recording and it was indeed a major, Warner Music, that ensured the commercialization of the albums. For labels, independence stops at the confines of distribution chains.
The NFTs have raised the same bet by independent producers of animated films and series. NFT – non-fungible token – they are digital assets whose ownership is certified in the blockchain and which have the particularity of being unique – they are therefore not fungible, as are bitcoins, one currency is worth another (see The rem n ° 57-58, p.75). They are also unidentified or poorly identified legal objects, but each time they attest to a property right. What is rare to be expensive, prices have soared in 2021 for some virtual items sold in the form of NFTs, such as the opera. Every day: the first 5000 days by the American artist Beeple. In March 2021, Christie’s included it in its NFT disposal program and opened the auction for $ 100. It eventually sold for $ 69.3 million. Art, like fashion, loves excess. So there will be NFTs to dress up your avatar, your character, in a completely unique and expensive way, finally these worthy representatives of ourselves in virtual worlds, be they video games, metaverses or, more prosaically, our presence on social networks. digital.
In film, NFTs are also seen as a new source of revenue. Quentin Tarantino has decided to sell as NFT script pages and outtakes from pulp Fiction. Except that the intellectual property exists outside the blockchain and the film’s producer – Miramax studios, currently controlled by beIN Media Group and ViacomCBS – felt that the contract signed with Quentin Tarantino prohibited him from marketing these elements of the film, which led to a complaint, in November 2021, in a California court.
Sometimes, NFTs are not only used to generate additional income, they can also be the source of finance for the job. In this case, the characters are put up for sale, participation in the profits of the work, access to a fan club or watching the work itself … and the fans are there. Both producers and artists can, for their part, fully control their rights as they decide what they want to sell. The emblematic example is the series Stoner cats, whose financing in the form of an NFT was launched in July 2021: 10,000 NFTs were offered for sale at 0.35 Ether (the currency associated with the Ethereum blockchain), or about $ 800, which was sold in thirty-five minutes. The transferred NFTs here constitute a right of access to the episodes produced. The enthusiasm was general because the stars were there to lend their voices to the different cats : Mila Kunis, at the origin of the project, but also Ashton Kutcher. Mila Kunis explained in a podcast the reasons for using NFTs to allow access to this series, reasons that testify to the will of the artists to appropriate the quota of rights so far controlled by the studios: “I produce content for TV and I had to do an animated series for a channel. There is so much content, and I have so little control once sold, that I wanted to return ownership of the content to the artist. I want a transparent system. So I thought about doing it in NFT. “
But just like My Major Company needed to create hum to make the artists produced vital, thus attracting the “stars” of the Star academy, it is very likely that the financing of films and series by NFTs, if it can promote independent production, will remain subject to marketing logic. The bet, in this context, is whether the promotion of the works will be able to do without the majors, the giants SVOD services, and rely exclusively on online initiatives that will promote a greater diversity of works and investments. In the end, it’s about taking back the long tail bet, like in the music business.
- “Mila Kunis creates Stoner catsan animated series available in NFT ”, 20minutes.fr, July 27, 2021.
- “Miramax and Quentin Tarantino collide for NFT’s pulp Fiction “, Nicolas Rauline, The echoesNovember 18, 2021.
- “NFTs open a new way of financing cinema and series”, Nicolas Madelaine, The echoesDecember 30, 2021.