Summer of 2021 saw an explosion of NFTs. Many artists have earned life changing money during this time. There is no doubt that many podcasts will eventually launch NFTs. But how does a podcast launch a successful NFT project?
NFTs Best Explained
Some readers might think NFTs are a scam, or stupid, or worthless. But let me try to convince you right here. NFTs can be viewed like owning stock in a creator. When you buy one of their NFTs and their popularity goes up, chances are the value of their NFTs go up too. Which changes everything.
With Patreon you aren't so much investing as you are empowering. You can't ever get your money back when you give to a creator on Patreon. It's more like a donation. But with an NFT, when you buy one from a creator, the creator gets money, but that NFT is also worth money that you can sell later. Which means you're invested, which means when the podcast wins an award, you feel proud of your investment because you have skin in the game.
Two Not-So-Good Podcast NFT Projects
The first podcast that I saw to launch an NFT was Techmeme Ride home. Here is a link to their NFT.
Another NFT that didn't go far was for Dexter Guff's podcast.
Both of these saw little to no activity. The Techmeme one had 10 tokens for sale. But they did not list a price. Instead let people bid and they would manually accept bids as they came in. About 20 people bid, and they accepted 2 of these bids.
The Dexter Guff one was just a 1 of 1 item. Starting off for sale at 3 Eth (~$12,000) and was lowered to 1 Eth (~$4,000). It had one bid for 0.01 Eth (about $40) but it was not accepted. It earned $0.
I don't like how either of these attempted to launch their NFTs. I don't blame them though, nobody knows what we're doing here. But there are a few things I hope they learn from this. First, having such a low amount of tokens is not recommended. In Dexter Guff's case, there was just 1. He has thousands of fans, why let only 1 have a token? It's better to make a lot of items, hundreds or thousands of items for people to have. I like to think of an NFT like it's a stock. But instead of investing in a company, you're investing in a creator. And you wouldn't ever see a company make just 1 stock available for someone to buy.
Gary Vaynerchuck launched the VeeFriends NFT. If you're not familiar with Gary he has a podcast called The GaryVee Audio Experience where he talks about marketing. I believe it's the biggest podcast about marketing out there and has over 2,000 episodes. Gary has also written like 5 books, and is endlessly giving his knowledge to people. In 2021 he launched the NFT "VeeFriends".
The point of these are simple. People appreciate what Gary has taught them over the years and are more than happy to invest in him. Gary doesn't have ads on his podcast, or ask for donations ever. So this is a way for many of his fans to actually show thanks and and give him money. And as Gary continues to rise in popularity, these NFTs go up too. People bought these for about 0.5 Eth or $2,000 each. He sold thousands of them, and completely sold out. And today the cheapest one is worth 8.3 Eth or $37,000. And it's a picture of this.
Now you might be saying, that's the stupidest drawing ever. Why would someone pay that much for that dumb looking cartoon? It's not about the art in this case. It's because this podcaster has provided so much value to his listeners that they are investing in him. Not his art. The art just provides a symbolic token. A one of a kind unique piece of art that Gary made that you can hold and see. And if you compare that to a stock you buy in a company you don't even get to see anything when you buy a stock. So having a little picture makes ownership feel more meaningful. And I'm so happy Gary did this, because it clearly shows that the art doesn't matter, it's the creator that does. And surely any of you can draw something this basic too.
As of this writing, the VeeFriends NFT project has earned Gary 15,472 Eth or $66,813,269.23. This was a huge success for him.
Everything by 3LAU
There aren't many podcasters making NFTs yet. So I don't have a lot of good examples of a good NFT launch that a podcast has done. But 3LAU is a musician and earlier this year he released a single called Everything and released an NFT along with the song.
This NFT project consists of 175 items, all are exactly the same with the cover art for the song.
You don't get any extra music with this, or the rights to anything new. You just get this image. But I think this could be a perfectly fine model for a podcast NFT. A cool image, and a few hundred pieces.
You could also look at Zeneca's NFT.
Zeneca made an NFT which is simply a letter which grants you membership to the Discord community and a promise that he will continue to provide value to the members. This too sold out as Zeneca has an online following that appreciates how helpful he's been.
VeeFriends, 3LAU's Everything, and Zeneca's NFT are great examples of how simple an NFT can be. Make something yourself or cool looking, and make it available for hundreds of fans to buy if they want.
Tips For Success
So if you're going to launch an NFT for your podcast here's some things I recommend.
- Chances are you'll be lucky if 1% of your audience buys your NFT. 1% of my audience doesn't even subscribe to me on Patreon, and I've seen this number kicked around a few times. The thing is, this is for true fans of your show. The ones who love you and have told 50 people about your show, and want to support you with money. On top of that, this is only for people who understand and want to buy NFTs. Not all your listeners do. So you should size your NFT to accommodate 1% of your audience if they want to buy it. I would go no less than 50 items, and not go over 2,000 or 3,000. You may see NFTs with 10,000 items. Those are very hard to sell out and you probably don't have an audience that big. You also want to make a bit of scarcity so the value goes up over time if you continue to provide value to listeners. If you have a limited amount then as new listeners find your show and want to buy an NFT they have to buy from someone else who is also a big fan. This makes the price go up.
- Create something cool for the fans to have. Currently, images are what's hot in NFT land. So consider making a whole bunch of unique images like VeeFriends. Or some cool artwork and just make x copies of that. NFT holders like showing off their wallet, and they want to show how they like your podcast. They want to rep your show, so make their rep look slick! If you can make something that looks super cool, then that by itself might be enough for people to like it and buy it. I've bought NFTs from artists I didn't know but liked their work. So find a way to represent your podcast in a great way visually. If you have a theme song you could add that to the NFT to just add some audio too, but I don't think it's necessary. Look at 3LAU's NFT above, he made the NFT with the song and it doesn't even have the audio from the song.
- Consider granting NFT holders perks. Such as access to your Discord. Access to periodic meetups or online voice chat rooms with you. Access to your newsletter. Access to bonus episodes, or early release episodes. Right now there's not a simple way to provide the bonus content to NFT holders. But if you're tech savvy enough you could program your website to check visitors NFT wallets to see if they have the NFT and if so, they get access to a part of your website that is for NFT holders only. And in there could be bonus content. Keep this in mind when deciding how many tokens to mint. How big do you want your exclusive group to be? Limiting it makes it feel more special to be part of, but it also means the group can't grow organically.
- Market it, market it, market it. You have an audience already, your podcast listeners. But hopefully you've been building more than just your podcast audience and have Twitter followers, LinkedIn Followers and maybe even a community like on Facebook or Discord. You'll want to get the hype going before the launch. You don't want to surprise people by just throwing down an NFT. You want to schedule it, tell your audience, and have an online party on the launch day. It's a very exciting day! So leading up to it, make sure to tell all your audience many times about it. Then after it's launched, you'll want to periodically mention it on the show. "Hey don't forget we have an NFT for the podcast, you can find more at X."
Now obviously I'm bullish on podcasts making NFTs. But if you launch an NFT, expect to get hate mail. People are extremely opinionated about this topic. A lot of people think it's a scam and ponzi scheme. You will lose followers, and lose listeners. Be prepared for this. Educate yourself on NFTs. Be ready to answer hard questions listeners have like "isn't that a scam?" and "isn't it bad for the planet?" and "you're just doing a cash grab!" I'll answer some of these criticisms here but expect to have this battle a lot as you hype it up and launch it.
"NFTs are a ponzi or pyramid scam!" In a ponzi and pyramid scam the early investors get paid by investors who come in after them. And they are always guaranteed an increase in return. So to start, never guarantee that buying your NFT will go up in value. Instead focus on it enabling the creator and funding them. Second, the money doesn't go to other investors. It goes to the creator. If one NFT holder wants to sell it to another NFT holder that's just the same as buying and selling a stock in a company. So it's no where near either of these scams. However, there are a LOT of scams going on in the NFT space, so it's not clean of scammy people. The common ones are for creators to make an NFT then just disappear after launch, or someone hacks the creators website and puts their crypto wallet in place of the creators so the money goes to someone else. Make sure to practice good security. Listen to the CoinSec podcast to hear about scams going on.
"NFTs are bad for the planet!" The biggest NFT marketplaces are powered by the Ethereum cryptocurrency. To run the Eth network requires a lot of computers that all use a lot of energy. In 2022 we expect to see Eth2 take the place of Eth. Which will reduce the power required by over 90%. There are other cryptocurrencies like Tezos and Solana which are more eco friendly as they require less power to operate. You may want to launch your NFT there if this is a concern of yours.
"NFTs are just a cash grab!" I think paying creators that enrich our lives is not a cash grab. Most podcasts are free, this is a way to support the creator. It's especially good when we can pay the smaller indie creators. However I do see large corporations jumping in. Such as Adidas, Taco Bell, NBA, Coca-Cola. There are also celebrities jumping in, slapping their name on anything and making an NFT. Some of these are clearly cash grabs for people who have enough money already. If this is a concern of yours you may want to consider setting your initial price very low, like $5, or donating a % to charity.
Some artists have launched an NFT and made life changing money. I've seen teenagers earn hundreds of thousands of dollars from their art, and are being paid way more than any company would pay them to make art. But they have so much more freedom and a community behind them. NFTs provide a new way for artists and creators to be paid.
On top of the initial sale (minting) of an NFT project, the creator also gets a commission every time that NFT is sold later on. This is typically between 2.5-15%. So while people are actively trading your NFT you can continue to earn money, almost like a built in royalty. This means the more success you have the more your NFTs are in demand and the more they trade and more money you make. So it's nice to see a flow come in for years.
A lot of NFTs today are building a community. Typically this is on Discord where you can chat with others. And it's pretty rewarding to see fans of your show come take part of the NFT. It brings people closer together and you get to know people better.
When people own your NFT they take their superfan status to the next level. Now they are invested in your success. They may proudly display their NFT as their profile picture, or show it off however they can. Some people who own NFTs have even paid for ad space in Times Square in NYC to show it off. This kind of fan will absolutely bring more awareness to you. They want to see you succeed because they want their NFT to go up in value, and they want that feeling of knowing they were there at the ground floor before you blew up. There's a satisfying feeling about all that.
Love em or hate em, I believe NFTs have proven their ability to fund creators online and will continue to grow into the podasting space. I predict we'll see hundreds of podcasts launching NFTs in 2022. And probably thousands more in 2023. Hopefully this was helpful at understanding how to make a great NFT project for your podcast. If you do launch one for your podcast please let me know! I want to keep track of this space. Or if you just have more questions feel free to ask. This is a very exciting space to be part of and I love talking about this.