rock band made up of virtual apes, created last year at the height of crypto mania, now has actual musicians putting together its sound—a pair of sought-after producers who have worked with Beyonce and Rihanna.
James Fauntleroy, and Chauncey Holis Jr. are now working on a new Kingship album. Kingship is a band Universal Music Group NV created as part of a wager it could generate income from virtual goods and services based around artists. A new phase in the project has been marked by the hiring of creative heavyweights. Fauntleroy won Grammys for work with Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z. Jay-Z and Nas collaborated with Hit-Boy.
“It only made sense to bring in the best creators and producers and songwriters,” said Celine Joshua, founder of Universal’s 10:22 record label. “For me, that process led to James and Hit-Boy.”
Joshua, the creator of Kingship is a four-digital character made up of tokens that are nonfungible. Her multi-year story plan for the apes includes album releases and metaverse performances. If all goes according to plan, they’ll take the world by storm and prove cryptocurrencies and NFTs are viable tools for the music industry.
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Techno-optimists have long been outlining the promise of so-called Web3, a decentralized version of today’s internet. Artists can sell NFTs to raise funds for album production. Through blockchain technology payments are transparent. Music groups have the ability to offer their fans an actual stake in their businesses.
This allows fans and favorite artists to have a deeper connection. NFTs For Kingship owners have special Discord access that allows them to communicate with each other and learn about their favorite acts. Future music and performance privileges are available.
Joshua indicated that Joshua is currently in his second phase, after seven. Joshua explained that there has been a collapse on the NFT and cryptocurrency markets.
Universal revealed Kingship last November, when optimism was high about cryptocurrency. NFT sales reached $25 billion in 2021. The price of Ether, a popular cryptocurrency for NFTs, peaked at $4800. The new market was a popular choice for investors, collectors, and the general public. CoinMarketCap reports that the Ether price has fallen more than 55% since last year. NFTs sales have fallen to their all-time lows of one year.
Joshua was forced to postpone her plans for selling NFTs to the band and to reduce the amount of NFTs she had sold before that. However, she has come back to her senses and generated $1.5 million through the sale of 5,000 Kingship NFTs this year. She also struck a deal with Mars Inc. for a special edition M&M’s.
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“We have seen the fluctuations in the marketplace and the decline of Ether and so many projects not fulfilling promises,” Joshua said. “Consumer sentiment changed. But we decided, or I decided, that we have a development plan.”
Fauntleroy was attracted by her passion and he now works as a digital artist. When Bitcoin was worth $99,000 it became his first investment. Additionally, he has more than 30 NFTs.
“I bought a bunch of things that ended up not being worth” anything, Fauntleroy said. “But when I saw this community, I was like, ‘Oh.’ This is an inevitable transition to fan-based interaction.”
In an early meeting with Fauntleroy and Hit-Boy, Joshua played Van Halen’s “Jump” as an inspiration for the sound. Rolling Stone ranked the 1984 song as the number 200 most popular in America and it topped Billboard’s US charts.
Fauntleroy, Hit-Boy and others are currently working on the sound they would like for this group. After weeks debating the members’ personalities, they’ve at least settled on their instruments of choice. Hud is an ape-like with laser eyes who sings lead. Arnell, an mutated ape is the DJ/drummer. King, a mutated ape, is the DJ/drummer and singer. Captain plays lead guitar.
“They are a rock band with rock ‘n’ roll personalities,” Fauntleroy said. “We are still building out exactly how they’ll express themselves.”
(Corrects spelling of Celine Joshua’s name in third paragraph.)
—With assistance from Olga Kharif.
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