Pop's Non-Fungible Future
Prestige Singapore|November 2021
Led by Japanese and South Koreans, Asian stars are entering the much-hyped NFT space. Jing Zhang talks to the people behind the just-launched Hong Kong-based platform KLKTN, and artists such as Kevin Woo and Miyavi.
There’s no fandom quite like K-pop or J-pop fandom. Just google BTS Army and you get the idea. With social media, streaming and stardom in this era, the relationship between stars and their legions of fans is an ever-evolving beast. Now these musicians are dipping their toes into the world of blockchain and NFTs, hot on the heels of digital visual artists. Beyond the hype and headlines, there’s a fundamental shift in ownership and the artist-fan dynamic that could flip the way music is funded.

South Korean-American K-pop star Kevin Woo says: “What attracted me the most to NFTs was the fact that I had absolute ownership of my music and art. I was able to create something special for my fans that had value emotionally and economically. It was a brand new way for me to express myself creatively.”

Woo has released limited-edition collectable artwork inspired by his latest single Got It, all produced in collaboration with Hong Kong-based NFT platform KLKTN (Kollektion). But that’s not all – his NFTs come with behind-the-scenes Moments in Woo’s life, private virtual-viewing parties with the singer and even exclusive one-on-one mini “dates”, where you can video chat with Woo as he drives around LA.

“Fans can get directly in on the fun and even take valuable assets for themselves as keepsakes,” says Woo. “Through NFTs, fans can now collect, own and share a piece of my music and artwork, allowing them to be a part of my artistic journey and eventually helping me produce more content for them.”

CHANGING TIMES

On the KLKTN platform, these artist NFTs are billed like a sexier, dynamic digital version of old-school sports trading cards, with each granting the owner special access and specialised content by said artist. Another star working with KLKTN is a Japanese rock legend, singer and guitarist Miyavi, who has massive local and worldwide followings.

“NFTs are something I’d never experienced before. Not only to me, but it’s also a new possibility for us. It’s a part of the future,” Miyavi says. “The world, especially the digital world, is evolving rapidly. How people consume content is changing.”

KLKTN co-founder and chief creative officer JeffMiyahara says: “We think we’re really on the cusp, the leading edge of this new universe, of being able to engage not only with traditional forms of entertainment but doing so in a more robust way via the internet and blockchain to an entire global audience.” As one of Japan’s most sought-after music producers and songwriters, Miyahara’s idea for KLKTN came about when his Pro League NBA friends told him about NBA’s Top Shot, a pioneering sports NFT platform.

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