Yahoo Finance senior reporter Jennifer Schonberger speaks with multiplatinum music producer and singer songwriter B. Howard about his latest music as well as the benefits NFTs are having on the music industry.
JENNIFER SCHONBERGER: This is "Yahoo Finance Presents." I'm Jennifer Schonberger. NFTs have become a $40 billion market, and they are changing the music industry, offering a brand-new revenue stream. Here to weigh in is one artist that's using NFTs and believes they could revolutionize the industry, while allowing all of us to invest. Joining me now is multi-platinum music producer and singer-songwriter B. Howard. B, welcome to Yahoo Finance. It's great to have you on the program.
B. HOWARD: Great to be here, how are you feeling?
JENNIFER SCHONBERGER: So let's kick things off and talk about what impact NFTs could have on the future of the music industry. How do you see NFTs impacting the industry?
B. HOWARD: I see NFTs impacting the music industry by, like, taking it to the next level. Whereas like before, you're just relying on a record label. But now, it's like you have more transparency. And where you're doing your streams from, where your income streams are coming from. And also involving your fans and everyone to invest in what they're listening to, and actually grow with you as you're growing as an artist. It's pretty exciting. It's like super exciting in that.
JENNIFER SCHONBERGER: OK, so before we continue, I just want to create a little context for the audience, so that they know you are a huge music star internationally. You're one of the top artists in China. You're the number-one most requested international artist, Best New Artist in Eastern Europe. And you're coming back now to the US and branding here, and you recently just dropped a new song called "Don't Be A Stranger", right?
B. HOWARD: Yeah, yeah. "Don't Be A Stranger", it's my new single. Coming back here from touring and stuff overseas, it's really great to be here, and making something specifically for where my hometown is. And also creating new content specifically for my fans here and overseas, like 4D experiences and things that other people can get involved with, with NFT spaces and cryptocurrency. Even a coin.
JENNIFER SCHONBERGER: Yeah, OK, so to your point as you were mentioning, it seems that NFTs can really create a new revenue stream for artists. Are you finding that, and do you think it will sort of fuel the move that we're starting to see away from labels and allow artists to self-finance, particularly emerging artists, and better empower artists to have rights over their own music?
B. HOWARD: I do believe that this NFT thing is going to be definitely another revenue stream, but I don't think it's going to move away from the label, per se. I think it's just giving you more leverage in negotiating, and actually giving more room for labels to not be dependent on an artist and an artist not to be dependent on a label, but working simultaneously to have a bigger revenue stream and a bigger outcome.
And having more longevity-type fans. You know, there was a time in the early '80s and '90s where you had big megastars, and those fans stayed with you throughout time. Creating a space where fans can invest, where everyone is thinking about investing, everyone is thinking about crypto and things like that, fans are investing in your product. And they're going to be long-term with you throughout your career and growing with you. And that's where I see it going.
JENNIFER SCHONBERGER: Yeah, to your point, it also seems that NFTs really offer the opportunity for fans to invest in the artist. In fact, we just saw a rapper, Nas, offer up a portion of his royalties through NFTs. Do you think that NFTs offer the opportunity to democratize investing in music publishing rights, and kind of invest along with the growth of the artist?
B. HOWARD: I think it works hand-in-hand. I thought it was a really interesting thing that Nas did that. And it's like it's pretty remarkable that fans now can really just be involved in your growth, and be involved even in the publishing aspect, which encourages them to learn more about what they're creating. Whereas in the past, you couldn't do that. And wow, it's definitely something that works hand-in-hand.
JENNIFER SCHONBERGER: Yeah, so it seems that NFTs on their face are easy to make, maybe inexpensive. But in practice, you kind of seem to need to know what you're doing. Sometimes the transaction costs can ratchet higher, which could maybe be a little expensive if you're a new emerging artist. So my question is, what percentage of adoption do you really think NFTs will have here? How much of the industry really stands to benefit?
B. HOWARD: It depends on the industry's stance to benefit. Again, this is why I say that it's not going to necessarily move away from labels, because a lot of artists are independent because they have capital and stuff behind them, or if they raise the capital with their NFT. But some of them don't know what they're doing or whatever and would need a team, where labels can provide that service and add onto, take care of those costs and handle the business of it, and it's more transparent.
JENNIFER SCHONBERGER: Now, you're using NFTs, creating your own NFTs. Tell us about that project, and when those are going to be coming out and where fans can find them.
B. HOWARD: Absolutely. Currently, I'm creating on a space in a metaverse with 4D Fun. And it's like unique for me. Like, I'm making pretty much a concert. A concert with like six, seven songs, in different universes, where I'll have different artists be in those universes and whatnot. And it's just a super creative space, and I'll make it available as an NFT globally. And it's been such a fun time, creating the space with Paul at 4D Fun. It's going to be good. It'll be available on my B Artificial sites, and also on the 4D Fun site.
JENNIFER SCHONBERGER: When can we expect that, B?
B. HOWARD: I'm looking more like third quarter. Late second, third quarter.
JENNIFER SCHONBERGER: Yeah, and you mentioned the metaverse, it sounds like a huge opportunity or creating these hologram performances, basically. And this sounds like the metaverse opportunity, a huge way for artists to rebrand themselves, market themselves, and monetize.
B. HOWARD: Yes, it is. And also, it's a huge place for other brands and whatnot to come in and be available. Like, at the concert space, I'll be able to have digital merchandise. I'll be able to have poster boards, stuff like that, billboards. Just as much as real life, where you have billboards and things like that, I can have those inside of my world that I'm creating, and create opportunities for other people, other businesses and whatnot to advertise in the space.
JENNIFER SCHONBERGER: OK, so there's partnerships for businesses as well, and you said you're looking to collaborate with other artists as well for these NFTs or forthcoming NFTs? Is that correct?
B. HOWARD: Yes, absolutely.
JENNIFER SCHONBERGER: Any names you'd like to drop?
B. HOWARD: I know that, for sure, I'd want to ask some of my friends like Jason Derulo, or Neo, or even Lupe Fiasco, guys that really enjoy that space.
JENNIFER SCHONBERGER: OK, interesting. Well, kind of switching gears a little bit, who has influenced your music the most and how has that impacted your career?
B. HOWARD: My music is influenced by a lot of different people. Particularly my home circle raising is, you know, Mickey Howard, the Jacksons, Chaka Khan, things like that, R&B people. And then on the other end, I really enjoy people like A-ha, you know, even Steam. You know, different genres of music.
JENNIFER SCHONBERGER: All right. So B, what's next for you, besides these NFTs?
B. HOWARD: More touring, expanding, bringing more artists into the forefront. You know, just expanding in different ways.
JENNIFER SCHONBERGER: Well, B, thanks so much for the insight. Best of luck on these NFTs. We can't wait to see them, and we hope to see you soon.
B. HOWARD: Thank you so much. See you.