UMG and 10:22 purchase new NFT for $361k as part of ongoing Kingship project

In an update on Universal’s 10:22 label’s NFT project, it has been announced that the label has acquired the NFT Bored Ape #5537 for near $361k. The new character, named Manager Noët All, will serve as leader of 10:22’s all-NFT virtual band, Kingship. The members of Kingship are all Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs, on loan from collector Jim McNelis

Last November, 10:22 label head Celine Joshua announced that the UMG offshoot had plans to launch a band made solely of NFTs, who would exist in the digital space and eventually produce and perform music in the metaverse. Joshua elaborated that as with any artist, 10:22 would work with Kingship to develop their sound and identity. “Each member of the group has their own story and personality that influences and contributes to Kingship’s overall narrative,” she explained. A team of 3D animators have been hired to turn the 2D NFT avatars into 3D models. 

While Kingship has drawn instant comparisons to similar music projects such as The Gorillaz or holographic pop star Hatsune Miku, the band’s announcement has faced criticism for the major label cash grab they appear to be. While NFTs have opened up a creator driven space and promises to see a new music market emerge, moves such as this from major labels often feel like moves to maintain commercial and market dominance or further their own financial gain. This belief is especially exacerbated by news that Kingship’s music and material would first be made exclusively available to collectors of the Bored Ape Yacht Club and its sister NFT series, Mutant Ape. According to Joshua, these collectors would “have early access to all Kingship NFTs, experiences, and narrative selection.” Seeing as there are only thousands of such collectors, the likes of whom include influential figures such as Snoop Dog and Justin Bieber, this exclusivity could allow UMG and 10:22 to use demand to control the cost of public access to Kingship’s material.