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David Bowie comes back to life with new Music NFT

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David Bowie, widely regarded as one of the 20th century’s most influential musicians, and he was also very prolific, having created an enormous body of work throughout his career. He released no less than 27 studio albums, and 128 singles, in addition to numerous live albums and soundtracks. But it seems like the late singer-songwriter still has one song left to perform after passing away in 2016.

On Thursday, Gala Music, a division of Web3 company Gala Games, announced a collaboration with music publisher Warner-Chappell Music and producer Larry Dvoskin to release a never-before-heard rendition of David Bowie’s iconic 1983 tune “Let’s Dance” via a small batch of NFTs.

This is not Bowie’s first brush with the world of NFTs. In October of last year, it was reported that the David Bowie Estate partnered with OpenSea, one of the most prominent NFT marketplaces, to sell an NFT collection commemorating the singer’s life and themes from his artistic career. The collection is called “Bowie on the Blockchain“, and some of the items proved to be popular and sold for upwards of $120,000.


Let’s Dance!

On April 14th, 40 years to the day after “Let’s Dance” made its premiere, Gala Music will issue 3,003 NFTs, each with artwork created in Bowie’s honor. What’s tryly unique about these NFTs is that they will grant owners access to a previously unreleased version of “Let’s Dance,” which Dvoskin and Bowie co-produced in 2002.

Pay-what-you-want model

It seems making money directly from the sale of the NFTs is not the estate’s goal. The NFTs will be offered on a pay-what-you-want basis, with the initial sales revenues going to MusiCares, an organization that offers health and human assistance to the music industry. This is a laudable charitable effort that will be helpful to the music industry, while making available to the world new versions of Bowie’s great music. The previous NFT collection had its proceeds donated to  CARE, a nonprofit organization focused on fighting world hunger and global poverty.

One of Bowie’s most well-known songs to date, the blockbuster single was reimagined by Dvoskin as a “more dreamy, electronic” version of the tune. The song’s reimagining has been a longtime dream of the song’s composer and producer.

Dvoskin turned to Bowie’s estate in an effort to persuade it to distribute “Let’s Dance” via NFTs in light of the impending 40th anniversary of the song’s debut.

In a statement, Dvoskin explained that when he originally spoke with the executor of the Bowie Estate,

He told me he initially planned to listen to my pitch about releasing this as an NFT and then politely pass. However, he changed his mind after seeing the original 2002 email in which Bowie stated his eagerness for taking part in the recording. David was never able to see the completion of this brilliant project. We are now distributing it in accordance with his request.

Prior efforts criticized

Like we mentioned earlier, Bowie Estate’s entry onto the blockchain is not its first, having been preceeded by the series”Bowie on the Blockchain” in September in collaboration with online retailer OpenSea. At that time, fans of the late musician David Bowie harshly criticized the blockchain experiment as being at odds with his ethos and principles and actually boycotted the collection, which was also auctioned to benefit charity.

Warner Chappell Music, a division of Warner Music Group, presently owns the entirety of Bowie’s discography. The company paid more than $250 million for the collection early last year. To “unlock the power of Web3 for songwriters,” the music label announced a partnership with Web3 entertainment startup Defient in November 2022.

First completely native NFT agreement

For a song that had never been made available in physical or digital media, Dvoskin’s contract with the label is referred to as Warner Chappell Music’s “first completely native NFT agreement.”

As many other companies during these times ,Warner Music Group is in the middle of a layoff of 270 (4% of its workforce). However, they announced that they would spare workers participating in its expanding list of Web3 and AI efforts, citing “new tech initiatives as central to the company’s future.”

Gala Games is most well-known for its Web3 gaming endeavors of the same name, but it has also made strides in the fields of music and movies as it looks into new entertainment use cases for NFTs and tokens.

The firm came under fire earlier this year when it tweeted about new film projects starring celebrities Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Mark Wahlberg. The message, which appears to have increased the value of the startup’s native token GALA by roughly 115%, was eventually deleted and the startup apologized for being “a bit overzealous.” Gala made it clear that the production businesses for the two actors are collaborating on independent documentary film projects unconnected to their personal lives or professions.

Other artists adopting the world of NFTs

Other artists and music estates have tried to explore the potential of the NFT world, such as Biggie Smalls’ estate, which partnered in July of last year with music NFT marketplace OneOf to release “Sky’s the Limit,” a 3,000-piece collection of generative art profile pictures (PFPs). Also in December of last year, OneOf partnered with Whitney Houston’s estate to sell an unreleased track of the late artist as an NFT for $1 million.


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