As NFTs become more mainstream, an increasing number of celebrities are jumping on the bandwagon. Many have criticized celebrity NFT drops as blatant cash grabs, but amidst the swarm are a few true champions of the technology .
Celebrity NFTs help accelerate adoption of NFTs by bringing culturally relevant content to the masses. Big names carry weight, and add credibility to a market that many have trouble wrapping their heads around.
While the internet is awash with articles on the biggest names to drop NFTs, we wanted to shine a light instead on the real celebrity MVPs who are helping spread awareness and drive adoption through their advocacy and support of the industry.
Linkin Park cofounder Mike Shinoda was the first major-label artist to drop a single as an NFT. Sold in an edition of 10 on NFT marketplace Zora, the NFT featured a 75-second clip of the song Happy Endings, accompanied by a collaborative animated artwork by artist Cain Caser and Shinoda himself. All 10 holders were sent a signed physical print of the art, and Shinoda’s proceeds went to the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California.
Shinoda is perhaps the most avid champion, and the go-to voice for NFTs in the music industry. “The beginning of the internet was all about the transfer of data. This movement is all about the transfer of value”, he said in an interview with Observer, “If you present your art in a way that fans perceive to be valuable, and you create the right format of your release, all of the sudden, you get an album being sold as an NFT for quite a bit more money than pennies on the stream…”
William Shatner is one of film and television’s most beloved stars, adored by many for his role as Captain James T. Kirk from the original Star Trek series and his title role in T.J Hooker. In 2020, he released 125,000 NFTs featuring photographs of personal memorabilia from his career. The collection on the WAX blockchain sold out in a record-breaking 9 minutes!
Shatner has long been an advocate of NFTs. Recently, he launched a blockchain authentication platform Third Millennia, which he co-founded with collectibles expert Paul Camuso.
“There is a saying that putting something online is forever. I disagree. Putting something on a blockchain is forever”, said Shatner in an interview with CoinTelegraph, “The revolution is coming, not merely in the streets but in the ether. It’s a revolution of knowledge.”
In April this year, Snoop Dogg released an NFT entitled A Journey with the Dogg, consisting of eight original pieces of art, an original music track called NFT, and a limited edition Snoop Dogge Coins.
Snoop Dogg has long been an advocate of NFTs, but we only came to see how involved he really was in August this year, when he revealed himself to be Cozomo de’ Medici – an NFT whale and a highly influential player in the NFT space with an estimated $17 million in holdings.
“It’s a big moment and a big technology that is changing the way artists do business and connect with our fans,” he said in an interview with Vanity Fair, “I believe in the technology and I believe in the global connection it creates.”
DJ/producer Steve Aoki is an avid fan of NFTs. Since March this year, he has released 2 NFT collections. The first was Dream Catcher, an 8 piece collection made in collaboration with artist Antoni Tudisco. Shortly after, he partnered with the co-founder of Impact Theory Tom Bilyeu, and a concept digital artist Maciej Kuciara to release Neon Future – an NFT collection inspired by their comic series of the same name.
Aoki sees NFTs as the future of digital creation, and has truly embraced the technology as a new way of engaging with fans. His official website has a page dedicated to the rewards offered to NFT holders – the extensive list includes airdrops, signed merchandise, backstage access, and much more!
“I do believe that this is where the world is going by any means necessary,” Aoki said in an interview with edm.com, “NFTs are a juggernaut that cannot be stopped. It will soon be normalized and be a structural pillar in our culture. If you’re reading this now, you’re early. Time to build, innovate and disrupt the entire space.”