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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Irwin

Universal Music Group’s Bored Ape supergroup shows the music industry is all-in on NFTs

The band isn't BAYC's first foray into the music scene, but it's a big move for UMG.


Concerts in the metaverse: Depending on who you are, they either sound like an even worse version of the pandemic events we livestreamed throughout 2020 or the perfect solution for enjoying music without the irritation of drunken crowds.

For the latter, Universal Music Group (UMG) just acquired another NFT from the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) collection to front UMG's metaverse band, Kingship. Get out your 2022 bingo card, because this has it all.

Yes, that's right: a metaverse band. UMG has been pouring money into Kingship since November. All of the members are NFTs, and though the company hasn’t said how much it spent on all the NFTs, two of the ones it already owned were priced at about $125,000 in November.

Today UMG announced that it paid $360,817 worth of ethereum to buy a Bored Ape named Manager Noet All, who will be the band’s leader.

The fact that UMG is creating a cartoon-character-led band with NFTs bought and sold on a public, immutable distributed ledger is new for a label that has made its name with decidedly more conventional artists. But this isn’t the first venture into the music scene for BAYC characters in general. Aziz Ansari, The Strokes, Lil Baby and Questlove all performed at “Ape Fest,” a crypto music festival held in New York in November. Timbaland has an entertainment brand with the collective, called “Ape-In Productions.” And Bored Ape #9797 made a music video in December, making it the first NFT to do so.

But the fact that UMG is actually purchasing the NFTs, rather than licensing a music group, shows the growing power of the Bored Apes’ IP. Apes are solidifying their place in the NFT space thanks to high-profile celebrity endorsements, with everyone from Snoop Dogg to Paris Hilton swapping out their Twitter profile pics for Ape NFTs. BAYC owner Yuga Labs used that cultural capital to acquire management of the IPs for CryptoPunks and Meebits last week, too.

Who knew Gorillaz was so prescient?

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