From Mixtapes to NFTs: French Montana on Music and Crypto

“Only the strong survive at this point," three-time Grammy-nominated rapper French Montana said about the future of NFTs on CoinDesk TV’s “First Mover” program.

AccessTimeIconJun 16, 2022 at 8:26 p.m. UTC
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Fran is a TV writer and reporter at CoinDesk. He owns no crypto holdings.

French Montana is making a change in his music. The multiplatinum-selling rapper said it’s because he finally owns all of his music rights.

“I found a way to grow closer with my fans,” Montana said on CoinDesk TV’s “First Mover” program ahead of the French Family PNP non-fungible token (NFT) collection launch.

Montana, who emigrated from Morocco to the Bronx at the age of 13, told CoinDesk that owning the rights to his music has given him the freedom to “give people exactly what they’re worth when they come and spend their time and money with you.”

The collection consists of 10,000 NFTs, each of which unlocks NFT music rights to Montana’s upcoming album, “Montega.” Rare NFTs, also included in the collection, will give backstage access to Montana’s global concerts for nearly three years, starting June 20, 2022. Buyers of super-rare NFTs, or those linked directly with the Montega music NFT (MTG), will have commercial rights to “Montega,” as well as rights to performances, remixes and resell.

The three-time Grammy nominated rapper adds that it is an opportunity for fans to get up close and personal with him, in addition to gaining a private club membership to the USM Metaverse, a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO). The DAO lets users earn money across various verticals, including gaming, music and even virtual land ownership.

Fifteen years ago, Montana got his start in the music industry by selling mixtapes and DVDs. Now, the ecosystem looks vastly different, and he’s aiming to keep up.

“When I first started, when I did the DVDs, I felt like the Christopher Columbus to the game,” he said. “I kind of feel the same way with NFTs.”

Ahead of his album release, Montana is looking to capitalize on the NFT craze, which prompted users last year to send $44 billion worth of cryptocurrency to smart contracts associated with NFT marketplaces and collections, according to Chainalysis.

Montana told CoinDesk that he held off jumping into NFTs until he felt he was ready to bring something unique to the table.

“Only the strong survive at this point,” he said regarding the future of NFTs.

Nonetheless, this isn’t Montana’s first foray into NFTs. In November, he promoted NFTs tied to his footwear line, Coke Boys, manufactured by LA Sneaker. And in April, he was one of many bold-faced names to promote an NFT series called Bored Bunny, a send-up of Bored Apes and which many accuse of being a rug pull.

When asked if he’s wary about investing in celebrity-endorsed projects like the Bored Bunny collection, which made a number of empty promises to users before going rogue, Montana said, “I make honest investments in things that I believe in.”

The changing music industry

Montana points to platforms like TikTok and Instagram, which have catapulted artists into the mainstream, all while democratizing and leveling the playing field in the music business, to a certain degree.

Now, Montana wants to be in control of his brand. “I’m glad I’m able to capitalize off of my own creative,” he said, and advises new artists to do the same.

“That’s what gave me the leverage to even be here and to come out with this French Family PFP,” he said.

Montana’s French Family PFP NFT, which will be available on the USM Metaverse, will be released via an airdrop on Monday, June 20. The album, “Montega,” is scheduled to be released on June 24.


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CoinDesk - Unknown

Fran is a TV writer and reporter at CoinDesk. He owns no crypto holdings.

CoinDesk - Unknown

Fran is a TV writer and reporter at CoinDesk. He owns no crypto holdings.