Snoop Dogg, Ashanti and Lil Durk are early adopters venturing into the tech space with NFTs, an $11.7 billion digital marketplace that hit the scene in 2021.

Ashanti made history earlier this month (April 6) as the first Black female artist to become co-founder of a Web3 company, celebrating the 20th anniversary of her debut album Ashanti with a re-recorded NFT collection. Snoop recently acquired Death Row Records and intends to convert the legacy record label into the world’s first major metaverse label. For his part, Chicago rapper Lil Durk made his innovative mark in the fashion industry with the launch of wearable digital sneaker company NXTG3NZ.

It’s no secret that music is no longer an artist’s sole bread and butter, and building diverse business portfolios is a necessity — not a luxury — for career success.

For Financial Literacy Month, REVOLT dives inside the world of NFTs and how recording artists (or anyone for that matter) can use the technology in their professional development. We tapped NFT marketing specialist Ashley France to fill us in on seven facts artists should know about non-fungible tokens.

1. What is an NFT? Why should we care now?

NFT is an acronym that stands for “non-fungible token.” NFTs are defined as a non-interchangeable piece of data stored on a digital ledger and backed by blockchain technology that cannot be copied. It’s ‘one of one.’

NFTs allow start-ups, entertainers, business owners and other creators to make money without needing a huge following or middleman to fund them. Supported by community-based ideology, the creator provides value to their community in exchange for the purchase of an NFT. Buyers become apart of your journey through their initial investment. Not only are they emotionally or mentally invested, but now they are financially invested so they want to see you win even more, incentivizing creators to make that happen.

2. How do you pay for an NFT?

You pay through a digital wallet using cryptocurrency. The easiest and most popular wallet is MetaMask because you can download the app straight to your phone and set it up within minutes. Next you need ETH – that’s what most NFTs are sold on. MetaMask makes it easy to purchase ETH directly through Apple Pay. The final step is connecting your wallet to a NFT marketplace like OpenSea where you can purchase NFTs.

3. Why should an artist pay attention to NFTs?

NFTs allow for indie artists to monetize not just their music but their entire brand, allowing for true ownership and proper royalties. One can make a real living as an indie artist through NFT tickets, memberships, merchandise, exclusive experiences … even selling a music video.

For example, one of my friends sold a music NFT for $2,600, which equates to almost 1 million Spotify streams. As an artist, instead of focusing on trying to reach 1 million people, you can focus on catering to your current community of supporters by providing them value and allowing them to be a part of your journey through owning one of your NFTs.

4. Which NFTs are selling best?

The key is to build a strong community. NFTs like Bored Ape and Crypto Punks took the time to build a loyal community that essentially does the marketing for them.

Another aspect is consistently providing utility or value to the community — those same projects are constantly AirDropping perks, merch … having yacht parties and things that will keep their community engaged.

Another key facet is having a proper rollout. A lot of people see Bored Ape and try to drop a random PFP project, but it doesn’t work like that. You have to take time to build, educate and break into the Web3 community by nurturing your audience — as with any other new product launch. The days of tapping a random influencer or celebrity to sell out are over — at least in the Web3 world.

5. How do you know which NFTs to buy?

You want to buy NFTs from organizations, brands or people that you want to genuinely support. That is the first thing and after that, ask yourself these questions:

You don’t want to be associated with what we call a “rug pull” or a scam.

6. Can NFTs be copied? Can they be protected?

Essentially you can screenshot an NFT, but that is like buying a fake membership to private members’ club Soho House or buying a fake Rolex. You can flex, but receipts don’t lie.

To get access to things you need to connect your wallet, and if that NFT is not in there you won’t get access. That is the beauty of blockchain technology. It was created to stop counterfeits and track the transactional history of an item so that you can’t fake like you own it.

7. NFTs are so new. How will their value increase or decrease over time? What is the longevity?

NFTs as a whole will only increase overtime, but the value of individual NFT projects depends on a few things: the scarcity of the project, its utility and the value of the community you get as an NFT holder.

Alot of the NFTs that are purchased today will be worth millions of dollars in five years, similar to what happened with Bored Apes.

Ashley France is the CEO of ANF Consulting, LLC and founder of The 404 Entertainment Marketing Agency. She first began working with Web3 technology in 2016 during law school. Since then, France has helped influencers and celebrities like Slim Jxmmi, Roscoe Dash and more with influencer and digital marketing campaigns. France will release “NFT 101” as an e-book on April 25.