R&B legend Ashanti is an advocate for Web3 technology.
Music NFT Meetup NYC presented by Cotton Candy Records, EQ Exchange, VAULT, Aijia & Drink LoverBoy. Photo by @darnopolis
Ashanti made an appearance at the Music NFT Meetup by Cotton Candy Records during NYC NFT, speaking alongside her Web3 company co-founder, CEO of EQ Exchange, Janice Taylor.
At the Music NFT Meetup, Ashanti spoke about her first hand experience being taken advantage by the music industry’s middleman.
An NFT collection on the 20th anniversary
Twenty years ago, Ashanti made history with her record-breaking, self-titled debut album. Released on April 2, 2002, Ashanti topped the Billboard 200 albums chart, staying on the chart for 55 weeks, and went on to win a Grammy Award among other accolades.
Two decades later, the R&B singer/songwriter is making history again by taking control of her creative and business destiny and becoming the first black female artist to be a co-owner in Web3 music tech company, EQ Exchange.
On Saturday (Apr 2nd,2022), Ashanti celebrated her multi-platinum debut album’s 20th anniversary by announcing the launch of her first NFTs on the EQ Exchange platform.
I’m so grateful that y’all been rocking with me for over 20 years!!!” Ashanti stated in a post on her official Instagram account. “Now I finally get to give you something in return. I’m beyond excited to announce that my NFT collection with EQ Exchange celebrating 20 years of Ashanti’ will be available Wednesday, April 6th and I want y’all to have ownership in these new masters!!
An NFT collection with EQ Exchange
Ashanti told Cointelegraph that the process of creating an album prior to Web3 and the launch of music NFTs was very “disheartening,” noting that an artist would sign a record deal and create an album that would then sell for about $15. “Out of that amount, an artist would only receive about $0.38, which was on the high-end,” the R&B legend said. Once Ashanti began to realize that this was a common process, she started looking into alternative ways to own her intellectual property.
On March 25, 2022, almost 20 years after her debut album was released, Ashanti formed a partnership with EQ Exchange, making her the first Black female artist to co-found a Web3 company. Following this, Ashanti released an NFT collection with EQ Exchange on April 6, 2022, which launched on the artist’s 20-year anniversary of her first album titled Ashanti. According to Taylor, Ashanti sold her first five NFTs in minutes. While impressive, Ashanti noted that the underlying message behind music NFTs is “that owning your work is so important.”
In addition to ownership, Ashanti explained that her NFT collection is meant to benefit her fans in a number of ways.
Fans will receive exclusive rights to hear my music first, meaning they get to own the music as well. They will also receive percentages of royalties for new records, along with tickets to shows, vacations and access to limited merchandise drops, she said.
To inspire artists about NFT
Whilst celebrating her music NFT drop, Ashanti is now also inspiring a new generation of artists about the power of NFT technology.
Now, 20 years later, she is re-recording her original album, and with the help of Web3 technology, she will finally have full ownership rights of her music.
Ashanti is an advocate for Web3 technology, because she understands its power to help other female artists own what they create. The technology and resources are available to anyone who’s willing to learn how to use it, and she encourages other artists and creatives to do their own research.
Ashanti said :
I mean just to hear you say that sentence is so surreal. Just being a Black female in this space is a blessing. I never dreamed of being able to say something like that. For me to have the courage and the self-esteem to dive into this space is a big leap for me. I’m super humbled, and I’m very blessed and I’m very inspired and motivated to continue to get the word out to other women.