According to Brooklyn Vegan, a non-fungible token (NFT) fundraiser to benefit the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) as well as various venues, will begin on April 7, 2021. Digital art that depicts 10 different venues around the nation such as NYC’s Bowery Ballroom, Chicago’s The Metro, San Francisco’s The Independent and more will be up for auction. The digital art is created by Young & Sick and animated by Joe Motion, and each NFT will come with a “Golden Ticket” that will give the buyer “VIP access and exclusive perks to future concerts and events.”
“The outpouring of support for NIVA and these independent venues has helped us through this devastating time,” Stephen Sternschein, founding board member and treasurer of NIVA states. “We’re all really excited to meld this new marketplace of NFTs and our fundraising together to help the National Independent Venue Foundation foster this vital aspect of the live music ecosystem.”
NFTs are units of data that represent unique digital items such as audio files, art, videos, etc. Musician Nils Frahm recently shared his disdain for NFTs in an interview with the Independent, calling them “the most disgusting thing on the planet.” Many artists, however, are getting on board with NFTs. Alt-pop artist Grimes sold a set of NFTs in February for over $5 million dollars and Taylor Bennett will be selling 75 percent of the rights to an upcoming record via NFTs.
Young & Sick, AKA Nick van Hoffwegen explains, “Having been inside most of these venues both as a performer and a fan, I jumped at the chance to get involved with NIVA and these iconic venues as fast as I could.” He goes on to say, “I – like most people – can’t wait to go back to seeing live music, and these legendary venues hold a special place in my heart. I hand-drew these venue interpretations with classic show posters in mind. I hope you love ’em as much as I loved making them. Your help is worth so much. Thank you.”
NIVA partnered with YouTube Music in September of 2020 with the goal of assisting struggling independent live music venues through the Save Our Stages Act. In October, the companies put on the Save Our Stages Festival, which included virtual performances from many major artists like Foo Fighters, Rise Against, The Roots, Miley Cyrus and more. The festival raised over $1.8 million dollars for independent venues around the country through fan donations to NIVA’s emergency relief fund. Earlier this year, NIVA signed a letter to President Joe Biden offering support for his COVID-19 vaccine rollout.