Platinum-selling R&B artist Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, just made $2.29 million from his first NFT collection.
He sold the pieces through Gemini-owned Nifty Gateway, an NFT marketplace that’s recently sold tokenized work by Calvin Harris, Steve Aoki, and Grimes, among others. The collection was put together alongside visual artist Strange Loop Studios, who The Weeknd worked with to develop the creative direction. The collection also featured a previously unheard The Weeknd song.
The drop included three open editions, two silent auctions, and two raffles. The cheapest pieces priced at $100, while others were sold to the highest bidders. The open editions, which featured excerpts of The Weeknd’s unreleased track, raised $1.4 million in a 15-minute sale window.
The auction’s showstopper was a unique token of an animated video accompanied by the full song. Bidding ran for 24 hours and closed at $490,000 on Sunday evening. Adding in the open editions, the auction made a total of $2.29 million.
The Weeknd had this to say prior to his NFT drop, “I’ve always been looking for ways to innovate for fans and shift this archaic music biz and seeing NFTs allowing creators to be seen and heard more than ever before on their terms is profoundly exciting. I intend to contribute to this movement and can see that very soon it will be weaved into the music industry’s mechanics.”
The Weeknd’s relationship with Strangeloop Studios dates back to 2015 when the Canadian singer began collaborating with the immersive experience company on concert visuals and audio-visual works. Strangeloop consistently incorporates his signature dark digital aesthetic into his stage design. They’ve created eerie, brazen stage designs for The Weeknd’s 2018 Coachella set, his “Starboy: Legend of the Fall Tour” in 2017 and his festival tour in 2016, among other concerts.