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Universal Music Group forms ‘NFT supergroup’

Universal Music Group (UMG) is capitalising on two of the biggest trends of the last year – NFTs and the metaverse – with the formation of a new ‘NFT Supergroup’.

The multinational music cooperation is collaborating with collector Jimmy McNelis to convert four of his ape NFTs into a band called Kingship.

McNelis, an early buyer of Ethereum, acquired hundreds of ape NFTs from the creator of the Bored Ape Yacht Club, which gave anyone who bought one of the apes full commercial rights to use the image.

McNelis was later approached by Universal’s 10:22PM record label, a “next-gen Web3 label” which was set up by former Sony exec Celine Joshua.

Joshua pitched him on the idea of creating a new group and picked four characters that she thought would work as a band before signing the ‘metaverse group’ to the label.

10:22PM is now working with a team of crypto artists and animators to turn the two-dimensional apes into three-dimensional beings.

One of the band’s members, the golden ape, is currently valued at over $300,000 USD

One of the band’s members, the golden ape, is currently valued at over $300,000 USD. McNelis has a collection that he estimates is worth more than $100 million.

The company will record music for Kingship that it releases on streaming services and the band will perform and participate in video games, virtual-reality applications and across the constellation of digital experiences known as the metaverse.

Joshua and her team are going to create these characters stories’ from scratch. They will put together a marketing campaign to introduce the apes to potential fans, explain how they met and describe who they are. “It’s just like just like the way we introduce new artists to the world,” she told Bloomberg.

Kingship is just one of the ape-themed virtual bands to follow in the footsteps of Gorillaz, an English virtual band created in 1998 by musician Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett.

US music producer Timbaland is also cashing in on the trend, starting new company Ape-In Productions that will also use Bored Ape Yacht Club characters to form a music group.

Timbaland’s group, named TheZoo, features six Bored Ape characters – such as Lincoln Aperaham and Safari Ferrari – and will release their first song ‘ApeSh!t’ on Wednesday, according to Variety.


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