Sara Philips: "Music NFTs Are Changing My Life"
"My experience with NFTs has spurred more creativity and inspiration in me. It has been incredibly refreshing and rewarding to feel the support for my work and connection to others."
Editor’s Note: NFT digital collectibles are a new way for fans to support the artists they love. In this series, I talk to artists who have ventured into this new space to learn about their experiences.
It feels like 2002 all over again. Twenty years ago, I started writing my first music blog to curate the barrage of MP3s floating around on the internet. I wrote stories about great songs I had found and interviewed the artists that had created the music. It was a bit like putting together a mixtape for friends and just sharing all these great finds with love and care. Fast forward to the world of Web3 today. Tons of noteworthy digital music collectibles are being released, but they are hard to discover for the casual music fan. With the growing amount of music NFTs out there, it’s essential to make it easy for folks to find the good stuff. We once again need a generation of curators to build an ecosystem of commentary, culture, context, and credibility around this new music revolution. It will help to add value, create community beyond investors, and give artists the shine they deserve.
Very much like my early blogging days, I’ve spent most of my free time recently browsing, surfing, researching, and listening to find great new digital music to highlight. One of the discoveries I bumped into this week was the “Killer” NFT by Sara Philips. She’s a Canadian artist I know very little about, but there’s an emotional pull deeply rooted in the song I find very compelling.
Sara Philips is by no means new to the scene. She first stepped into the spotlight, uploading videos to YouTube performing cover songs. Following tons of positive responses, she decided to move from her hometown of Montreal to New York City to pursue music full time. She played gigs across the city, tuning her craft while also recording her self-titled debut in EP that she released independently. In 2015, she moved to Los Angeles to broaden her scene and write more music. She released several singles that received playlist love, including “House On Fire” and “Six Feet Under.”
The singer/songwriter jumped into Web3 late last year when she released her debut, or genesis, NFT for the music video for “Nobody Loves You.” She quickly followed with another music video collectible for the single, “Better When It Ends.” Both songs carry a very personal message and important sentiment for Philips, discussing her struggles with mental health and her experience with abuse. “I hoped each might be able to help others in some meaningful way,” she writes me.
She continued to raise awareness for causes important to her when she released a theme song and an animated video inspired by women in the NFT space— specifically the team at World of Women. Philips tells me, “I listed that NFT, and it was shortly after acquired by the World of Women team themselves, selling for .25 ETH. Within the week, my genesis, ‘Nobody Loves You’ and ‘Better When it Ends’ NFTs sold for 1 ETH each. So, within a week, I was able to earn 2.25 ETH from my music (at time of sale, a value of around $7,000).”
Ten percent of the sales of “WoW (Our Time Is Now)” was donated to charity, including the Malala Fund, advocating for girls education in countries in need; House of Ruth, for women and children of domestic violence; and The Loveland Foundation, providing support and therapy to Black women and girls in need.
Earlier in June, she shared her single “Killer” as a digital collectible on Mint Songs. The song will be available widely on June 24 via Distrokid. At 2 minutes and 22 seconds strong, “Killer” is a powerful and poignant mid-tempo ballad that tells the story of a relationship gone sour. The situation worsens with blame and lies further ripping the former lovers apart.
Philips doesn’t hold back and wears her heart on her sleeves. She shares her truth despite the gaslighting from her ex. “You’re not the type to let the truth fuck up a really good story,” the artist sings with her signature candy-coated vocals. “I guess I’m the bad guy, broke your heart and wrecked your whole life. I’m the monster that you made me (. . .) My hands are clean; you just need someone to blame; I get it.”
“Killer” was written by Sara Philips and produced by Mike Daley, Mitchell Owens, and Sara Phillips.
Sara Philips has successfully released several digital collectibles and contributed to the community in very meaningful ways in the last six months. Time to hear her experience in the Web3 music space and learn what advice she has to share for artists looking to jump in.
Arjan: Making songs available as NFT is a great way to build community and provide something unique to fans. What was your experience doing your drop via Mint Songs? Was it an easy process that you enjoyed?
Sara: “My experience with my Mint Songs drop was so seamless, and the Mint Songs team members made sure the artists were supported every step of the way. The Mint Songs platform is very user-friendly on both the artist/mint side of things and the consumer/collector experience. It’s easy to use and easy to understand, which I think is the most important thing for Web3 platforms to focus on, as so many people are so new to this space and might be minting their first-ever NFT.”
How has the response from fans been on the releases? Have they expressed concerns?
“The response from fans and followers in the Web3 space has been incredible. The Music NFT community is also just so welcoming and supportive. I think for fans who are not yet into Web3 and NFTs, it can seem a little strange and overwhelming. Still, I’ve tried to really help people understand how life-changing this can be, especially for independent artists. My fans and followers are so kind and generous, and at the end of the day just want to see me succeed, so they’ve been really supportive as well.”
How do you think music NFTs will support artists in future years? Do you feel it made a difference for you? Do you think it will spur more creativity?
“I really believe that music NFTs are changing and will continue to change the music industry as we know it. I think they will allow so much creative and financial freedom for artists and allow for such a profound and personal fan-artist experience because of the direct access and support that NFTs create.
Music NFTs are already changing my life. It was always really important to me to stay as independent as possible as an artist. With this comes the challenge of making enough money to support myself and my career. Being an independent artist is incredibly expensive. Every studio hour, mix, photoshoot, video shoot, and marketing campaign comes out of your pocket. It’s also no secret that streaming doesn’t make artists a ton of money.
My experience with NFTs has spurred more creativity and inspiration in me than I’ve felt in years. It has been incredibly refreshing and rewarding to feel the support for my work and connection to others that has come from NFTs. NFTs have also allowed me the financial freedom to spend more time creating and given me the resources to make my next project everything I could have hoped it would be!”
Are there other artists and advocates in the NTF the space you look up to?
“There are so many other artists and advocates in the space that I really admire. To name a very few, Latasha, Domino, Mike Daley, Tatiana DeMaria, Allan Kingdom, and all of the teams at Mint Songs, Pixel Bands, and WRPSsounds. There are so many people in this space doing so many incredible things I could go on for days.”
What do you think holds artists back from jumping into the NFT space? What do you recommend to other artists who want to get into the space? What's a good way to start?
I think for a lot of artists, the NFT space can feel very overwhelming and confusing to get into. Also, most artists I know are already spending every waking minute on their art, booking shows, rehearsing, posting on social media, and possibly working side jobs. The idea of having one more thing to do and keep up with can feel absolutely impossible! I totally get that and felt the same way at first, but once you get into it, that will change quickly!
I think the best way to get into the space is to spend time on Twitter, follow artists and projects in the space (the ones I named are all a great start), and listen to Twitter Spaces. I’ve learned so much by just listening in on different Spaces and getting into some Discord servers. Also, don’t hesitate to reach out to people and ask questions. I can’t say enough how welcoming, supportive, and generous so many people in this space are with their time, resources and knowledge. Reach out to me!”