Beyonce and Nas producers will make music for rock band Bored Ape

A A rock band made up of virtual monkeys that formed last year at the height of the crypto craze now has real musicians bringing its sound together – a pair of in-demand producers who have worked with Beyonce and Rihanna.

James Fauntleroy and Chauncey Hollis Jr., better known as Hit-Boy, have begun work on a new album for Kingship, a band Universal Music Group NV formed as part of a bet that it could generate revenue from selling virtual goods and services built around performers. The hiring of artistic artists marks a new phase of the project. Fauntleroy won Grammys for his work with Bruno Mars and Justin Timberlake, while Jay-Z and Nas collaborated with Hit-Boy.

“It only made sense to bring in the best creators, producers and songwriters,” said Celine Joshua, founder of Universal’s record label 10:22. “For me, that process led to James and Hit-Boy.”

Joshua is the architect of Kingship, which consists of four digital characters from a collection of irreplaceable tokens known as Bored Ape Yacht Club. She conceived a multi-year history of the monkeys, including album releases and performances in the metaverse. If all goes according to plan, they will take the world by storm and prove that cryptocurrencies and NFTs are viable tools for the music industry.

Read more: ‘Started From Nothing.’ Black NFT Artists to Inherit Hip-Hop and Jazz Legacy

Techno-optimists have long outlined the promise of the so-called Web3, a decentralized version of today’s Internet. There, artists can raise money to fund album production by selling NFTs. Payments are more transparent through the use of blockchain technology and music groups can give their fans a literal stake in their business.

All of this allows fans to build a greater connection with their favorite artists. People who own Kingship NFTs get special access to a Discord server where they can chat with each other or be the first to learn new information about the group. There are also benefits related to future music and performances.

Crypto collapse

The collapse of the cryptocurrency and NFT market has complicated the plan, which Joshua says is now in its second of at least seven phases.

Universal revealed Kingship last November when cryptocurrency optimism was near its peak. NFT sales close to $25 billion in 2021 and the price of Ether (a popular NFT currency) hit a high of almost $4,800. Investors, collectors and the general public were enamored with the new speculative market. The price of Ether has collapsed by more than 55% this year, according to CoinMarketCap. NFT sales are currently around one-year lows.

This caused Joshua to delay his plans to sell NFTs for the group and reduce the number of NFTs they sold for the first time. But she regrouped, generating $1.5 million by selling 5,000 Kingship NFTs earlier this year. She also struck a deal with Mars Inc. for special edition M&M’s.

Read more: The man behind Ethereum worries about the future of Crypto

“We’ve seen the market swing and Ether drop and so many projects not delivering on promises,” Joshua said. “Consumer sentiment has changed. But we decided, or I decided, that we had a development plan.

Still, her enthusiasm helped attract Fauntleroy, a self-proclaimed nerd who has a second career as a digital artist. He started collecting Bitcoinis now trading at around $19,000 when it was at $9,000. He also has a collection of more than 30 NFTs.

“I bought a bunch of stuff that ended up being worth nothing,” Fauntleroy said. “But when I saw this community, I was like, ‘Oh.’ This is an inevitable transition to fan-based interaction.”

In an early encounter with Fauntleroy and Hit-Boy, Joshua played Van Halen’s “Jump” as inspiration for the sound. The 1984 song topped the US Billboard charts and was ranked by Rolling Stone as one of the 200 greatest songs of all time.

Fauntleroy and Hit-Boy are now in the middle of working out what they want this band to sound like. After weeks of discussing the personalities of the members, they have at least settled on their instruments of choice. Hud, a monkey with laser eyes, is the lead singer. Arnel, a mutated monkey, is a DJ/drummer. King is the bass player and vocals and Captain is on lead guitar.

“They’re a rock band with rock ‘n’ roll personalities,” Fauntleroy said. “We’re still building exactly how they’re going to express themselves.”

(Corrected the spelling of Celine Joshua’s name in the third paragraph.)

– With the assistance of Olga Harif.

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