Clarian has released his latest album, Whale Shark, as a rare NFT, meaning non-fungible token—becoming the first artist to do so. The auction is currently live, scheduled to end on March 20.

NFTs are one-of-a-kind digital pieces of art whose proof of ownership you can’t counterfeit, like digital collectibles, and their value comes from their scarcity. They’ve been taking over the music industry, where they represent the ownership of such things as an original copy of a song, artwork, or merchandise.

Jacques Greene sold the publishing rights to his new single for around $20,000. Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda sold a digital piece of artwork for $30,000. Shortly after Clarian’s auction began, Kings of Leon released their album as an NFT.

The album itself, a 12-track outing in dark-wave synth pop, is available to stream and purchase on Bandcamp, but with the NFT version you can own the actual album files, transferred directly from Clarian himself, in perpetuity. This includes the masters and publishing rights, which allows the winner of the auction to do whatever they wish with the album, whether that’s stream it online, licence it for soundtracks, or even destroy it.

There’s hope that NFT’s could change music’s financial model in the future. Not only does it allow artists like Clarian to monetize their art outside of the remit of the streaming giants, but they’ll even be paid whenever their NFT’s are sold on, opening the doors to sustainable careers that aren’t so reliant on touring. The winner of this auction will have invested in a fairer revenue model for musicians moving into the future, Clarian explains.

“Today, I’m making a bet against the music industry that I can sell my new album, Whale Shark, for 100 thousand dollars’ worth in Ethereum,” Clarian continues. “Why? Because A, fuck music streaming, and B, it’s good stuff, and I can only tell you its future value will be worth much more than that. I’d rather sell it to one person who will cherish its value than have to share it with the CEO of Spotify and keep feeding that dead-end music machine.”

For more information on NFTs and specifically their application to music, we recommend you read Pitchfork’s feature here and Rolling Stone‘s longer feature here. Meanwhile, you can read more about the auction here, ahead of a countdown event on March 20.

The reserve price is set at 100 Ethereum, a popular cryptocurrency, which equates to approximately $180,000.


01. Strange Vibrations
02. Whale Shark
03. Dancing In The Shadows
04. Virtual Misery
05. Blue Blockers
06. Camera By The Sea
07. The Stranger
08. Ballad Of X
09. Frozen
10. Melting
11. Memories Change
12. Condo Generation