- Singer Akon told Esquire magazine he will release his next album as an NFT.
- He said NFTs offer artists an opportunity to take in a bigger share of profit from their work.
- The "Smack That" singer has also been working on creating a cryptocurrency and a sustainable city in Senegal.
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Multi-platinum singer Akon, whose megahits include "Smack That," told Esquire magazine he plans to release his next album through a non-fungible token, or NFT.
"Throughout my career, I have always believed that artists never really got their fair share of the profits for the work they produced and people listen to," the "Lonely" singer said in an interview published on Esquire's website.
In recent years, artists have complained that music streaming services don't pay them enough for their songs.
But Akon said NFTs – or digital representations of music and other collectibles – offer full transparency about where a piece of music is being played, who's playing it, and how many times it's been played.
"With that, I'll be able to monetize it from the day it drops on every platform that exists," he said.
Such a move would extend Akon's involvement in the world of digital assets. He's started work on building his cryptocurrency, Akoin, which he envisions will fuel his plan to build a $6 billion sustainable smart city in Senegal called Akon City. He told Insider in 2020 he wanted residents to be able to use Akoin to pay for basic utilities, taxes and other services.
The musician said the idea behind Akoin, which stands for "African coin," was to introduce it into the African market as a vehicle to create financial opportunities, particularly with young people.
The NFT market as a whole boomed in 2021, with blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis estimating the market surpassed a $41 billion valuation.