DIY Spotlight: Vinylkey

The concept of NFTs has been all over the media landscape for the past year or so. The whole thing can seem a little confusing but, as Gar Ragland, CEO of Vinylkey, explains, it’s actually quite simple.

NFT is the abbreviation for Non Fungible Token,” he says. “A token is a representation of ‘anything’ and is stored on the blockchain (think of a public record). NFTs can offer proof of authenticity, ownership, and most importantly, allow the artist and other rights holders to collect royalties on the resales. There are lots of use cases for music NFTs including ticketing, fanclubs, streaming rights management, etc. At Vinylkey, we connect new-school NFTs with old- school vinyl albums to provide next level collectible vinyl albums.”

So in other words, the purchaser is obtaining part-ownership of the “token,” in this case vinyl records, kind of like buying stocks and/or shares.

“Vinylkey™ is a vinyl record connected to an NFT,” continues Ragland. “The album is pressed with a unique visual pattern and embedded with a Near Field Communication (NFC) tag. Tapping the record using most Android and iOS phones will bring you to a web page showing the corresponding linked NFT and owner information. In addition, photos of the unique visual pattern and any additional media are stored along with it in an immutable cloud storage to prove its ownership and authenticity. It’s an album on the blockchain!”

Ragland said that members of his Citizen Vinyl team came up with the idea in 2020 after they started 

pressing records.

“One of our early investors is a super-talented software developer, with a long history of mining cryptocurrency, and developing for web3 and the blockchain,” he says. “Our vinyl pressing engineers have developed a patented process to manufacture a physical vinyl album as an NFT, resulting in a brand new, super-collectible physical album with all the benefits of an NFT.”

It all might sound over-elaborate for old school vinyl-heads, but NFTs appear to be a big part of the future.

“In the near future, we see Vinylkey albums being offered increasingly by artists and labels, as a new, super-collectible option for their regular vinyl album releases,” Ragland says. “But given that Vinylkey albums also offer proof of authenticity and ownership, as well as resale royalties for the rights holders, we anticipate Vinylkey albums to become much more prevalent in the next few years.”

Go to vinylkey.com for more info.