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Julian Lennon's NFT collection on Yellowheart, screenshot

Turning music memorabilia into NFTs

From Ringo Starr’s artworks to Kurt Cobain’s Fender Mustang and Julian Lennon’s memorabila, Julien’s Auctions is turning physical music collectables and rare items into NFTs, marking the next step of collecting music memorabilia into the blockchain.

The NFT hype seems to spread across countless businesses and industries, and the world of music collecting doesn’t just stand by and watch. While NFTs are the natural match nowadays when it comes to digital collectibles, the most talked about technology of the year is also starting to be explored in relation to music memorabilia – using items you can actually touch.

Among the pioneers, the famous LA auction house Julien’s Auction, who first partnered in January 2022 with the music NFT marketplace OneOf and sold Keith Richard’s hand-signed black Gibson ES-335 electric acoustic guitar for $56,700 including a 1 of 1 NFT video of the Stones’ guitarist signing it as a seal of authenticity.

Later that month, Julien’s Auctions also announced the drop of the Lennon connection: the NFT collection, this time in collaboration with the marketplace YellowHeart. The online NFT auction featured NFTs from Julian Lennon’s private collection of Beatles iconography and historic personal items.

Curated by Julian himself, this first drop consisted of items from his father as well as gifts and memorabilia from his own life and childhood, such as the Hey Jude Notes written by Paul McCartney (sold for $ 76.800), or the Afghan Coat from the Magical Mystery Tour (sold for $ 22.400). Each of the Lennon NFTs enclosed a deeply personal keepsake, symbolizing the connection between father and son, and was offered as an audio/visual collectible narrated by Julian personally with a specific heartfelt memory.

You can check out the whole six items collection on YellowHeart’s dedicated page.

  1. “The 1968 Beatles’ masterpiece is frequently included on lists of the greatest songs of all time. The first song released on the Beatles own Apple Records label, Hey Jude, originally titled Hey Jules, was written for Julian Lennon by Paul McCartney to comfort him during the time of his parents John and Cynthia Lennon’s divorce. This classic was the Beatles’ biggest-selling single in the US, having sold five million copies in the first six months of its release and became the number one song in 12 countries. Paul illustrates how he thought the song should be structured into four sections, with voices and instruments. These are his original notes, which include his personal doodles and drawings.”

    As reported by Yellowheart 

    Paul McCartney’s Hey Jude notes – YellowHeart website screenshot

Similarly, the May 2022 auction MUSIC ICONS, which included highly sought-after belongings of Nirvana’s singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain, offered both physical and digital lots. The iconic Fender Mustang guitar Cobain played in the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video sold for a staggering $ 4.5M (Julien’s Auctions), and the related NFT – a 360°digital representation of the guitar with a minted narration by Cobain’s guitar tech Earnie Bailey discussing the historical significance of the guitar – sold for $ 5.760 (Julien’s Auctions).

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Last but not least, the Ringo Starr NFT Collection online auction closed on June 13th and featured a collection of twenty NFTs, each accompanied by a signed canvas print by The Beatles’ drummer himself. The limited edition tokens – which sold at various prices between $5.760 and $10.240 – will also grant their owners access to join Starr on an exclusive virtual tour of his groundbreaking digital gallery experience, RingoLand.

So while the Ringo Starr NFTs come with a physical collectable and an exclusive virtual pass to RingoLand, why would a collector invest in the NFT of John Lennon’s Afghan Coat or Kurt Cobain’s guitar, rather than buying the actual piece?

It is not just a matter of being a superfan or owning a digital collectable: the Lennon Connection NFTs capture and preserve not only Julian Lennon’s voice, but also a personal memory that may as well stand as a digital archival document for music lovers and historians to come. The same historical value may be seen in Kurt Cobain’s NFTs narrations, as well as in the musical tracks accompanying Ringo Starr’s NFTs, making these intangible assets a new way for crypto collectors to own a piece of music history. While it might be too early to state what the ownership of such pieces of memory and music history will represent for future generations, it feels safe to say that what we are witnessing today is an unprecedented yet promising phenomenon in the world of music memorabilia.