Hard Rock To Mine Value Of Music Memorabilia Through NFTs, Chairman Says

Written By Brant James on October 27, 2021

Non-fungible tokens, better known as NFTs, have an immediate place in the business plans at Hard Rock International and MGM Resorts International, with unique motivations for each.

NFTs, one-of-a-kind digital “cryptoassets” gained notoriety this year when quirky art pieces that don’t exist in the tangible world began selling for outrageous sums. 8-bit CryptoPunks renderings went for more than $10 million. Virtual currency was being thrown at virtual art. As with every social media platform, from MySpace to TikTok, businesses, sports leagues, teams and performers began rushing in to monetize the marketplace, with varying levels of success.

For Hard Rock International, which owns the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino chain, the leap is easy, Chairman Jim Allen said at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas. That’s why his company is being “very aggressive” in utilizing assets that literally line the walls of its casinos and hotels.

“We’re working in it from an entertainment standpoint,” he said. “We have the world’s largest collection of music memorabilia, almost a hundred thousand pieces.

“So if you take that technology and then you work with the artists on philanthropic efforts, and then you work with the guests, who are obviously huge fans, there’s some really interesting things that can then, bring that experience into their home, or obviously their smartphone.”

The lengths music fans have gone to secure memorabilia has led investors to believe the sale of unique mementos will become even more lucrative.

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MGM seeks to better control secondary ticket market

While Hard Rock plans to use NFTs to mine the value of its rock collection, MGM seeks value in protecting the marketing of its entertainment. The sale, in this instance, will involve tickets.

“We do a lot of entertainment,” CEO Bill Hornbuckle said at G2E. “And, so, the idea that you can create a ticket and control the contract on that ticket in the secondary market is a big deal for us, potentially. … Our big fight – pick your favorite thing – it’s got a premium tied to it. You lose control of that once it hits the secondary market. An NFT ticket, you set how it sells on the secondary market. You can determine that contract for that ticket. And so we’re really focused on that as a starting point because I think it’s interesting.”

A stage prop used by Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson on display at the Seminole Hard Rock & Casino in Tampa.
Photo by 4ARTechnologies/news aktuell / Associated Press
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Brant James

Brant James is a veteran journalist who has twice been recognized in the Associated Press Sports Editors Awards, most recently in 2020. He's covered motorsports, the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball among a myriad of others beats and written enterprise and sports business for publications including USA TODAY, ESPN.com, SI.com.

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