As the “Creator Economy” becomes the next media buzzword for the combined legacy of DIY, Direct-to-Fan, Attention Economy, and Influencer Marketing; NFTs have become an exciting new option for digital creators to monetize their work. This column, The NFT Creator, will track the next phases of what will here be called the “Creator Movement” as it intersects with NFT Land.
About the Columnist: Clyde F. Smith
Since any such column is dependent on its author, let me introduce myself. Currently, I write NFT news pieces for NFTS WTF and also recently wrote for The Defiant. I tend to take a relatively formal tone in these roles and might typically refer to myself as “this writer” if I did have a reason to reference my existence in the piece.
I’m primarily known in NFT Land as the founder of CryptoArtNet, a directory of crypto artists, as the sometimes strident voice of Flux Research on Twitter, and as an NFT business writer as of this year. Up until a few years ago, I went by Clyde Smith until I recognized that using my middle initial would allow me to improve my Google search rankings. So now I’m the king of searches for “Clyde F Smith”.
Back in the aughts, I was one of the first hip hop business bloggers, launching ProHipHop (RIP) as the first dedicated hip hop trade blog in 2004. After selling a group of hip hop-related websites, I went on to write about the music industry at Hypebot with a focus on music tech and the DIY music business.
Much of this music industry writing was informed by my pre-Web experience of DIY and direct-to-fan art and performance in the 80s and early 90s in North Carolina and San Francisco. These experiences were surprisingly relevant to understanding things like internet marketing and growing an online fanbase. They also gave me the perspective to see that the Creator Movement in NFTLand builds upon DIY and Direct-to-Fan history perhaps even more than upon the frontier sphere of influencers; though influencers are a legitimate piece of the puzzle.
My writing about NFT creators is grounded in four decades in the arts and two decades as a web publisher and business blogger. I could also mention a BFA and MA in Dance (UNC-G), MLS in Reference Librarianship (TWU), and a PhD in Cultural Studies from The Ohio State University (2000), but enough about me.
About the Column: Topics and Examples
NFT Creator columns will focus on topics such as the following:
NFT Creator Profiles
Creator profiles could take different forms but will emphasize the business aspect whether looking at an artist’s overall trajectory or a key moment of decision. However, for an artist, artmaking and business dealings are not so readily separated. In fact, these two aspects can often inform each other.
For example, an artist may have a history of creating certain kinds of images for NFTs. Perhaps they decide to introduce something that seems entirely different and which confuses collectors who may not understand the relationship of the old to the new work. Such a column might begin with why the change occurred and then focus on how the artist introduced the new work in a way that revealed their path forward while addressing the confusion of collectors.
Tips for NFT Creators
While creator profiles may include some tips, as described above, they will always be grounded in biographical details of the creator in question. However, NFT creators often have tips to share and recognize that the learning curve for artists new to the space can be quite steep.
The need for such tips will continue to grow as new products become available, older products are updated and the larger context for creator’s work changes. For example, we’ve all been learning what it takes to operate during a pandemic. As new conditions emerge, NFT creators can share tips on many things from maintaining production levels once we’re no longer locked down to how to set up a physical show of digital art.
NFT Creator Opportunities
There are already a variety of opportunities for NFT creators to participate in digital art shows, special events, contests, and site launches. Many more such opportunities will emerge as companies beyond NFT Land recognize that these offerings can introduce them to new markets.
For example, Paris Hilton made her entry into NFT Land earlier this year. Her efforts included promoting her own work and holding an “Empowered by Paris” exhibition focused on female NFT artists. While Hilton’s participation received quite a bit of pushback from some artists, it also introduced her as a celeb who wants to be known for her connection to the community and for her support of other artists.
Tools and Services for NFT Creators
Another area that is growing at an already rapid pace is that of NFT tools and services. This area is quite broad with innovations to come that may catch us all by surprise. So any coverage here will be focused on how a particular tool or service might be worth considering by creators.
Note that any of the above topics might also appear in regular NFTS WTF news coverage. But this column will provide the opportunity to focus less on the news as related to NFT Land as a whole and more strictly on how such news affects digital creators.
Submitting Topics for the Column
If you have news directly relevant to this column, please share it with me via my NFT Entrepreneur contact form. For more general submissions, please contact NFTS WTF via the Contact link at the bottom of each page.