Is an NFT a valid release?

hello! i probably should’ve asked this question before adding the release, but better late than never.
this is the release in question. it is an audio file, but it was only sold as an nft for almost $4,000. i don’t really know much about nfts, (other than that this artist has made a few) so i’m becoming more unsure about the validity of this as a musicbrainz release. thoughts?


1: (personal opinion) NFT’s are super dumb
2: (less personal opinion) If it’s sound then it can be on MB!


Could you explain what an NFT is?

Non-fungible token.

It’s a glorified receipt (as in the kind you get in a shop when you buy something) that sits on a blockchain, same as any cryptocurrency transaction, mostly.

It basically exists to say “x owns y” and nothing else that any other existing form of proof of purchase couldn’t have done.

As for the original question, I’d personally consider it a release in this case, as it is an audio recording that’s been distributed in at least one form, no matter how absurd.


Wow, thanks for the three word equivalent, but, even in French, I don’t understand.

it’s very confusing but i guess it’s like digital pokemon cards ?? i’m not too sure myself, but that’s an analogy i’ve seen.


My go to NFT explainer: The perfect explanation of NFTs


I think it’s enough to know that it is something stupid for people with way too much money and too little sense to show off that they have way too much money (and too little sense).


Style Leader hat on: this is a valid release, not because or in spite of the NFT but because of the fact that we know that there’s audio and someone has it. At least we know in theory, anyway, because since there’s only one person with access it might be that the file never existed and we would never know unless they speak up, but let’s assume good faith for now.

Style Leader hat off: wtf, capitalism.


NFT means itemization of digital content (=trying to bring some physicality & uniqueness to it). In reality I see it akin to a one-person licence that’s “signed with crypto”.

In any case, the NFT itself doesn’t belong on MusicBrainz just like that unique, scratched vinyl from your collection that’s signed by the band on a tour in 1978 doesn’t belong here. On the other hand, its recording, work, release & release group do belong on MB.

So I think it’s more about the wording, that “Whisper Screams” was released as an NFT (although it’s streamable for the broader public). Similarly, we do keep Wu Tang Clan’s “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” as a release on MB, even though its availability is much more restricted since it’s just one, heavily gatekept physical item.

Compare the simple overview of FRBR model (via wikipedia):

  • Most of MB data is recordings on releases in release groups. This more or less corresponds to FRBR’s Expression (“the intellectual or artistic realization of a work in the form of alpha-numeric, musical, or choreographic notation, sound, image, object, movement, etc., or any combination of such forms”).
  • We do have a lot of overarching Works too (“a distinct intellectual or artistic creation”).
  • Discogs tend to drill down to tiny discrepancies between pressings, this corresponds to Manifestiation (“represents all the physical objects that bear the same characteristics, in respect to both intellectual content and physical form”).
  • Singular Items on the other hand are what libraries, archives or private collections deal with.


I agree that it is a valid release.

I’m kind of thinking that it would be nice if there were a subset of Digital Media for NFTs – kind of the way there are many different kinds of CDs; there are also different manifestations of Digital Media that can be indicated. But I’ve argued this point before without much traction…


Let’s leave the willing people who have such unique release add them to MB.
And let’s not lose our time, ourselves, with that.

i 100% agree. nfts don’t fully fit into digital media, it’s much different from other digital releases. the only problem is: how often are nfts even being added to the database? i’ve never seen any before i added this, so would it be worth adding if there’s only two or three releases?


NFT isn’t a different type of audio media. It is a different payment\ownership system. In the same way you get music from a Spotify account when streaming. This is data for the annotation.

And as owner of the NFT music it is up to you if you want to give out copies or not.

I assume you can have an NFT for CD music or digital music. In this case the interesting point being that it was acquired via NFT