DJ Steve Aoki said he made more money from his NFT drop last year than in a decade of making music

DJ Steve Aoki said he made more money from his NFT drop last year than in a decade of making music
Steve Aoki.Axelle/Bauer-Griffin / Contributor / Getty Images
  • Steve Aoki said he made more money from NFTs last year than in a decade of music royalties and advances.
  • The DJ famously sold his "hairy" NFT for $888,888.88 on Nifty Gateway last year.

DJ Steve Aoki said royalties from his music don't even compare to the money he made from selling digital collectibles known as NFTs last year.

The musician, who is one of the highest paid DJs in the world, spoke about his foray into NFTs at a private Gala Music event on February 10 in Inglewood, California, Decrypt first reported. In it, he said performing as a DJ makes up a majority of his revenue stream, while music royalties from his recordings don't "amount to very much."

"If I was to really break down, OK in the 10 years I've been making music, six albums, and you culminate all those advances, what I did in one drop last year in NFTs I made more money," he said.

In the NFT world, the DJ is best known for selling his "hairy" collectible for $888,888.88 on Nifty Gateway last year — one of the most expensive digital pieces of art sold to date. He also owns several NFTs from the iconic Bored Ape Yacht Club collection, Decrypt reported.

According to a video recording of the event, Aoki said NFTs, which are generally digital pieces of art tied to blockchain technology, are transforming the music world by adding "scarcity" and a "collectible mindset," akin to Pokemon cards or limited-edition shoes.


Insider previously reported that NFTs could upend the music industry, giving artists a potential revenue stream that trumps marginal income from streaming services. Other artists, like Halsey, Shawn Mendes, and Kings of Leon have also pushed into the digital collectible world.

"As music NFTs become more of a part of how we integrate and support artists, the labels will have to do more than just add the song on a playlist," Aoki said at the forum.

He has embraced the crypto world beyond NFTs, too. For example, he has a Yat, which is a string of emojis that operates as a person's unique URL. And he's creating his own metaverse, known as the the Aok1verse. According to the website, citizens of this new metaverse will have access to digital collectibles and virtual performances, among other perks.

Crypto enthusiasts have said NFTs may be the basis for the blockchain-based successor to Web 2.0, known as Web3, and the virtual world known as the metaverse. Decrypt reported that the musician told the Gala Music audience that Web3 will mean individuals can have ownership of the next version of the internet, instead of big tech companies. That aspect has been a major selling point for Web3.