Music News

Is Cryptocurrency The Future of Live Music?

For more than half a decade, the fringes of the music industry have been alive with whisperings about how concepts such as cryptocurrency, blockchain and NFTs are going to revolutionise the business as we know it. Or, perhaps more pertinently, knew it. Until more recently, those whisperings were just that. The industry’s traditionalists were still discussing the digital revolution solely in streaming terms, while those who understood said concepts and the weight they would soon carry were generally dismissed as championing a niche concern – one that might gain traction in a few specialised corners of the business but would ultimately fail to lay a glove on the mainstream. For some, such arguments were made in good faith. For others, a lack of understanding of the mechanics involved in the concepts underpinned their unwillingness to engage with them.

More recently, however, those whispers have escalated to a shout, whose message is currently reverberating through the industry’s every nook and cranny. On a daily basis, more and more artists are embracing the potential of NFTs as a way of increasing engagement with their audience, while venues of all shapes and sizes are beginning to harness the power of cryptocurrency platforms, with some partnering directly with some of the biggest players in the field.

On April 12, London’s refurbished and vastly expanded Koko put pen to paper on a multi-million pound partnership with cryptocurrency platform Luno, which today lays claim to in excess of 10 million users. The multi-faceted partnership includes the launch of a new multi-purpose space located at the top of Koko dubbed The Luno, which will facilitate everything from DJ sets, digital art exhibitions and immersive events. Crucially, it will also host guest speakers and workshops for the public with an emphasis on cryptocurrencies and other themes of potentially game-changing digital technology.

Furthermore, the move is aimed at supporting emerging talent via a series of livestreams, while exclusive access to benefits such as fan experiences, giveaways, presale tickets and merchandise will be offered to Luno customers.

Every day the relationship between crypto and music grows stronger, with blockchain innovations beginning to revolutionise the industry.

“Koko is about celebrating 122 years of culture, whilst fiercely stepping into the future,” said Seb Croft, Koko’s commercial director, when speaking about the agreement. “Our partnership with Luno will allow us to be at the forefront of blockchain technology, supporting artists in new ways and providing game-changing experiences for fans. The opportunities for us to innovate together in the music and entertainment space are endless.”

“It’s exciting to enter this dynamic new partnership at such an important moment in time, as blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionise the future of music,” Olly Bengough, Koko’s CEO and founder, elaborated. “Luno has successfully built up a global community of innovators and creators pioneering in this space, and for Koko to join forces as Web3 becomes an exciting new horizon for us all, gives Koko a truly unique opportunity to take part in this ever evolving new space.”

Sam Kopelman, Luno’s UK country manager, was equally excited about the deal:

“Koko is a cultural institution and for decades has used its stage to put the spotlight on emerging talent as well as some of the biggest acts in the world,” said Kopelman. “We could not think of a better partner for our first step into the music and entertainment space and we cannot wait to put our support behind live music in the UK after such a difficult two years for the industry. “Every day the relationship between crypto and music grows stronger, with blockchain innovations beginning to revolutionise the industry. With Koko we look forward to working with artists and helping them realise the potential of decentralised technology, giving them greater control over their music and their futures.”

The mutual benefits on offer to Koko and Luno will not be lost on the rest of the industry. The increase in customer engagement via digital technology beyond the setting of a live concert will be of great interest to venues, while the likes of Luno are set to become the beneficiaries of a new and engaged user base.

Indeed, this isn’t the first instance of venues entering into lucrative partnerships with cryptocurrency platforms. Last year, AEG’s LA Staples Center inked a 20-year naming rights deal with, which will see the venue renamed as the Crypto. com Arena. Worth an estimated $700 million (according to the FT), the partnership will entail the introduction of premium branded areas and dedicated activation areas within the arena.

“This partnership is about the future,” commented Dan Beckerman, AEG president and CEO at the time of the announcement. “AEG and Crypto. com not only share a vision about innovation and the future of sports and entertainment, but we also have a shared commitment to our communities where we work and live. We look forward to partnering with to create meaningful initiatives to bring that vision to life in the years to come.”’s commitment and investment in the music and entertainment sphere speaks volumes about just how seriously the cryptocurrency sector considers the sector to be. In years gone by, cryptocurrency was largely considered to be a matter for business people and those with a strong knowledge of the financial sector. This significant play to connect with the general public, in this case, gig goers and sports fans, indicates that it’s not a matter of if, but when it cracks the mainstream.

Naming rights of large-scale venues such as the Staples Center deal will no doubt be on the radar of cryptocurrency providers. The huge branding opportunities are obvious, but the ability to create activations within these spaces will be key. One such opportunity may well be there for the taking at time of writing in the form of London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Opened in 2019 and built on the site of the football club’s previous home, it is widely considered to be one of the best and most technologically advanced stadiums in the world. The enormous range of facilities and capabilities it possesses, not to mention the fact it hosts not just Tottenham Hotspur football matches but a busy programme of NFL games, boxing matches and (very soon) live music, could well render it ripe for a partnership with a cryptocurrency platform, especially given it has yet to sew up a naming rights agreement.

As Kopelman said, the relationship between music and crypto grows stronger by the day. And if current trends persist, it may not be long before we’re discussing the industry in pre and post-crypto terms in the same way consumption is now viewed in pre and post-streaming terms. Only time will tell.