Credit: Travis McCoy
Credit: Travis McCoy

M. Shadows From Avenged Sevenfold Goes Full “Heavy Meta” in His Love for NFTs

How Avenged Sevenfold’s NFTs Are Striking a Chord in the Metaverse

When it first formed in 1999, it was impossible for heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold to foresee the impact they’d create in the music world. From their seven albums and frequent tours, the band has amassed an army of die-hard fans. Now, Avenged Sevenfold is leaving its mark on the industry once again, and this time, it’s digital. Avenged Sevenfold Deathbats NFT

Credit: Travis McCoy

Last December, the band launched Deathbats, their second collection of 10,000 non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which grants token holders access to an exclusive Deathbats Club. “I’ve been in crypto since 2015,” explains Avenged Sevenfold’s lead vocalist and songwriter M. Shadows. But he didn’t find his rhythm until he came across CryptoPunks, a collection of 8-bit art depicting punky portraits that launched on the Ethereum blockchain in 2017. According to Shadows, that’s when he realized the value of NFTs.

“CryptoPunks has a special place in my heart because I grew up in the pixelated era, so I get the art…but it’s about what CryptoPunk means,” he shares. Avenged Sevenfold Deathbats NFT

As he continued on his crypto journey, he discovered the potential of even more possibilities and saw how creative the uses could be. That’s when the idea hit him: “What if Avenged had tokens?”

Avenged Sevenfold’s Deathbat NFTs are the first to combine a musical act with the power of blockchain technology, making the band pioneers of rewarding fandom with benefits in crypto and the metaverse. Each of the 10,000 Bats is uniquely generated and can be owned, traded, bought or sold. Once the 10,000 Bats have been minted, the only way into the Deathbats Club is to buy a Bat from another owner. This ensures the building of a close-knit community of fans who all truly want to be a part of the club and opens up the possibility of these NFTs growing in value.

In case you’re not fully up-to-date on crypto or tokens, NFTs are digital collectibles that live on the blockchain, a system of storing information in a way that makes it nearly impossible to alter or hack the system. So while a Deathbat NFT may look like just a regular JPG, in reality, it’s full of unique information that can track and verify ownership. By offering the Deathbats Club through NFTs, Avenged Sevenfold will be able to see this data, which will come in handy when it’s time to hand out perks. Avenged Sevenfold Deathbats NFT

Credit: Travis McCoy

“Right now, to onboard people, we’ve put out some real-world incentives. Part of it is the community, perks on Discord, monthly giveaways, getting into our poker nights or movie nights. Part of it is the promise and the speculation that we are going to move forward into the metaverse and allow them private parties in the metaverse. We’ll be dropping their avatars in the metaverse where only they can get skins, clothing and weapons for games that we’ll build in the metaverse,” Shadows says.

Some of the physical incentives of joining the Deathbats Club include discounted or exclusive merch, skipping the lines at Avenged Sevenfold shows and physical giveaways like vinyl and guitars, but the band is also offering digital perks like NFT ticket stubs, airdrops (NFT giveaways) and access to the token-holder section of their website and private Discord channels. Token holders may also find some rare perks like meet-and-greet opportunities and free Avenged Sevenfold tickets for life.

Credit: Travis McCoy

But Shadows discourages fans from buying into the club for “the crazy perks” and hopes that people join in so they can reap the rewards of future opportunities.

“Eventually, we want to get into a decentralized platform for streaming and then incentivize token holders by fractionalizing royalties to them,” Shadows continues. “So instead of paying…Spotify, Apple Music or Warner Bros. 80% of our income, it would come back to us and we would be able to reward holders with these tokens. And these are all things that are a couple years down the line, but these tokens are the beginning of that… The endgame is much bigger.” Avenged Sevenfold Deathbats NFT

Credit: Kam Pollock

Part of this endgame is causing ripples in how the music industry currently exists. This move by Avenged Sevenfold is undoubtedly sparking change as they pioneer this idea throughout the music and entertainment industries. Deathbat NFTs are the first to create an opportunity of ownership for the band’s fans—now imagine what this could mean as it catches on.

“I think this technology is powerful enough that it’s going to disrupt everything. And I think it’ll come from the outside,” Shadows says. “The music industry’s going to change because right now, musicians have egregious royalty statements.” From production to promotion, a lot of money goes to parts of the infrastructure rather than the artists, but Shadows explains that through crypto, there are opportunities to cut out some of the middlemen so the artist can pocket more of their royalties (and receive it faster than ever too).

 

“The artist can take some of that money and fractionalize it to the hardcore token holders—and I think that’s going to be less than a year or two away,” he predicts. Avenged Sevenfold Deathbats NFT

There are some generalized issues that will need to be ironed out in the crypto space, and he’s sure that there will be a battle between the new and old ways of doing things in the industry, but overall, Shadows is optimistic about these changes, saying that “eventually, we’ll see a much better, more open-sourced world.”

Aside from creating exciting new opportunities in the crypto and metaverse space, a huge draw to joining the Deathbats Club is the club itself. It’s no secret that community is a core value of the band, and they’re eager to find ways to make Deathbat NFTs about connection and experiences. “It’s all about the journey, not the destination… And the journey is being in the Discord all day with people you relate to,” Shadows explains. “[Our fans have] a community. They’re ideating on their own bands and their own songs and their own merchandise companies that they’re making…and at the end of the day they’re always looking for that destination, but the destination never comes, right? It’s always going to be the journey and the community.” Avenged Sevenfold Deathbats NFT

While the band has big plans for the future of this community, they still want to nurture its current roots. “Owning a Bat instantly puts you in a club of like-minded people that you can talk to and ideate with,” he says. “That’s really important to us because that’s one of the essential pieces of life, you know? Find communities and find your people. That’s what we’re trying to build.”

While not every fan is stoked on or in favor of these NFTs, the reactions have mostly been positive. Not only is Avenged Sevenfold creating an exclusive club that holds real value and eventual ownership, but the band is also the first to do it. “There is a value—just because you can’t touch it, doesn’t mean there isn’t value,” Shadows says. “There is intrinsic value. It’s technology that we need. It’s technology that makes everything better.”  Avenged Sevenfold Deathbats NFT

@mshadows_official

Writer | Website | + posts

Born and raised near the Pacific Coast, Jordan Nishkian is a California girl through and through. She graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a BA in Creative Writing and a BA in Anthropology, and her favorite place to be is curled up in a comfy chair with a book in her hand and a pen in her hair.

Photographer | Website | + posts

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