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Universal Music Group Teams With Curio to Sell NFT Digital Collectibles for Music Artists, Labels

Partnership will kick off this spring in a project with British artist Calum Scott

Universal Music Group in Santa Monica,
Michael Buckner for Variety

The NFT train keeps steaming along:  Universal Music Group is the first major music company to ink a partnership with Curio, a nonfungible token platform focused on entertainment brands.

Under the deal, Curio will serve as a dedicated global outlet for future officially licensed NFT projects from UMG’s record labels, operating companies and recording artists worldwide. The first project under the partnership will be with British singer-songwriter Calum Scott, a Capitol Music Group artist, which is slated to launch this spring.

NFTs provide a way to verify ownership of a piece of digital content, and entertainment companies have flocked to the technology as a way to monetize their intellectual property and boost fan loyalty.

Separately, UMG recently stuck a deal with digital avatar company Genies, which will provide the music company’s artists with official virtual identities as well as let them release exclusive avatar wearables as NFTs for fans.

Curio first launched in 2020 and dropped its first NFTs in February 2021. Since then, Curio has released more than 75,000 NFTs with partners in music, film, TV and graphic novels.

Curio co-founder and co-CEO Ben Arnon, a tech and media veteran, once worked at Universal Music Group in the early 2000s. Veteran music manager Dan Dymtrow now serves as Curio’s head of music and influencer NFT global partnerships, while Marc Geiger, former global head of music at William Morris Endeavor, serves as an investor and adviser to Curio.

“UMG and our labels are focused on developing NFT projects that authentically engage and speak to our artists’ fanbases and new audiences,” Michael Nash, UMG’s EVP of digital strategy, said in announcing the deal. “With Curio, our labels will have a secure and dedicated platform to host these premium projects and provide new opportunities for collectors and fans from around the world to acquire unique pieces, inspired by their favorite artists and labels.”

Curio’s Arnon commented, “UMG has a huge catalog with unlimited opportunity to deliver value to fans across the globe. Their brands and labels are historic and iconic. And the digital innovation and Web3 expertise amongst their executives is unparalleled.”