The NFT challenge for magazines and the independent publishing market
Let's start by clarifying any doubts about our opinion: whoever writes this article lost all the Bitcoins they had, bought in 2014, in the failure of MtGox, the largest cryptocurrency exchange of the time. Never seen again. So yes, we are a little used to technological embryos. Even when they are not well defined and it is almost certain that they will take different turns than those imagined in the first years of life.
NFTs in early 2021 were the hot topic of much of the art market and artists from the millennial generation down. For the more profane the Not Fungible Token they are real computer codes, alphanumeric sequences that contain a digital work: an image, a video, a gif, a meme, a song, a graphic or any other digital work, and make it unique and exclusive. The NFT contains the data of the work and its creator, as well as other data that those who create it can decide to include in the code, such as information on legal ownership, the number of authentic copies made and so on. But what does an NFT have more than any other computer file that contains the notes of a song or the colors of an image?
The NFT is a file that in addition to containing the digital work and various information about it and its owner, contains a certificate that certifies its uniqueness and exclusivity, making all reproductions of the file different from the same as "fake".
Take a creator who creates digital graphics, by recording one of his graphics with NFT technology that graphic transforms his copy (or the number of copies he wants) into the only original. In this way the work can take on a value and, beyond the possible "fake" reproductions on the internet, since he is the only owner of the same, he will be able to sell it to those who decide. This is how most of the NFT artists operate, including the Italians Skygolpe, Fabiello DaNGUIZ, Giovanni Motta, Federico Clapis.
A nice example? Think that the animated gif of the rainbow cat, one of the best known and used since the dawn of the internet, thanks to an NFC, was sold by the rightful owner for the beauty of 600 million dollars.
Today the market for these tools is ferocious and runaway like that of cryptocurrencies in general, passing from moments of euphoria often supported by collective hangovers on social media, to sudden drops in value. Like any self-respecting embryonic market, and in a manner similar to that of cryptocurrencies, it fills at the speed of light both with good content and creators, and with profiteers and predators. Therefore, attention is always the obligation. In short, the NFTs contain a precious gem: they are able to give uniqueness to creations on the web, without the aid of physical supports, a bit like a painted picture, like a piece played live, a cultural and philosophical revolution, as well as an economic one.
Why is this explanation necessary? For introduce NFTs to the world of magazines. And no, we are certainly not the ones to open the dance of this correlation, because in March 2021 Time magazine already sold 3 of its covers from the NFT SuperRare auction site for $ 435,000. Also at the beginning of the year, the New York Times sold the .png format of its own page for $ 560,000.
Tests, experiments, carried out by two historical international newspapers in the publishing world which, however, tell us a lot about what could happen in this market.
More and more often we tell ourselves that the physicality and scarcity of the revised object embellish it, increase its value. The low-cost magazine, poorly edited, poorly printed and with runs of tens of thousands of copies, has no future. The future of magazines belongs to exclusive, unique, sophisticated projects with their own well-defined imprint.
And what is the connection between NFT and magazine? We already know that design and graphics in magazines play an essential part in their success today. Experimentation, from the design of the paper object to the layout of the contents, is one of the distinctive elements that make the fortune of an independent magazine. A recognizable magazine, with unique features, is an object that will have a potentially very high intrinsic value of its own. And if tomorrow, in addition to being able to buy a piece of the magazine, you could buy the graphic files of the same and be the exclusive owners? We can already do it, you can answer it at first. Yes, but would you be able to register ownership of your artwork, find a certifying body and resell it, what do I know, in America? The process would be quite complicated. By creating the NFT of the graphics of the same you can give it in the blink of an eye to a Canadian collector or an Australian design studio. The authenticity of the creation would be guaranteed, as well as its immutability.
NFTs represent another step in the internet's ability to make things simple, fast and global. With all the pros and cons that can come with it, we would really like to try our hand at a world that has so much to do with the characters of exclusivity and originality that we love in magazines.
On their side, the publishers and authors of the magazines would find alternative ways to monetize their work, as well as making it possible to have a 360 ° usability of their components. Imagine being an Italian publisher and being able to sell the single photo that a Korean found inside your magazine in one click? Imagine the multifaceted possibilities and potential of a magazine as a multifaceted object and container of variegated, recognizable, exploitable and exportable art forms all over the world.
We remain deep lovers of the perfume of paper and the uniqueness of the physical object, but we can only look hopefully at everything that, if well managed, can give a strong impulse to the quality publishing market. While waiting for publishers who want to try their hand in this field, let's stay at the door and look with interest at the frontiers that open up to a publishing industry that is increasingly becoming art.
For those interested in learning more about the NFT issue, we recommend you this video on how to create an NFT and platforms SuperRare, Nitty Gateway And Hashmasks among the most popular where NFT art is bought today.