Why Artists Are Embracing New Tech, NFTs

Is there any industry that isn’t facing the necessity of embracing new technologies?

At the very least, that idea has become the rule rather than the exception. Many artists, especially musicians, were struggling to find income sources even before the pandemic. With a global community that’s often scared of returning to restaurants or schools — much less crowded performance venues or conventions — it’s more important than ever for artists to develop their online presence.

For much of the 20th century, artists have been able to rely on income from the sale of their work, whether that’s books or paintings or live performances or physical recordings (remember those?).

And while it’s safe to say that artists have also always pursued multiple income streams to be financially successful, it’s also reasonable to suggest that strategy is more salient now than ever before.

This is primarily because many parts of the economy remain volatile. Social media platforms rise to massive levels of influence only to fade in popularity within a few years. Live performances are canceled as easily as they are announced with the unpredictability of news about the virus.

That was clearly evident in summer 2021 when social media was flooded with announcements of national tours in the US and Europe, many of which were canceled just two months later over concerns of rising case numbers.

But artists have always had to adapt to their circumstances, and while the long-term picture for artists is hardly optimistic, there are ways that many painters and musicians have been able to leverage technology to keep themselves relevant — and hopefully making some money.

These are just a few examples of how artists are adapting to less-than-perfect conditions.

Online Experiences

Thanks to major advancements in consumer technology, each one of us can now be a television producer or filmmaker or photo editor or any one of a number of things that used to require years of training and expensive equipment.

“This power is being leveraged by artists across their web sites and preferred social media platforms,” said Thomas Kane, an art collector and private wealth manager in Chicago. “I think we’re going to see more and more of this kind of thing.”

Painters often create time-lapse videos of their workflow, allowing their fans to watch in 3 minutes a masterpiece of skill that took them many hours to complete.

Musicians continue live-stream performances on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram and TikTok, asking viewers to donate money like they would pay a cover at a music venue.

Offering unique online experiences is now as important (if not more so) than the live shows that musicians once painstakingly crafted over months, if not years.


While non-fungible tokens (NFTs) remain highly controversial, there’s no doubt that artists and musicians have quickly jumped on the bandwagon.

And why not? While many of us continue to be confused about how these “digital collectibles” actually work, the reality is that people are paying artists money for their work — and for record prices.

Visual artists are the main benefactors from this trend, as their work is most easily converted and used as NFTs. But any amount of reading on this subject will show very quickly that NFTs can be used to sell virtually anything.

“NFTs have completely upset the usually closed shop of the art market, with crypto millionaires calling the shots,” JJ Charlesworth, Editor at ArtReview, told The Evening Standard. “Meanwhile, a younger generation of artists are discovering that they can sell their work through a different kind of market, as culture shifts increasingly online.”

It remains unclear whether NFTs can truly replace the income artists have lost from the decline of sales at record stores, art galleries and book stores. But if NFTs can provide even a portion of that lost income, artists have a major incentive to pursue them.

As ArtDex recently wrote on this subject, “technology has also given more people access to the arts, giving art enthusiasts and collectors platforms to build their art collection and share with others.”

“Technologies and social media have revolutionized the traditional art scene by allowing people to express their deepest emotions and beliefs through interactive and highly-engaging digital art pieces and projects,” the article said.

As long as the global audience remains willing to support the artists who have found smart ways to leverage technology, this newest evolution of the arts could be a very good thing.