Come Sept. 15, Inspiration4 will make history as the first all-civilian mission to orbit — but that’s not the only groundbreaking component of its launch: The crew’s cargo will include the first-ever minted NFT song to be played in space.
The song was created by Kings of Leon, which in March released its latest album, When You See Yourself, as an NFT, marking the first time fans were able to purchase an album on blockchain (through the band’s “NFT Yourself” collection of non-fungible tokens) on the same day it arrived on streaming platforms. When You See Yourself, released on RCA, peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard 200 and No. 2 on the Top Rock albums chart.
The band is making history yet again with its never-before-released performance of “Time in Disguise,” which will be played in orbit by Hayley Arceneaux, Inspiration4’s medical officer, who, at 29, will be the youngest American, first pediatric cancer survivor and first person with a prosthesis to travel to space.
The exclusive live recording from Kings Of Leon — recorded to become an NFT through YellowHeart’s blockchain technology as part of the Music Gives to St. Jude Kids program — is one of several items up for auction Thursday (Sept. 9) in support of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and its $200 million fundraising effort for Inspiration4. The auction will run through November.
“We have a long standing relationship with St. Jude and they approached us after seeing what we did earlier this year releasing our album as an NFT,” Kings of Leon’s Caleb Followill tells Billboard. “We are big supporters of their mission, and always happy to help support their mission, but this is the first time our music is part of the story and that makes it even more special for us. The fact that we’re also all making history together in the process is just a wild bonus.”
“It is another positive example of how the old music industry is changing,” continues Followill. “New ideas, like NFTs, and new ways to engage and connect and give back are crucial to the future of music and the role we play in making things better. We’ve been around a while, we are on album eight, but things like this make us feel like we are just getting started.”
Kings of Leon are managed by Andy Mendelsohn, who left Vector to join Full Stop Management in early 2019. The band, which was signed with Vector for two decades, followed Mendelsohn with his move.