Snoop Dogg’s first plan of action after buying the Death Row Records brand and catalog in February was apparently to pull the entire catalog from streaming services – he’s now explained why.
In a new interview with REVOLT’s Drink champions On Friday, Snoop said he removed music from Death Row – including its 1993 debut doggystyle and Dr. Dre’s seminal The Chronicle – traditional streaming services “because these platforms do not pay”. Instead, the rapper claimed he plans to launch a standalone “Death Row app” that will host the label’s music.
“These platforms get millions and millions and millions of streams and nobody gets paid except the record labels,” Snoop said. “So what I wanted to do is rip off my music, create a platform, which is something similar to Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, there will be a Death Row app.” In the meantime, the rapper continued, Death Row’s music will “live in the metaverse” – reiterating a previous claim he made in February that the company would operate as “an NFT label”.
Snoop’s comments echo a common criticism of the low royalty rates paid by DSPs like Spotify and Apple Music (notably, the Death Row catalog is still available on Tidal). Later in the chat, he contextualized that decision as part of a larger effort to put the power back in the hands of artists.
“No one here can tell you what a stream is. It’s a fraction of a penny. It’s a third of a penny,” he said. “So you get 100 million streams and you don’t earn not a million dollars. So what is it? But you want me to keep giving you my music but someone’s making money and it’s not me. And I can’t allow myself to continue doing that and I want to create an avenue where I can show people how to not always have to go through the slave trade but create our own business where we engage with our own fans, that’s my own music making money from the music and then making us money from the music by being traded and sold.
To illustrate the potentially lucrative nature of NFT music drops, Snoop went on to note that his most recent album, BODR (bac on death row)grossed $21 million in the metaverse on its first day of release in February. Billboard previously reported that BODR was available as 25,000 “Stash Box” NFTs containing one of the album’s 17 songs – each costing $5,000 each – in partnership with blockchain gaming platform Gala Games (the album is also available on traditional streaming services). In March, the rapper also released the compilation Death Row Mix: Vol. 1 on sale as 1,000 limited-edition NFTs priced at 0.1 ETH (about $300) each on music startup Web3 Sound XYZ, which claims the NFTs sold out in less than an hour.
“In the real world, [BODR] streamed like 9 million here, 7 million here, and it only got 34,000 downloads, which did next to nothing,” Snoop continued. “So how do you think I feel about tradition, based on what I’ve done here?”
Snoop Dogg has already made inroads into NFTs and the Metaverse. In March 2021, the rapper announced that he would release his first NFT collection, “A Journey with the Dogg”, on Crypto.com. In September, he also claimed to be the user behind the @CozomoMedici Twitter account, which had garnered considerable interest due to its owner’s well-documented speculation in the NFT space and ownership of hundreds of NFTs (although there is now substantial doubt surrounding @CozomoMedici’s true identity). More recently, he announced a new partnership with Champ Medici and Clay Nation to launch an NFT collection on the cardano blockchain.
Snoop also owns virtual real estate in the Sandbox gaming metaverse, which last month dropped the Snoop Dogg-inspired playable/NFT avatar series “The Doggies.” On April 1, Sandbox also hosted the virtual music video release for Snoop’s “House I Built” and will host his first Metaverse concert later this year.