iHeartMedia, the holding company for iHeartRadio, is in talks with several NFT collections to use their intellectual property (IP) for an NFT podcast network. The company is investing hundreds of thousands of dollars to accomplish its goal.
According to Khalil Tawil, EVP of Strategy at iHeartMedia, the NFT blue-chip collections iHeartMedia is approaching include CryptoPunks, the Mutant Ape Yacht Club, and World of Women. Other emerging collections that iHeartMedia is interested in include Quirkies, CrypToadz, and Loot (for Adventurers).
Ultimately, iHeartMedia wants to acquire a set of NFTs and label it the “Non-Fun Squad” universe. Conal Byrne, the CEO of iHeartMedia’s Digital Audio Group, said that the company can “world-build” with those NFTs, create “narratives around them,” and bring their stories to light via “podcasts.”
The first product will likely be a podcast network called “The Non-Fun Podcast Network.” It will feature content surrounding the characters from that “Non-Fun Squad” universe. iHeartMedia is only interested in purchasing IP rights that will allow them to commercialize the podcasts.
Intellectual Property a Boon for NFT Collections
IP rights were not a big deal within NFT collections until 2021 when the Bored Ape Yacht Club gave its members full commercial rights to their NFTs. Since then, Ape holders have gone on to fund restaurants, start marijuana brands, and build other businesses, using their Apes as branding.
One collection that leveraged its IP rights (and the IP rights of many other Apes) was none other than Jenkins the Valet. The company behind it has created a platform where holders of Jenkins NFTs can license BAYC Apes and Mutants to the first book project, paving the way for passive income for Jenkins and BAYC holders.
And the IP rights debate led to a decrease in enthusiasm for the CryptoPunks collection. When members found out that Larva Labs (the previous owner of the collection) was withholding all rights, there was an uproar, and some high-profile members sold out of the club.
Nowadays, the popular saying that “The next generation of household characters will be born on the blockchain” seems to be playing out. iHeartMedia is a big name in radio, and by utilizing NFT characters for podcasts, it will be able to appear cutting edge to its audience.
There’s no telling if the podcast network will succeed, given the NFT space’s still young age. But it appears to be another sign that top companies want a piece of the metaverse.