Singer Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, has joined in the hype around non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

The 31-year-old R&B star announced on Wednesday (March 31) that he will be auctioning off a new NFT collection of artwork and music.

The auction will be held on Saturday on Nifty Gateway, the same online marketplace that worked with artist Beeple to auction off a piece of digital art for US$6.6 million (S$8.9 million) in February.

The NFT hype continued last month with another Beeple piece going under the hammer for US$69 million at auction house Christie’s.

NFTs are assets on the blockchain tied to digital art, such as images, audio, video or another format. While the art itself is usually reproducible, the NFTs indicate the true ownership of the digital art.

The Weeknd will be selling three different visual artworks, each with a filtered segment of a new song. While there is no limit on the number of these works that can be sold, they will only be available for a limited time.

Another portion of the sale involves a 24-hour auction of the new song, in full and unfiltered, accompanied by an art piece.

The owner of this digital collectible will be the only person to have the song, as it will not be released on any platform.

The Weeknd collaborated with Strangeloop Studios, a Los Angeles media production company, to produce the visual art accompanying the song.

He said: “Blockchain is democratising an industry that has historically been kept shut by the gatekeepers. I’ve always been looking for ways to innovate for fans and shift this archaic music biz and seeing NFTs allowing creators to be seen and heard more than ever before on their terms is profoundly exciting.

“I intend to contribute to this movement and can see that very soon it will be weaved into the music industry’s mechanics.”

Nifty Gateway co-founder Duncan Cock-Foster added: “The Weeknd’s entry into the NFT space marks a seminal moment in NFT history. One of the most influential R&B singers of our generation creating in this new medium is huge validation for the entire NFT space.”

The Weeknd’s hit Blinding Lights last month became the first song in Billboard Hot 100 history to spend a full year in the chart’s Top 10.

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