Blackpink’s digital collectibles drop points to new era of fan engagement

    Blackpink enters the digital collectibles market, Mmerch unveils new IRL NFT experience, and launches 'semi-digital' jeans.
    Image: PUBG

    K-pop darlings Blackpink have announced the imminent launch of their maiden digital collectibles collection.

    Inspired by their 2022 song “Pink Venom,” which initially received mixed reviews, the four-part girl group joins a growing number of K-pop dignitaries diving into the world of NFTs and virtual tokens.

    The tokens will be released from May 22 to 26 through VeVe, a New Zealand-based company that specializes in licensed digital collectibles.

    K-pop has been charting its own course when it comes to digital collectibles and NFTs, from Jay Chou’s “Phanta Bears” NFT drop in 2021 to Aespa’s capsule token release with Sotheby’s in 2022, which offered holders an all-expenses-paid trip to Seoul to meet the group.

    Industry titans such as Hybe (the music agency behind K-pop mega group BTS) and SK Telecom have also been aggressively investing in the metaverse arena. The former launched an NFT-powered K-pop platform in 2022, while the latter unveiled plans to step up its metaverse expansion in Asia in April.

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    “Artists, designers, and entertainers can interact with holders or fans closely in the metaverse via different devices and social platforms virtually. For instance, artists can meet their fans ‘directly’ in a live metaverse interview or a metaverse concert by using wearable equipment. This shortens the distance created by the stage in real life,” Ric Chiang, co-founder of Phantaci, told Jing Daily last year.

    Blackpink’s entry into the token market comes as no surprise.

    The group’s metaverse concert, hosted alongside PUBG mobile, drew in over 46 million users in 2022, demonstrating Asia’s receptiveness to virtual-first activations.

    The band’s foray into the digital collectibles realm also comes at a time when music artists are diversifying their sources of revenue amid sustainability concerns over physical merchandise. As a result, artists are exploring alternative formats, with Web3 emerging as a profitable pursuit.

    While the trading of NFTs in the APAC region remains in a persistent state of limbo, Blackpink’s ascent to mainstream consciousness in the West, driven by luxury brand partnerships and growing global interest in K-pop, is likely to prevent the collection from flopping.

    Meta Bites#

    Web3-powered fashion brand Mmerch has revealed its first token-linked experience alongside contemporary American artist Tom Sachs. On the heels of its sell-out debut collection last month, the startup is encouraging community members to attend Tom Sach’s “Bodega 245 Picasso” show in New York City and share photos of themselves wearing their Mmerch hoodies. Those who do so will be airdropped an exclusive Bodega 245 x Mmerch experience token.

    Meanwhile, augmented reality aficionado has launched its “semi-digital” jeans. The jeans can be scanned via a QR code, enabling their wearer to switch up the texture of the physical garment to create unique content for their social media platforms.

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