Muse have made chart history by becoming the first act with a UK No 1 album sold in the form of an NFT (non-fungible token). The Devon rock trio achieved the feat with their ninth album, Will of the People, which was released last week in the form of a limited edition NFT “digital pressing”, as well as traditional formats such as vinyl, digital, cassette and CD.
Will of the People sold 51,500 copies in its first week, outselling the rest of the top 10 combined, although only a fraction of those were NFTs: the digital pressing of the record was limited to 1,000 copies worldwide, meaning that even if every copy of the NFT was sold in the UK, they accounted for at most 1.96% of the UK sales.
Will of the People was not, however, the first charting album to be released in NFT format: Muse were beaten to the punch by Manchester rapper Aitch, whose debut album Close to Home, released a week prior to Muse’s record, reached No 2 on last week’s chart.
As reported by the Guardian last month, NFT albums have been eligible for the charts for a few months but it is only now that they are being sold by chart-return retailers. Will of the People retailed via “eco-friendly” NFT platform Serenade, while Aitch’s Close to Home NFT was sold on LimeWire – an NFT marketplace whose name and branding was licensed from the now-defunct file-sharing platform.
The digital pressing of Will of the People, which is now sold out, comprised a downloadable version of the album that featured alternate cover art and was digitally signed by the members of Muse. It is the band’s seventh project to reach No 1, giving them the same number of chart toppers as Elton John, Paul McCartney, George Michael, the Prodigy, and the Killers.