After a successful pre-sale, French entrepreneur, Oussama Ammar and the famous pianist, Sofiane Pamart are gearing up for the public launch of the Piano King NFT collection. The collection is centred around Sofiane, a.k.a, “Piano King”, who is known for his melodies rife with emotions. One of the top 10 most listened to classical musicians in the world, Sofiane launched his solo career in 2019. Now, the Piano King NFTs offer his fans a chance to connect with the pianist himself. More importantly, the NFTs allow those who love Sofiane to support his career as a solo artist.
“A Piano speaks no language and it can play every style of music,” Oussama tells NFTevening in an exclusive interview. “So it can be played in every country and across genres.”
The pre-sale of 1,000 NFTs were sold out in under 48 hours last month. Surprisingly, 85% of the collectors were first-time NFT buyers, says Oussama. Now, the team is all set to drop a total of 7,000 NFTs on December 8, 2021.
Oussama Ammar on how it all began
Interestingly, the project came into being due to COVID-19. When the pandemic hit in 2020, Oussama got “stuck” in a flat with Sofiane—his close friend of years—who would come over to play his exquisite piano, and has since been sharing a flat together. At the time, Oussama was running The Family, a fellowship of founders that has supported over 700 startups across Europe.
“When the NFT first appeared, my first reaction was very sceptical,” Oussama recalls. “I was like, ‘okay, why are people paying for JPEG?’” However, his views changed after he joined an NFT project’s Discord, which made him realize that community and utilities are at the heart of NFTs.
“If you have the right community and the right utility together, then you have something amazing,” he adds. Soon after, the duo decided to drop an NFT collection—Piano King—along with Sofiane’s manager and brother.
‘An NFT collection focusing on real people’: Oussama Ammar
However, unlike the existing collections in the market, the team wanted to create a collection on Sofiane’s career. This meant creating a very long term project that will be relevant even 30 years down the lane, Oussama says. In order to achieve this, they followed three principles: gamification of the utility, creating a sense of belonging for holders, and a sense of participation without affecting the artist’s career.
In this regard, the project is already a success. It has organically grown its Discord from 500 people during pre-sale to 2,500 now, claims Oussama.
“Usually in the NFT world, you spam everyone, you market, and then you say ‘see my Discord is so big’”, he adds. “But it doesn’t matter. What matters is real people buying real NFT. So we had a very organic strategy and we have 2,500 real people that are really involved.”
Remarkably, 165 people from this have volunteered to work for the project for free, right from graphic designing to game development and more. “It’s so great because all of these people bought an NFT and they are thinking: ‘okay, how can I make this NFT more valuable?’” Oussama says.
“A lot of people think that Metaverse is about high technology…But, a metaverse starts first with the storytelling and it starts with the fact that people are able to imagine a world,” he explains. “Discord is a very simple version of the metaverse where everyone will contribute in this Discord, change clothes, and [names]. I’m not Oussama Ammar anymore, I’m ‘The Last Wizard’.”
It’s raining utilities in the Piano King NFT collection!
From the beginning, utility was an essential part of the project. Thus, depending on the type of the NFT—Legendary, Heroic, and Regular— it gives holders rights in the real world. For instance, Legendary, being the rarest of the lot, confers the most exclusive access to holders.
Firstly, holders of Legendary NFT will get VIP access to Sofiane’s birthday party every January 6! Secondly, those who hold ‘The Royal Treasure Guardians’ NFT will get a signed copy of everything that Sofiane releases in the future. This includes books, sweaters, glasses, and sheet music, among others. On the other hand, those with ‘The Devil’ NFT will receive Sofiane’s gold, platinum and diamond discs with a signing in his name. The list goes on for Legendary NFTs!
Meanwhile, holders of Heroic NFTs with rare features will receive letters from Sofiane. This ‘new kind of newsletter’ can either be digital or on paper. Details of the other utilities can be found on Piano King’s website.
“For me, the utility part was a way of saying the value of the NFT is beyond the status and that’s the status by itself,” Oussama says. “Because then people know I didn’t buy just a JPEG, I bought access to a Sofiane concert. No, I didn’t buy a JPEG, I bought a vote in DAO to find a prince and princess.”
DAO: Finding the next Sofiane
Piano King NFT collection has also set up two DAOs (decentralized autonomous organization), which will get 5% of all secondary transactions. Half of the royalties will go to ‘The Artistic DAO’, which focuses on helping Sofiane to continue to produce “outstanding” works. This includes collaborations with other artists, new music videos, and private concerts. The remaining royalties will go to ‘The Prince and Princess DAO’. This DAO aims to find a “Prince and Princess”, a.k.a, the next generation of musicians and singers.
“It’s about financing the next generation of artists and allowing people to vote about who we should support,” Oussama explains. “And that’s really cool…[because]…it’s about providing to the next generation something that goes beyond Sofiane.”
And this is what most excites Oussama Ammar about the Piano King NFT project.
“I have known Sofiane for six years and [I have seen] how much commitment it takes and how hard it is to become an artist,” Oussama says. “So if we can do a DAO and then help launch the career of the next Sofiane, then this is mind-blowing. Because, if that works, and if we can build it for years, and we [support] one artist every year, then we build something like Universal Music in the 20th century, but a Web3 version.”
What’s next for the project?
As a project that keeps the community first, the Piano King’s team is doing all they can to make the mint easy for the members. In this regard, the team will launch 7,000 NFTs as raffles of 1,000 NFTs each on the mint day so that members don’t have to pay exorbitant gas fees, says Oussama.
“We don’t want to create a waiting list of 50,000 people that just want to mint…we are going to take our time,” he adds. “I want real people, that deserve to buy the NFT, to be able to buy it one by one. So we keep the gas super normal and no gas wars.”
Besides, they have set up a phone number where anyone can call to get any queries answered. For example, when some struggled to connect their MetaMask wallet during the pre-sale, the team helped to manually set it up.
Furthermore, each 1,000 NFT raffle will unlock something on the roadmap. Once 25% of NFTs are sold out, holders will get access to the private Discord, rife with exclusive contests, merch, and more. At 62.5%, “The King” will compose an anthem of the kingdom and exclusively airdrop it to all holders. At 75% and 87.5%, the King will pay 25 ETH each for the first art DAO and the grant for the first Prince and Princess, respectively.
A most exciting event is planned for when the collection is sold out. The team will organize an NFT invitation-only private concert in the Garden of Versailles!
Oussama is hopeful of selling all 7,000 NFTs 100% organically, without taking any help from NFT influencers. The NFTs will cost between 0.15 and 0.25 ETH. The team is yet to finalise the mint price and will depend on the ETH price at the time, he adds.
Exclusive sneak peek into an upcoming second collection
Along with Piano King, Oussama and the team have been working on another NFT collection in secret. For the first time, Oussama Ammar shared the details of the collection exclusively with NFTevening.
Essentially, the collection will include 25 artworks by various artists on Piano King’s Discord. In fact, the team have already selected nine artworks, which they will auction privately after Sofiane’s birthday on January 6. Starting January 6th, they will publish the NFT art on Piano King’s gallery on OpenSea. Then, once the NFTs are sold, every artist will receive a share of the royalties. At the moment, the gallery only features personalized PFP NFTs of the team members, which are not for sale.
“So piano King is going to be a platform where both famous artists and people that are less famous but very talented will have a chance to auction their art in the private gallery of the King,” Oussama explains. “So far, the only people that know about the collection is the artists that are working on it.”