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By Jordan Houston | January 4, 2022

Nonfungible tokens are revolutionizing the way music sells — and a local rock band is tapping in, following in the footsteps of Our Lady Peace and Kings of Leon.

The Palomas, a Tempe-based five-piece, recently sold several singles as digital assets to raise funds for its Christmas single “Missing Mistletoe,” released via Spotify and iTunes on December 3. The holiday tune, which has since amassed over 11,000 streams, was created with the help of Grammy-winning, multiplatinum producer Mikal Blue.

Known for its genre-blending grooves, The Palomas partnered with Nifty Gateway to create crypto art through its music, according to guitarist Josh Browning, generating “a lot of cash” in a “relatively short amount of time.”

“It feels great,” the guitarist says. “It’s nice to see an actual return on our art.”

In a span of roughly six hours, Browning says consumers purchased the band’s NFTs at a rate that raised revenue equating to the take of 4 million streams. The funds were then used to back “Missing Mistletoe” with producer Michael Beck, who worked on the band’s previous singles “Cards” and “Brown.”

“The response, in my eyes, was great. It was as good as a small-time local band could get,” Browning says. “I am very happy about it. I think it’s a strong indicator of our ability to project ourselves in the future as we exponentially gain more followers and listeners.”

A form of cryptocurrency, NFTs, digital assets, represent real-world objects that operate on a blockchain. Because it is a publicly accessible network, all NFT transaction details are transparent. However, NFTs can be used to hold assets like art and music instead of “money.”

Computers used in NFT transactions “become part of the network,” and the subjective value of NFTs fluctuate similarly to stocks.

“Say you had the original copy of the Mona Lisa,” Browning explains.

“An argument people say is, ‘What is the difference from this (NFTs) and streaming a song on Spotify?’ Well the equivalent is always like, ‘Well you could print a picture of the Mona Lisa off of Google images, but it doesn’t hold as much value because it’s readily available.’ NFTs are the digital version of this concept.”

Since rebranding several years ago, the Palomas has offered a new take on rock. The musicians — who have known each other since elementary school — blend sounds of classic rock, blues, alternative rock and Latin influences. In addition to Browning, Palomas is comprised of singer Joe Gonzalez, co-lead vocalist and guitarist Sam Otterson, drummer Victor Sese and bassist Dane Hess.

“The way I like to look at it is I consider us like a mosaic, an eclectic blending of all of the genres that each individual member is specifically very into,” Browning explains. “For myself, I’m into classic rock, having grown up with older parents and that’s what I listen to. Some of the other members are into more punkish sounds, like Blink-182, or the more rhythmic Red Hot Chili Peppers.”

After playing together sparingly, Palomas found its footing in 2019 when it won recording time as a finalist in Alice Cooper’s Proof is in the Pudding Competition. The group recorded “Cards,” boasting over 13,000 streams on Spotify, and has performed at prominent Valley venues such as Last Exit Live, Rebel Lounge and CB Live.

Always eager to evolve, the Palomas is banking on the success of “Missing Mistletoe” and the NFTs. They have another single set for spring.

“We want to connect with the audience in a vibrant way on stage. That’s our goal as a band overall,” the guitarist says. “As far as what’s next, we have plans to take on the biggest venues around Phoenix for the short term, and eventually graduate to a southwest tour maybe through California, Colorado and Nevada.”

Local Band Showcase with Double Blind, Palomas and others

WHEN: 6 p.m. Friday, January 14

WHERE: Marquee Theatre, 730 N. Mill Avenue, Tempe

COST: Tickets start at $15