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Music

Universal look set to take Frank Zappa into the Metaverse

Universal Music Group has revealed that it is preparing to launch a series of Frank Zappa NFTs and Web3 projects after they purchased the late icon’s estate and likeness from his family for an undisclosed fee. 

Zappa passed away in 1993 at just 52 following a battle with prostate cancer. One of the most prolific musicians in history, he released well over 60 albums across his career, including classics such as We’re Only in It for the Money with The Mothers of Invention in 1968 and Apostrophe (‘) as a solo artist in 1974. The extensive back catalogue also includes a myriad of live albums such as 1991’s Make a Jazz Noise Here.

Zappa’s music is some of the most complex and individualistic out there, and it was fuelled by his colourful personality, which was one of a kind. A prominent proponent of free speech and an ardent antiestablishmentarian, Zappa was as much a social commentator as he was a musician. Reflecting that his work extended far beyond the musical, for a time in 1990, he served as a cultural ambassador to Czechoslovakia after the fall of Communism.

Famously, Zappa also never used drugs, which was a surprise to many given just how zany his work was, and his close ties to the counterculture. He once postulated: “Drugs do not become a problem until the person who uses the drugs does something to you, or does something that would affect your life that you don’t want to have happen to you, like an airline pilot who crashes because he was full of drugs.”

For his monumental contributions to music, Zappa was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and was then awarded the Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award in 1997. 

Now, Universal has disclosed that it plans to attract new fans to Zappa’s work with a series of cross-platform deals, that will include “merchandise, feature films, interactive experiences, as well as non-fungible tokens and other next-generation Web3 projects.” 

The estate was purchased directly from The Zappa Trust, which is comprised of his children, Moon, Dweezil, Ahmet, and Diva Zappa. As part of the deal, Universal have acquired Frank’s name, likeness, film archive, publishing catalogue, and “vault” of complete work. 

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