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Julien’s Auctions has announced an online auction of 45 photos—and accompanying NFTs—shot by Neil Zlozower, aka Zloz, photographer to the rock stars. The whole situation is a little peculiar but looks like it might be more successful than the Associated Press’s recent foray into NFTs. Let’s dig in.

Who’s Zloz?

Even if you don’t know his name, you’ve almost certainly seen Zloz’s work. He is one of the biggest photographers in rock, having shot with artists like Van Halen, Motley Crue, Guns N Roses, The Who, Kiss, Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, and lots more. He’s shot more than 800 magazine covers, dozens of album covers, and tens of thousands of photos of rockstars over the past 50 years. 

Neil Zlozower photo of Motorhead rock and roll band
A signed print of Motorhead is also up for auction. Neil Zlozower

What’s for sale here?

With every discussion of NFTs (it stands for non-fungible token, and our pals at Popular Science have a great explainer), it’s important to step back and clarify what’s being sold. It’s a buzzword that gets thrown around a lot, but it’s not always clear what’s on offer.

Julien’s is auctioning off 45 portraits from Zloz’s F U Rock N Roll Portraits series where rockstars like Slash, Eddie Van Halen, and Joan Jett give him the finger (or “flip him the bird”). Each lot contains an 11-x-14-inch print signed by Zloz as well as “a digital version of the photograph as an exclusive 1-of-1 NFT minted on the Ethereum blockchain.” Apparently, “the item is brought to life in an even more personal way through Zloz’s exclusive audio narration, which is minted as part of this NFT.”

What’s actually for sale here?

Right, so each lot has a signed 11-x-14-inch print of the photo, that is real and shipped to the buyer. If you win the auction, you absolutely get that. The NFT bit is a little more complicated. 

Neil Zlozower's photo of Joan Jett is up for auction as part of the F U Rock and Roll Portrait series
Zloz’s photo of The Runaways’ Joan Jett. Neil Zlozower

Whoever wins each auction will get an NFT minted on the Ethereum blockchain that links to a JPEG file and an audio file, presumably hosted by Julien’s Auctions. The terms of service, however, make it pretty clear that this NFT doesn’t entitle you to much exclusivity. Under “NFT Lot Provisions”, the terms read:

(a) Possessory Rights Only. You acknowledge that ownership of an NFT carries no rights, express or implied, other than property rights for the Lot (specifically, the Underlying Asset tokenized by the NFT).

(b) No IP Rights in Underlying Asset. You understand that you have no Intellectual Property Rights in or to the Underlying Asset of the NFT. All such rights are retained by the artist. You understand and agree that You are solely are obtaining a limited use license to the Underlying Asset where You have the right to use the Underlying Asset for your own personal non-commercial purposes and display the same. Others may still be able to download, view or listen to the work that was minted into the NFT. You cannot profit from the use of the Underlying Asset, nor do you acquire a copyright interest in the Underlying Asset. You further understand that the NFT you purchase may be subject to royalty payments to the artist from the proceeds of your purchase, as well as if you later elect to sell such NFT.

(c) Other Versions. You further expressly acknowledge that other versions or edits of NFTs containing the Underlying Asset may be sold.

In other words, you get a token that says you own a digital copy of the photo and a copy of the audio file, but you can’t do much with them, and Julien’s or Zloz can sell other identical versions again in the future. 

And even though Julien’s claims the audio files are “minted” with the NFTs, they are still stored separately—and are available for anyone to listen to with each lot. 

portrait of rock and roll band Van Halen in black and white
This signed portrait of Van Halen can be yours. Neil Zlozower

What portraits are available?

Those portraits, though, are pretty cool—and the signed prints would look great on a wall. Julien’s expects each one to sell for between $600 and $2,000, but the starting bids are just $25.

Zloz has shot with a lot of big-name rock artists. Some of more famous portraits available are of:

  • Ozzy Osbourne
  • Lemmy Kilmister from Motorhead
  • Ronnie James Dio from Dio
  • Rob Halford from Judas Priest
  • Eric Singer from Kiss
  • Steven Tyler from Aerosmith
  • Eddie Van Halen from Van Halen
  • Jon Bon Jovi
  • Tommy Lee from Motley Crue
  • Nikki Sixx from Motley Crue
  • Chad Smith from Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Tom Delonge from Blink-182.
  • Travis Barker from Blink-182.

It’s a serious who’s who of the rock world. (Just nobody tell Snoop Dogg about this.)

Where to bid on a Zloz NFT

If you want to pick up a Zloz print and NFT, the auction is live now on Julien’s Website and closes at 11 am PDT on May 16th, 2022. 

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