Ka-ching! The story of how we came up with the sound for an NFT linked to Goddess Lakshmi


Totality Corp

Project duration

1 month

Project requirement

5 tracks for each tier of the NFT + Music for the Lakshmi NFT website

The guys at Totality Corp came to us with a unique ask – The Gurgaon based company wanted to create playable NFTs carrying the imagery and symbolism of Lakshmi – The Indian goddess of wealth as a part of their mega project – The Zionverse, an Indian mythology inspired Multiverse. The team wanted us to create 5 tracks – each representing a different avatar of Lakshmi (Ashtalakshmi) – each track linked to a different tier of the NFT.

If this sounds complicated, that’s cause it is! NFTs are like jokes – some people get them, some don’t. But if you are someone who is into crypto, NFTs and blockchain tech, you can check out the whole project here.

The key take away here though, was that this seemed to be super interesting project and that sound would play a key role in creating a customer experience that is both entrenched in tradition and at the same time is representative of a hopeful and prosperous future.

From a sonic branding and analysis point of view, there were 3 things to take care of here:

1. Express musically, the idea of wealth and prosperity, tying back to the idea of goddess Lakshmi. The scope of composition here was actually quite defined – a number of ragas in Indian classical music relate directly not only to the ideas of wealth but also to goddess Lakshmi herself – most commonly, raga Shree and raga Lalitha. However, both these ragas consist of several dark semitones (Komal notes), due to which the compositions were rendered more serious sounding than we intended them to be.

After reviewing some more ideas in this space, we settled on the idea of the Ashtalakshmi strotra – an ancient hymn dedicated to goddess Lakshmi and her 8 forms. Hymns, in any form, are simplistic in nature since they need to be musical ideas that can easily be remembered and chanted by large groups of people. Luckily for us, memorability is a key feature of a good sonic brand.

Fun fact (if you haven’t noticed it already) – the thought of using this hymn as source material for a composition around a sonic brand is something that has already been done in the Indian financial space many years before. Check out HDFC’s sonic logo – the composition from 0:17 onwards is essentially a rendition of the Ashtalakshmi Strotra itself.

2. Brand the project with a future forward sound. While the basic tune would hold fort with a raga, the instrumentation would have to be symbolic of crypto-blockchain architecture. We also kept in mind the demographic for which the NFT and therefore the sound were being created – mostly young, multicultural, urban and tech savvy with a possibly eclectic. The more we studied the problem the clearer it became that this needed to be a sound of the future narrating a story of an ancient mythological world. 

This provided direction for the overall feel of the sound and the treatment of accompanying instruments. We took inspiration from productions of large world epics – movies like the Lord of the Rings and Dune, video games like God of War or Assassins Creed. The execution of this came through the use of electronic sounds as an accompanying drone, almost as a replacement to the traditionally used tanpura.

3. Create a gradation through 5 tiers of music, while maintaining a premium sound for each track. – This was much tougher to execute than we imagined. The thought was simple – less instruments for the basic tiers, more instruments for higher tiers but as the lead designer from our clients team pointed out – more instruments does not necessarily translate to better. 

We went about this by having a simple flute based tune for the most basic tier, accompanied simply by a tanpura holding the key of our tune – a simple, linear storyline. As the tiers went up, we increased kept adding secondary instruments to tell other stories in the spaces left through the main story – think of it as a movie with protagonists journey, but as the movie progresses, more is revealed about the back stories of secondary characters.

The other link to movies of course, is the fact that all these tracks were created and produced in Spatial Audio with Dolby Surround technology. This helped us create an immersive audio experience for our customers while adding to the richness of sound.

Impact:  All 5555 of the Lakshmi NFTs were sold out in 19 days, at 101 USDC each, bringing more than $560,000 to the platform. A massively successful Indian NFT based purely on art, music, gaming, devotion, mythology and of course – finance.

Learn more about the Lakshmi NFT project, Zionverse and the future of NFTs from these videos!