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There's music in the Metaverse

The entertainment business has been quick to move to the Metaverse. Back in November 2018, long before most of us had even heard of the Metaverse, American electronic music producer and DJ Christopher Comstock, otherwise known as Marshmello, made history by performing the first ever in-game concert in Fortnite.


Fast-forward to 2020, and Travis Scott’s Astronomical Tour in Fortnite, which attracted over 45 million viewers. Even more watch the recording of the event on YouTube which at the time of writing had garnered over 185 million views. In 2021 Ariana Grande performed a series on concerts, also in Fortnite, and Justin Bieber made his debut performance in the Metaverse, on the immersive extended reality, or XR, platform Wave – prior Wave performers include Jauz, Galantis, Tinashe, John Legend. And The Weeknd.


But the Metaverse isn’t reserved for Western artists. Earlier this year, Punjabi singing star Daler Mehndi perform on PartyNite Metaverse, drawing in 20 million viewers from around the world. And it hasn’t been all plain sailing, a recent Foo Fighters Super Bowl LVI virtual reality (VR) concert hosted by Meta, was allegedly beset by problems. At the time of writing, you can still catch the Foo Fighters 40-minute show on Oculus TV. While it’s great to be able to get this close to one of the world’s biggest rock bands, this is a passive VR experience, where the with no ability to move within the virtual environment.


Regardless, the Metaverse provides another channel through which artists can communicate with their fans and virtual gigs are only likely to grow in popularity. So how will record labels and recording artists capitalize?


American heavy metal band Slipknot have recently launched their own Metaverse, the Knotverse, in virtual world The Sandbox. Plans include unique non-fungible token offerings, digital assets in the form of non-interchangeable units of data stored on a blockchain, concerts, gaming experiences, fan experiences, unique collaborations, and wearables.


But what might these experience actually look and feel like? For a start, artists could offer people the opportunity to attend concerts that might otherwise be impossible, either because they are simply unaffordable because they’re in some far-flung location, or because they’re set in a fictional environment (here at The Metabite we expect Muse to be performing around a black hole near you soon). They could offer concerts made up of unique collaborations, unique setlists, filled with rarities and b-sides, or even unique songs, created in the moment. They could offer everyone the chance to get on stage and play alongside their musical heroes, and, of course, they could offer unique merchandise and memorabilia. It feels like an exciting time to be in the music business.


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