Do you remember when Travis Scott virtually performed on Fortnite? Well, concerts in the ‘metaverse’ might just be the future of music consumption.
Warner Music Group (WMG) has invested in Wave, a virtual concert platform. Wave, founded by Adam Arrigo and Aaron Lemke, blends broadcast technology and real-time gaming graphics to transform artists into digital avatars in a virtual world, through which they can play live-streamed concerts for fans. The virtual concerts platform has already attracted attention and investment from Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, Scooter Braun and Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin.
WMG announced three days ago that they had taken a minority equity position in the company. By establishing this new strategic partnership, WMG aims to pioneer new forms of consumption and monetization in the non-traditional areas of the music business.
Now time to introduce an important term: the metaverse.
The metaverse is used to typically describe the concept of a future iteration of the internet, made up of persistent, shared 3D virtual spaces linked into a perceived virtual universe.
Got all that?
Fortnite and Roblox are two examples of games that have become metaverses — think Travis Scott’s 15 minute set in Fortnite Party Royale, where a Godzilla sized avatar of the rapper performed surrounded by trippy animations.
However, Wave is taking the first steps to reimagine the metaverse beyond just its gaming elements. Wave has the capacity to transform artists into digital avatars in 3D online social spaces so they can perform for fans. It even goes so far as to offer live chats, virtual gifting and the chance to be a part of a real-time audience that appears around the virtual artist.
There will even be digital merch that fans can buy.
“Through Wave, WMG will be able to forge more powerful artist activations, incorporating new and fan favourite features into their shows to fuel audience engagement.” Oana Ruxandra, Business Development and Chief Digital Officer at Warner Music Group.
The world of virtual concerts saw a flood of new interest from the music industry during quarantine. However, even though our music world is slowly coming back to life, the metaverse still remains an excellent alternative for artists to engage with fans and promote their records.
Wave has hosted more than 50 concerts and events for several artists. Those include The Weeknd, John Legend, Dillon Francis, Alison Wonderland, Tinashe and others. In fact, check out John Legends Wave performance, which premiered in June 2020, below.
WMG is yet to reveal who will be performing Wave shows, but the teams say it will be a mixture of developing and high profile acts. Some artists signed by WMG include Lizzo, Panic! At the Disco, Bruno Mars and Dua Lipa.
“The commercial opportunity in the metaverse has exploded in the last several years, with the past few months seeing a tipping point for mainstream adoption of immersive social experiences and virtual communities” Oana Ruzandra, Warner Music Group.
Recently WMG also announced a partnership with technology company Genies to turn its artists into digital avatars or create digital merchandise that is sellable as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Think of it like gamers buying digital clothing for their avatars in Fortnite — but here, artists will make money from every shirt and accessory sold.
As technology continues to shift, methods of music consumption and monetisation will need to embrace experimentation. By investing in the metaverse WMG is opening up their artists to a new world of interactive experiences.
Find out about upcoming Wave concerts by heading to their website.