As the second anniversary of the global COVID-19 pandemic approaches, we are no closer to knowing when our social lives will return to normal or what the new normal will be. The effect this has had on businesses such as nightclubs, music venues and musicians has been immeasurable. As crowded in-person events have become impossible, or much more difficult and labor-intensive, at many points over the past two years, changes in the industry that were already underway have accelerated. Namely, the adoption of digital instruments by the music industry, among others, and, increasingly, the Metaverse.
First coined by science fiction author Neal Stephenson in his 1992 cyberpunk novel snow crash, the Metaverse is described as a virtual world where people can interact with each other in the form of avatars in a successor form of the Internet in order to escape a dystopian (see disease-ridden) outside world. Sounds familiar?
Thirty years after his prophetic vision and in the midst of a global pandemic with restrictions that meet with no end in sight, now is the time to bring the musical metaverse to life. With the income from live music expected In order to recover through 2023, one way to fuel its recovery, and provide a new technological alternative to traditional live events, would be to bring more of our events into the virtual world.
The debates about what this Metaverse should look like. On the one hand, there are libertarians, crypto enthusiasts, and privacy-minded people advocating a decentralized future of the Metaverse with no individual or entity in control. On the other hand, there is Mark Zuckerberg (and also) who bets that the Metaverse is a successor to Facebook and a centralized version of which would be a natural option. If we are all going to spend much more time there, the best option is clear: one in which we all have a say.
Related: A letter to Zuckerberg: The Metaverse is not what you think it is
In a way, the Metaverse is already here. (Although even with COVID-19, our world is not as dark as the world Stephenson exposed.) Artists like Justin Bieber, DeadMau5 and The Weeknd have played virtual concerts in recent months. And, while some of these events expanded the definition of the metaverse somewhat, less an immersive VR-powered experience and more a 2020 version of Habbo Hotel, it’s clear the key ingredients are there for a fundamental shift in how we think. about live music. .
This prospect is particularly exciting for smaller acts. As any small-time promoter or musician will tell you, touring is a must for any musician who wants to make their art a career, but it’s also an expensive and time-consuming operation. A Metaverse “tour” (or series of shows where artists cater to multiple time zones) where overhead is minimal will remove barriers to live performance not only for fans but for artists as well.
If you’re an act small enough that only a few large population centers house enough fans to make a live show worthwhile, the concept of a virtual concert, where fans from all over the world can congregate regardless of location , is an exciting possibility. This is where niche fan bases and eccentric communities of music lovers will really win.
Curation of events in the metaverse
Clearly, there are many ways a decentralized metaverse can improve the music industry. But another blockchain-based technology also deserves attention: decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs). DAOs are community-driven groups that function almost like a board of directors. Only on this board, everyone has a seat at the table.
DAOs are the antithesis of centralized organizations like record labels or promotion companies, as all decisions are made by the collective. Anyone can join a DAO simply by earning the tokens needed to acquire opinion.
Like other rising stars of the blockchain world, such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), DAOs have already started to make their mark in the world of music. In October, PleasrDAO, a group with deep pockets, pooled their resources to buy the only copy of an album from hip-hop pioneer Wu-Tang Clan. Once upon a time in Shaolin it was thought so valuable that the 74 members of the DAO collectively raised $4 million to catch it before minting the title deed as NFTs. But, its application goes much further.
Related: Online Content Streaming Is Dead – Long Live NFT Music
In the context of the live music business, DAOs are almost as exciting as the concept of the Metaverse itself, and even more enticing when you put them together. A music-focused DAO could, for example, buy wholesale concert tickets, finance and organize events such as concerts and festivals, including those in the digital realm, as well as buy investable commodities such as first-release LPs, artwork, and music. instruments, while even functioning as fan-owned record labels and promotion teams.
Those eccentric communities you mentioned earlier, the ones that congregate around niche music genres and the artists who innovate them, will benefit the most from this new kind of fan community.
Related: Concerts in the Metaverse Could Lead to a New Wave of Adoption
And isn’t that what we may be fostering and creating? A world where the strange, the strange, the beautiful and the live shows that they have not seen before can arise? That’s a lot of what the internet did to music when it first became a staple of our entertainment culture at the turn of the millennium. Web 2.0 accelerated that diversification and democratization. What Web3 and Metaverse can do is finish the job and create a live music culture where the possibilities have never been more exciting and open. Most importantly, it could be a future where no one is in control. We all can be.
This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should do their own research when making a decision.
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.
aleks kay is the co-founder of Unpaired, the company behind Party Degenerates, a leading NFT generative art PFP project by revenue that aims to create a cultural multiverse that connects humanity while bridging the gap between the digital and physical worlds.