Musical artists Hi-Rez the Rapper and Wiz Khalifa released their single Bye Haters in the metaverse last week. But rather than chasing a mass audience, they delivered something potentially far more powerful and transformative. — global privacy.
The ability of the music industry to organize massive events online is already understood (in fact, it was launched almost two decades ago in Second Life).
In 2020, Lil Nas X, for example, reached an audience of 33 million people in four days during one of the first virtual concerts. The Rift Tour on Fortnite in 2021 headlining Ariana Grande drew more than 27 million viewers, according to marketing publication The Drum.
Both of these events used stable and mature gaming platforms. Decentraland, on the other hand, is an open-source, user-owned metaverse.
Small things, big things grow.
Last week, in a 16 by 16 meter virtual room built on land in Decentraland, the avatars of more than 300 fans of musicians Hi-Rez the Rapper and Wiz Khalifa danced the night (and day) in an outing of metaverse song where the two artists launched their musical collaboration Bye Haters.
Between them, the two artists have already reached scale online with nearly 28 million fans on their respective YouTube channels. But last week’s event was notable for its intimacy and for that the fact that it took place in a metaverse, rather than a more stable and risk-free mature game environment like on the Roblox platform, or in Fortnite.
And although small, the launch of Bye Haters was not without significance — or risk. When Digital Nation first spoke with Hi-Rez in the days leading up to the event, he admitted he had no idea how good the experience was.
His first impression was delivered to Digital Nation immediately afterwards via a Twitter DM: “That was so epic, man.”
Later he elaborated.
“Decentraland’s server needs a lot of improvements, but beyond that, everything under my control ran as smoothly as it could have. Every fan had such a new and fun experience that they had never had in the past and are looking forward to many more to come,” he said.
Hi-Rez’s move into the metaverse reflects engagement with the Web3 ecosystem, but is also an ongoing lifelong commitment to taking risks on new technologies. He was a pioneer on YouTube, for example.
“I was there for the first year or two of it being created before there were even ads on YouTube before there were even more than a few thousand channels.”
More recently, he has exploited the flexibility of NFTs, creating an opportunity for early adopters of his Hog Homies projects to share in the financial benefits of his innovations through passive income (and indeed from very capital gain). net). Lately, it also launched a second generation of NFTs that carry all the hallmarks of a contemporary corporate loyalty program offering its fans exclusive access and experiences.
Artists like Hi-Rez see a new world of business opportunity for music in the metaverse, as well as a very different and potentially much more appealing chance for fans to mix and mingle with their favorite artists from around the world. a simply impossible way in the world. real things.
“You can hang out with your fans in a fun, safe, and intimate way that you couldn’t even do in real life if you had the chance,” Hi-Rez told Digital Nation.
He, like many artists, also recognizes that Web3 offers to deliver the promise of a creator economy where artists themselves can define the benefits of their success. It’s a very different world to the one introduced first by Napster and then by platforms like Spotify that have atomized the incomes of those who actually create content.
For this reason, the expansion of music into the metaverse could prove transformational, as noted by Victoria Copans, writing for XLive last year.
Copans identified three potential lines of disturbance;
- As with the Hi-Rez and Wiz Khalifa event last week, artists are able to connect directly with fans.
- The gaming and music worlds are merging, potentially creating new business models.
- And fans have the opportunity to contribute to the creative process.
Despite all the potential, these are early days, and analysts have pointed to the lack of established and robust infrastructure as a barrier to faster metaverse expansion.
This is something Hi-Rez recognizes. “Right now, with current technology, it’s so tasteless and we’re so early that there aren’t a lot of people around these games. It’s very glitchy and there are a lot of bugs.
“Things are decentralized, so it’s not like a traditional centralized game that has an office with a group of people working there all the time. It’s not like how we think of Ubisoft or the one of those other mainstream game companies that could just update things with the drop of a hat.
“I think it’s going to take some time.”
But as its metaverse moment approached, Hi-Rez was focused on opportunity.
“I have hundreds of people this Thursday meeting me in a virtual world that looks like a Minecraft game, all to listen to a song on repeat while I give presents and we dance.”
“It sounds crazy to me,” he told Digital Nation, “But in a great way.”