As the two-year commemoration of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic starts to tear toward us, we are no nearer to knowing when our public activities will get back to business as usual for sure will the new typical be. The impact this has had on organizations like dance club, music settings and artists have been incomprehensible. With jammed face to face occasions either made unthinkable – or undeniably more troublesome and relentless – at many focuses throughout the most recent two years, changes to the business that were at that point put into high gear have been sped up. In particular, the music business’ reception of computerized instruments, among others and, progressively, the Metaverse.
First begat by sci-fi creator Neal Stephenson in his 1992 cyberpunk novel Snow Crash, the Metaverse is portrayed as a virtual existence where people could communicate with one another as symbols on a replacement type of the web to escape a tragic (see illness ridden) world outside. Sound natural?
Thirty years on from his prophetic vision and in the mid of a worldwide pandemic with limitations that proceed without an end in sight, this is the ideal opportunity to rejuvenate the music metaverse. With unrecorded music incomes not normal to recuperate until 2023, one approach to supercharging its recuperation – and giving another tech-empowered option in contrast to customary live occasions – is take a greater amount of our occasions into the virtual world.
In a way, the Metaverse is already here. (Although even with COVID-19, our world isn’t nearly as dark as the world Stephenson laid out.) Artists like Justin Bieber, DeadMau5 and The Weeknd have all played virtual concerts in recent months. And, although some of these events stretched the definition of metaverse somewhat — less of a VR-fuelled immersive experience and more of a 2020s 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 promoter or small-time musician will tell you, tours are both a necessity for any musician who wants to make their art their career but also a time-consuming and expensive operation. A Metaverse “tour” (or series of shows where artists cater to various time zones) in which overheads are minimal will remove barriers to live performance not only for fans but for artists, too.
If you’re a small enough act that only a few large population centers will house enough fans to make a live show worthwhile, the concept of a virtual gig — where fans from across the globe can congregate regardless of locality — is an exciting possibility. This is where niche fan bases and eccentric communities of music lovers will really win.
Curating events in the metaverse
Clearly, there are many ways in which a decentralized metaverse can enhance the music industry. But, another blockchain-based technology is also worthy of attention: decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs). DAOs are community-powered groups that function almost like a board of directors. Only on this board, everyone gets a seat at the table.
DAOs are the antithesis of centralized organizations like record labels or promotion companies since all decision-making is made by the collective. Anyone can join a DAO simply by acquiring the tokens needed to have a say.
Just like other rising stars of the blockchain world such as nonfungible tokens (NFTs), DAOs have already started to make their mark in the music world. In October, the deep-pocketed PleasrDAO pooled its resources to buy the one and only copy of an album by hip-hop pioneer Wu-Tang Clan. Once Upon a Time in Shaolin was deemed so valuable that the 74 DAO members collectively raised $4 million to nab it before minting the ownership deed as an NFT. But, their application goes much further.