Why the metaverse is music’s next frontier and what you need to know
The dawning of the virtual age presents a myriad of new opportunities for musicians, brands and fans. Here’s how the metaverse is currently being leveraged within the modern music industry – and a glimpse into what the future may have in store.
The metaverse is already beginning to transform the music industry / Adobe Stock
As we enter the era of the metaverse, many questions (and eyebrows) are being raised, and many industries are realizing the significant impact that this emerging virtual space could have. The music industry is no exception. Artists, music labels, managers and event companies are all looking to find new ways to engage with fans and adapt to the new circumstances and technologies.
The metaverse opportunity comes at a time when the music industry is making its way back to post-pandemic life, with artists looking for new ways to reach and engage with audiences, and monetize their music and performances in innovative and more direct ways.
The metaverse has presented a big shift in how we leverage technology and interact with it. Combining aspects of the digital and physical worlds, augmented reality (AR) creates a digital economy where users can produce, share and monetize experiences and IP. What still looks nebulous and confusing to some presents a historic opportunity to many others – just like the original launch of the internet back in the 90s. The question of whether or not the new metaverse market will hit the predicted size of $800bn by 2024 is debatable. But the fact that major consumer-driven industries – such as gaming, retail, music and entertainment – are poised for tremendous growth and transformation is undeniable.
Tapping into the metaverse
Huge opportunities lie ahead. One of the first virtual concerts on Roblox featured Lil Nas X performing to an audience of 33 million over four shows in two days. The Rift Tour in Fortnite, headlined by Ariana Grande, was enjoyed by an audience of 27.7 million. We’re seeing the rising potential of virtual shows and other activities (such as fan meet-and-greets) on platforms including Roblox and Fortnite.
The control over content and IP is equally pronounced in the new decentralized audio hosting and streaming services, such as Audius, which claims to have 100,000 artists and 5 million users. NFT and metaverse platforms offer a dizzying array of different licensing models that allow an artist to increase the share up from the 13% to 16% they might receive through streaming services. The opportunity to sell an album of 1000 NFTs to true fans, to fundraise your entire record and to benefit from royalties is more attractive to smaller or mid-market artists who have a strong and committed fanbase.
NFTs give artists the opportunity to obtain a greater degree of power over their careers. They enable artists to assume more control over their image and their music, and to connect with their audiences. Of course, nobody knows how far the NFT hype will go, but for artists it represents an opportunity to create shareable and monetizable IP, build communities and deepen their connections with both established and new audiences. Snoop Dogg’s private party NFT is just one of the many concepts we are seeing that draws massive footfall to the metaverse.
Extending across all of the aforementioned emerging possibilities for artists is the opportunity to forge new collaborative experiences with brands. Performances, private parties, festivals, NFTs, streams, games and many other opportunities that are currently unimaginable will enable brands to act as enablers, enhancers and co-creators for artists. We saw precursors to this during the pandemic, with artists connecting with audiences on Instagram Live or Zoom and partnering with brands they support. The metaverse takes these concepts to a completely new level by providing seamless experiences for artists to truly integrate brands in a wide variety of ways.
The future of music
The ownership economy is likely to continue to drive artists to directly engage with their audiences, and artists and brands alike will need to engage in the metaverse with a clear definition of one another’s value. Brands will be gearing up to relinquish some control if they are to expect access to the audiences garnered by creators through new strategic opportunities.
Ultimately, the metaverse has already started to disrupt the music industry and drive the industry forward in ways we’ve never imagined possible through partnerships, highly-customized virtual experiences, community-building and more. Artists, labels and brands who interact with the metaverse now and use the wealth of the metaverse to engage with their audiences in purposeful, authentic ways will set themselves apart from their peers in the industry.
Stephan Beringer is chief executive of Mirriad.