Music giants are going all in on the metaverse

Spotify isn't the only player in the music industry looking to enter the metaverse. Warner Music Group has purchased a digital parcel on The Sandbox platform to build a property that doubles as a music theme park and concert venue. — AFP Relaxnews

For several months now, initiatives for the metaverse, the virtual world populated by 3D avatars, have been coming thick and fast. And Spotify is paying attention. The leading music streaming company recently announced its arrival on the Roblox video game platform to reach a younger audience. Here's how it works.

For Spotify, the metaverse is the future of music. The music streaming giant has just launched its own virtual world on Roblox, one of the most popular digital spaces along with Decentraland and The Sandbox. It takes the form of several islands where players can interact with avatars of their favourite artists or access new content. They can also complete quests to unlock virtual merchandise that can be used anywhere in the video game platform.

While the various activities are still limited at this stage, Spotify will soon offer gamers the chance to explore a theme park dedicated exclusively to the world of K-Pop. They will be able to meet avatars of South Korean boy band Stray Kids and singer Sunmi.

"Spotify immerses users in a world of audio no matter how or where they're listening. Now, with Spotify Island on Roblox, we're bringing new, unique experiences to fans and artists alike," Daniel Ek's company said in a statement.

Everyone into the metaverse!

With Spotify Island, the Swedish group is offering up a little taste of what's to come for music fans in the not-so-distant future. It follows in the footsteps of US-based Epic Games, which in April 2020 managed to draw 12.3 million Fortnite players to a never-before-seen (and entirely virtual) concert by Travis Scott. In total, 27.7 million viewers headed to the online video game to experience the monumental show of the American rapper, entitled "Astronomical," after four more broadcasts of the event.

Spotify isn't the only player in the music industry looking to enter the metaverse. Warner Music Group has purchased a digital parcel on The Sandbox platform to build a property that doubles as a music theme park and concert venue.

"On the Land, we'll develop persistent, immersive social music experiences that defy real-world limitations and allow our artists and their fans to engage like never before," said Oana Ruxandra, Chief Digital Officer & EVP, Business Development at Warner Music Group.

Meanwhile, Universal Music aims to make its entry into virtual worlds through a music group composed of three virtual primates from the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection and another primate from the Mutant Ape Yacht Club collection. Each one is assigned a personality and a story of its own. The group will perform virtual concerts, as well as participate in video games on online platforms.

Bring gamers to the fore

Although the metaverse is still in its infancy, this digital replica of the physical world has the potential to become a genuine El Dorado for the music industry. The major players all hope to capitalise on the new sources of revenue that the development of this virtual universe promises. For Universal Music, the idea is to make money by selling NFTs related to Kingship activities such as unreleased tracks, tickets to exclusive events or virtual merchandise. Spotify hopes to do the same with its islands on Roblox.

But efforts are still required to engage the music lovers of tomorrow. Investing in the metaverse is above all a way for the music giants to attract new audiences - chief among them, video game players. And for good reason: the most passionate gamers are also the most dedicated music fans, according to a report Twitch conducted with MIDiA Research. While subscribers to a music streaming service spend an average of 6.9 hours engaged in their favourite activity, that number jumps to 7.6 hours for video game enthusiasts. They also don't spare any expense when it comes to indulging their passion. One in five gamers buy merchandise to support their favourite artists, while only 8% of average consumers do so.

While the advent of the metaverse marks a crucial step in bringing together music and video gaming, younger generations remain sceptical about this new technology. Only 9% of American teenagers plan to buy a virtual reality headset to explore these virtual worlds, according to a study by investment bank Piper Sandler.

The French seem to be more curious about the infinite possibilities offered by the metaverse: 22% of 18-25 year-olds in France frequent these accessible alternative worlds, according to the Heaven agency. It is possible that the arrival of Spotify and others in the metaverse will encourage them to take the plunge. – AFP Relaxnews

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