The Entrepreneur Weekly has previously taken the time to explore the idea of the metaverse which provides opportunities for the Cultural and Creative industries. The metaverse is described as “a rising set of new technology driven digital experiences that are taking place through devices driven by new cloud computing models, the internet and network connectivity. It is understood to be some form of virtual reality with a wide array of digital components.” The metaverse along with other new technologies can provide new opportunities for the creative sector and we will be diving into what those new opportunities look like in the following weeks. First up, the music industry.
Music and Technology
According to the Jamaica Observer, “The overall value of the industry was reported in 2021 to be US$12.2 billion. Of this total, ‘digital’ income accounted for approximately US$10.1 billion. This trend is being mirrored in most major markets across the globe. Figures quoted exclude earnings from live music concerts and events. “These figures show great potential for entrepreneurs within the music industry to leverage their skills and giftings.
Technology has always been a tool for advancement for every industry that can be thought of. By definition, technology provides for humans the ability to make their tasks easier and more efficient. We have seen the evolution of ways to access music moving from radio to cassette players and walk-mans to having access to thousands of songs on your mobile device.
Online streaming of music has played a major role in the evolution of accessibility to music and came on board in the early 2000s and has evolved in the following years. Online streaming has also evolved with various platforms emerging, providing a variety of services like Spotify. Within the Jamaican context, local musicians have begun to leverage streaming platforms more readily and the pandemic noted an increase in this. The Jamaica Observer shared, “Those local artistes have become more creative in finding audience and earnings for their creations. Global sources indicate that artistes who have locked onto streaming services have found a good thing, as revenues from this source quadrupled in 2021.”
Music and the Metaverse
There is now on the horizon a dawning of the virtual age that presents a myriad of new opportunities for musicians, brands and fans. The metaverse is currently leveraged within the modern music industry through virtual and augmented reality events and NFTs, along with other new technologies. These new technologies can provide local music practitioners with a wider range of audiences and opportunities to increase their business.
Virtual Reality Concerts
With the advent of the pandemic, many things went online and this included concerts and live events. Jamaican businesses jumped on this trend and were able to host many of their events online. The metaverse helps this type of event hosting to take on new levels of experiences such as “virtual reality concerts.” According to Forbes, “Virtual reality concerts, although less common than online pay-per-view concerts, are potentially much more lucrative. A virtual reality concert is one in which real world users (i.e., “players”) participate (in avatar form) in a live streamed concert performed by a real-world artist or band (also in avatar, animated or even anime form) within a video game or other virtual environment at a specific time.” Local creative entrepreneurs can look at widening the scope of patron experience by looking into metaverse concert events.
According to The Drum, “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.” Local entrepreneurs will have to test the market in Jamaica to see the level of engagement they will have but these are options worth exploring and researching.
Music Production in the Metaverse
In a previous article, the Entrepreneur Weekly looked at a new technology called Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs) which are essentially unique tokens that exist on a blockchain and cannot be replicated. NFTs can represent real-world items like artwork and real estate.” According to The Drum, “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.”
Continuing, The Drum stated, “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.”
We are living in a time where opportunities are quite vast. Music will always have its place in any society and local entrepreneurs within this industry should explore the right opportunities for themselves and for the local market as well as the international market.