PARIS: For Steve Aoki, the future of music has a name: the metaverse.
The American DJ and producer recently announced the launch of the A0K1VERSE, a new platform giving access to a virtual world where its members can buy NFTs, collectibles (physical and virtual) and attend concerts.
It’s a place where “Web3 meets Web 2.0 IRL,” as Steve Aoki rather enigmatically sums it up.
One particularity about the A0K1VERSE is that it will only be available to holders of A0K1 Credits.
Those who already own Steve Aoki’s NFTs will be able to get them for free from Feb 7 to 11.
The public at large will have to wait until February 15 to get their hands on these digital objects.
Once armed with A0K1 Credits, collectors will be given a virtual passport proving their membership to this metaverse.
The arrival of new applications on Ethereum has led to development teams designing new kinds of token standards. In its early years, the ERC-20 token standard, which defines how a traditional token such as DAI or UNI functions, dominated the market. This approach to crypto treats all assets as completely interchangeable (known as fungibility), functioning conceptually like a currency such as USD.
However, in the past 18 months NFTs have captured the market’s attention, which rely on a newer standard termed ERC-721. This standard allows for the creation of one-off, custom tokens: for instance, a collectible trading card, or personal avatar that is totally unique and can’t be replicated.
Lately, attention in the crypto market has been moving towards another standard, which has a newly revised set of properties — the ERC-1155 token standard. This debate of ERC-721 vs. ERC-1155 can perplex teams, and it’s worth knowing when to employ each. Though ERC-1155 is a newer standard and has some technical benefits that may give it an edge in the future, it’s not a strict upgrade and differs in certain ways.
“Your A0K1VERSE Passport will be a dynamic NFT that evolves over time as you continue to use it for different experiences, building your own unique identity in the A0K1VERSE,” reads a statement on the platform website.
This strategy is reminiscent of that deployed by the creators of the Bored Ape Yacht Club, the collection of 10,000 NFTs of jaded-looking monkeys snapped up by sportspeople and celebrities.
Launched in April 2021 at a price of 0.05 Ether (US$185), these avatars are now worth their weight in gold.
One of them was even sold for US$3.4 million in October 2021, at an auction held by Sotheby’s.
The reason for this success? These NFTs allow collectors to join the elitist Bored Ape Yacht Club and participate in private events alongside other select guests.
Welcome to the age of the ‘musicverse’
If Steve Aoki is choosing exclusivity for his metaverse launch, Warner Music Group has preferred to partner with The Sandbox.
This Hong Kong-based gaming platform allows its users to create their own virtual world using NFTs.
Big names in tech like the Winklevoss brothers and rapper Snoop Dogg have already bought digital properties there.
Warner Music Group has announced that it is building a property on the platform called LAND, which will serve as a music theme park and concert venue.
Music lovers on The Sandbox will be able to attend gigs and other virtual events featuring Warner Music affiliated artists.
“As a first-mover, Warner Music has secured the equivalent of beachfront property in the metaverse.
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 and EVP of business development at Warner Music Group.
Others in the music industry are also carving out a place in the metaverse.
DJs deadmau5 and Richie Hawtin are working on launching their own virtual world, PIXELYNX.
The start-up, which aims to create the first “musicverse,” raised $4.5 million in December with investments from companies like Animoca Brands and Solana Ventures.
This is an important step in enabling PIXELYNX to “connect the dots between music, blockchain and gaming ecosystems by creating a new way for artists and fans to connect and discover music,” according to Inder Phull, CEO and co-founder of the platform.
One question remains, however: will music lovers flock to the metaverse? It may be too early to tell.
In December, Meta organised several concerts with Young Thug and David Guetta as headliners in its virtual reality platform… an initiative that was met with general indifference.
But was it a marketing misstep or a more general dislike of livestreamed music performances? It seems that the first option is more plausible.
As the flagship format of covid lockdowns, livestreaming has managed to win over music lovers. In fact, 60% of them said that they plan to continue watching concerts broadcast on the internet, even after real-world venues reopen.
And that’s music to the ears of the metaverse’s advocates.