RIYADH: Artists and industry professionals have an essential role to play in manifesting and entering the new dimension of the metaverse and Web3, a version of the internet based on blockchain.
From full-fledged concerts and music scenes to audio-visual art, the metaverse is slowly becoming the newest music market to tap into.
At the XP Music Futures conference, industry leaders and experts explored the various ways musicians, managers and record labels can use the platform to transform the music industry. With Saudi Arabia’s commitment to developing immersive and artificial intelligence technologies under Vision 2030, it is slowly becoming one of the fastest-growing markets globally.
“We have all the new and human resources needed to create the city of the future,” Noor Said, A&R and product manager at MDLBEAST, said.
“I believe what’s driving this big investment in the metaverse and AI is…the current situation of the country…We are already very connected to online content.”
The AI-driven metaverse provides infinite opportunities for creators to elevate music and create unprecedented immersive experiences through emerging technologies, such as non-fungible token concerts, music videos, brands, marketplaces and fan royalties.
Sensorium’s Art Director and Deputy CEO Sasha Tityanko said: “The road to (virtual reality) adoption, as you might know, has been notoriously bumpy. Headsets have been clunky, heavy and uncomfortable to use, and entering a virtual reality game, for example, was the sort of thing we could not do.
Fortunately, the hardware and software are evolving every day, and the concept is becoming more sophisticated and engaging…in particular, innovations in smartphone hardware coupled with state-of-the-art VR-compatible headsets. I expect (it) to be a significant market driver in the next decade.”
There are also massive advancements with 5G networks, with benefits in VR to reduced latency, delivering a smoother, richer and more engrossing user experience.
Artists are given endless possibilities to manage their digital presence and performances; creators can generate a photorealistic avatar that mimics real-life goals and can adapt to different stages of their creative journey.
Companies like Sensorium work to help artists and creators realize the most ambitious artist distributions with the help of this emerging technology.
Since gravity and real-life limitations are nonexistent in the metaverse, designers can experiment with thousands of 3D architectural assets and elements, including virtual infrastructures, colors and lighting effects, to create limitless stages and concert venues.
For fans within cyber-physical distance, fans can have exclusive opportunities to engage in meet-and-greets, create stronger connections with the fandom communities, and experience a performance through the artists’ perspectives.
While the concept sounds intriguing, the reality can play out very differently. One of the key challenges is that many of the biggest players in Web3 are intermediaries. Power is far from equitable, making ownership over blockchain networks unequally distributed and concentrated in the hands of early adopters and venture capitalists.
While legitimate actionable laws, rules and regulations have not been set around NFT and Web3 usage globally, there are few ways outside of the platform by which musicians can secure their rights.
However, creators and brands can use existing commercial rights and copyrights. For example, Gucci recently designed a virtual Roblox purse, which sold for over 25 percent of the retail price. The same can apply to music artists in terms of album covers, streams and track releases.
In a more innovative approach, Dutch DJ Don Diablo made history by selling the first feature-length concert NFT film for $1.2 million last year.
“The metaverse is innovative…Intellectual property in the metaverse world is very deep and has a very clear presence. We just need to unlock it,” Dr. Al-Hanoof Al-Debasi, executive director for copyright at the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property, told Arab News.
“There are no laws in the metaverse…It’s a new technology, and the whole world is still unsure how to deal with it because they need to understand it first, as well as where the boundaries for one country end and where another begins.”
Her advice for aspiring artists looking to venture into the metaverse is to create their innovations in the physical world and file for registration, patents and copyrights, making sure to have physical documentation.
After establishing concrete rights, they can then take their innovations to an emerging world.