DUBAI: The World’s Online Festival is a platform that aims to put a party in your living room. Its interactive app allows users to enter its virtual music festivals whenever they choose to take in singers, poets, comedians, musicians and DJs. Users can become more involved by producing an event, or simply hang out as a fan.
In an exclusive interview with Arab News, WOLF CEO Gary Knight said that the platform offers women the opportunity to create and explore things that were previously unattainable for them. Its events also offer after-show gatherings where users can send texts, images, and audio messages.
Knight added that WOLF originally started life as Palringo, a messaging platform in the Gulf Cooperation Council region that was founded more than ten years ago.
The WOLF boss said: “The service developed from let’s bring people together, to let’s bring people together through performance and entertainment. We wanted to provide a unique experience between the users performing and the crowd, to make sure everyone is part of this thing.”
The business also runs a WOLFStars program where producers and performers put together their own gigs and can compete against each other to win competitions and cash rewards.
He added users can become a producer or festival owner, which allows them to create their own room, put on their own artists and promote them to fans.
Knight said this program has 70 percent female performers and 58 percent female audience members.
He added the app is proud to “provide a safe and secure environment where women can go to perform and be a full part of the whole ecosystem.”
The service developed from let’s bring people together, to let’s bring people together through performance and entertainment. We wanted to provide a unique experience between the users performing and the crowd, to make sure everyone is part of this thing.
Gary Knight, WOLF CEO
Knight said the program allows performers to learn directly from their performances, because they can log into a virtual event every day, rather than attending a live music festival once or twice a year.
Knight pointed out that because it is not easy to go to music festivals in the Middle East, people are more likely to attend online festivals because they are more accessible.
WOLF’s chat rooms feature two-dimensional stages, which bring chat and interaction alongside entertainment.
The app head said ultimately the goal of the firm is to create a metaverse with a more three-dimensional environment.
Knight said the business is also working on giving users the option of recording, editing, and sharing clips of performances. He said that toward the end of this year, the company will launch WOLF VR, which will allow users to look around chat rooms using virtual reality headsets.
He added: “By the end of the year, you’ll be able to put your headset on and be on stage and perform.”
Knight pointed out that after launching Palringo on the app store in 2008, he and his team saw a significant growth of the service in the Middle East and North Africa. That gave them the idea to do more in the region.
He launched WOLF two years ago and since then he says the app has reached 2.7 million users.
Knight added that maintaining the firm’s existing community after rebranding was a challenge.
“There was always a threat when you change something quite dramatically and rebrand and relaunch that it might not be something that fits your unique audience,” he added.
WOLF’s business model revolves around rewards, gifts, and reputation credits. The platform also has a store where users can buy games and charms to take into rooms. It also sells premium group accounts, with extra features such as free charms and ways to boost your group’s reputation.
“If you do well, or you do things well in the app, then you can get rewarded and gifted by other users,” he added.
The app boss said the firm has doubled its revenue over the last two years and will continue to do so this year.
Knight added that further investment is likely to come from backers in the region, and the company is currently in discussions about raising further finance.