Are virtual concerts here to stay?

Metaverse concerts are outliving the pandemic.

Credit: anon-tae / Getty Images

Last week, MTV announced a new category for this year’s Video Music Awards: best metaverse performance.

If that doesn’t say mainstream, then consider the six nominees: superstars Ariana Grande, Blackpink, BTS, Charli XCX, Twenty One Pilots, and Justin Bieber.

What are these concerts like?

Whether they take place in VR worlds or on gaming platforms, they all involve digital musicians performing for a digital audience. But each one is unique:

  • In Grande’s The Rift Tour in “Fortnite,” players surf on cotton candy-colored waves and fight a giant monster.
  • Twenty One Pilots and Charli XCX recorded their “Roblox” sets in motion-capture suits. Here’s Twenty One Pilots in the suits; here’s the end result.
  • Bieber, who partnered with concert platform Wave, performed live in a motion-capture suit and responded to fans’ real-time messages.

There’s reason to believe the trend won’t slow down.

For fans, it offers access from anywhere in the world. It’s cheaper than an IRL concert, strangers won’t slosh beer on them, and there isn’t a bad seat in the house.

For musicians, it can be especially lucrative.

  • “Fortnite” held its first concert in 2019 with EDM musician Marshmello. It netted him 147k new Twitter followers, and grew his daily YouTube views by 500%.
  • In 2020, 12.3m+ people attended Travis Scott’s nine-minute “Fortnite” concert. It grossed ~$20m in merch, compared to $53.5m for his entire IRL Astroworld tour, per Forbes.

For platforms, music’s biggest stars draw people who might otherwise never make an account.

BTW: Perhaps you’d like to enter Megan Thee Stallion’s “Hottieverse”?

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