History of the Music Metaverse

The Oxford English Dictionary defines “metaverse” as a virtual-reality space where users interact with a computer-generated environment. Over the last two years, “metaverse” has become a major buzzword. In 2021 the word was co-opted by Facebook, now called Meta. The name change intended to make society think Facebook-owned or was equal to the metaverse. Thankfully, many metaverses exist, and various companies and decentralized autonomous organizations run them. For example, the virtual DJ platform Turntable created the first music metaverse in 2010. Its latest product, Turntable LIVE, is paving the way for the music industry to flourish in the metaverse today.

Metaverse might be a new word next to NFT and cryptocurrency in your vocabulary. However, the term was coined 30 years ago. Therefore, to fully understand the inclusion of virtual worlds in music and our society today, we must understand the metaverse's origins.

Who created the metaverse?

The metaverse concept floated around for ten years before it became a reality. After Tim Berners-Lee created the internet in 1989, prolific science fiction author Neal Stephenson coined metaverse in his 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash. Stephenson described a virtual world where you could live out your life in avatar form. If you’ve DJ’d on Turntable, this might feel like an average day. However, in the 1990s, the concept was out of this world.

In 2003, an expansive online virtual world with avatars, fashion, shopping, and socializing, known as Second Life, was unveiled. Finally, Stephenson’s science fiction concept was a reality. Second Life created the first virtual world you could live in on the internet. In addition, it created a roadmap for social-focused metaverses, such as Club Penguin, IMVU, Roblox, and Turntable LIVE.

What does cryptocurrency have to do with the metaverse?

In 2009, Bitcoin, the world’s first cryptocurrency and blockchain platform, was created. The creation of the metaverse grew a need for cryptocurrency and digital wallets. Where else would you store your digital goods from the metaverse? Some metaverses, such as Roblox, use digital currencies. However, Decentraland and Sandbox's metaverses have their native crypto tokens, MANA and SAND.

In the metaverse, users are empowered to own their assets and make companies profitable by minting and selling NFTs. NFTs can be anything from your avatar skin to the stage your avatar is DJing on. Through NFTs and cryptocurrency, everyone can own a piece of the metaverse.

Are there different types of metaverses?

Depending on who you ask or what you read, you may get different opinions on what constitutes a metaverse. The most straightforward way to think of a metaverse is a virtual or digital space where you can socialize with other users. However, you can access metaverses in different mediums. For example, a metaverse can be a 2D app or website with virtual rooms like Turntable Live, or a metaverse can be accessed in 3D through Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR). In short, the metaverse is the natural evolution of the internet and the future of virtual social networking.

What does the metaverse have to do with music?

What does the metaverse have to do with music? In 2017, the viral videogame Fortnite held its first concert in the metaverse. By 2020, they hosted virtual shows with major artists like Travis Scott and Ariana Grande. Scott’s show garnered over 12 million concurrent users, sending shock waves through the music industry. Fortnite’s success was a catalyst for music executives to consider opportunities in the metaverse for their artists and labels. Concurrent with COVID19, which prevented artists from making money through touring, there has never been a better time to go virtual.

What is the future of music in the metaverse?

We’re still in the early days of the music metaverse, but there are already several metaverses worth trying out if you’re an artist or a music fan. Major artists with big budgets and Hot 100 hits are likely to tap into Fortnite or WaveXR to produce high-end ticketed virtual concert experiences for fans. However, for most of the music community, Turntable Live is the best option.

Turntable Live stands out because you can use the site and app for free. It doesn’t require any equipment to produce a live music experience. Artists can request a custom avatar or pick from the tt.live avatar collection. Within moments of creating your account, you can make your own Hangout or hop into a genre-specific Hangout on the front page and start DJing. All you have to do to get your friends listening to music with you is send a link! Turntable Live has made the music metaverse accessible to everyone and exceedingly easy to use. There’s never been a platform focused solely on music that makes it this easy to engage with your community and grow your following. Turntable CEO Joseph Perla says “we are working to extend our metaverse and move into the 3D space as well.”

Stay tuned to see how the music metaverse expands over the next few months!