Warner Music Group‘s investment into non-traditional areas of the music business – especially the so-called online ‘metaverse’ – isn’t slowing down.
On Friday (April 30), WMG announced its investment into tech company Genies to develop avatars and create NFTs for Warner artists. That came three months after Warner pumped an eight-figure sum into social gaming platform Roblox, having already invested in virtual artist record label, Spirit Bomb.
Today (May 3), WMG has cranked this strategy up a couple of notches.
This time, it’s invested in Wave – the virtual concerts platform that has previously attracted investment from the likes of Tencent, Scooter Braun, Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, and Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin.
Warner hasn’t confirmed the dollar amount it’s invested into Wave, but it has taken a minority equity position in the company as a result.
Los Angeles-based Wave blends broadcast technology and real-time gaming graphics to transform artists into digital avatars in a virtual world, through which they can play livestreamed concerts for fans to watch and interact with.
Warner said that Wave will “develop virtual performances, experiences, and monetization opportunities” for its artists, including “new forms of ticketing, sponsorship, and in-show interactions for fans”.
It added: “Through Wave, WMG will be able to forge more powerful artist activations, incorporating new and fan-favorite features into their shows to fuel audience engagement.”
Wave offers fans interactive offerings including live chats, virtual gifting and voting, as well as real-time audience appearances during artist performances.
Adam Arrigo, CEO and Co-Founder of Wave, said: “WMG has an incredible history of being a trailblazer in the music industry. They share our vision for pulling the future forward using new technologies that benefit artists and fans alike.
“We’re excited to partner with them to create interactive events that are unlike any other virtual concerts ever experienced.”
“The commercial opportunity in the metaverse has exploded in the last several years, with the past few months seeing a tipping point for mainstream adoption of immersive social experiences and virtual communities.”
Oana Ruxandra, Warner Music Group
Oana Ruxandra, EVP, Business Development and Chief Digital Officer at WMG, said: “The commercial opportunity in the metaverse has exploded in the last several years, with the past few months seeing a tipping point for mainstream adoption of immersive social experiences and virtual communities.
“Wave is indisputably a leader in the interactive virtual entertainment space and the right partner to help us grow WMG’s efforts. Our artists and their fans will be getting best-in-class experiences, as we pioneer new forms of consumption and monetization.”
To date, Wave has hosted more than 50 Wave events for a number of popstars, DJs, and artists, including The Weeknd, John Legend, Dillon Francis, Alison Wonderland, Tinashe, and more, performing for millions of viewers around the world.Music Business Worldwide