deadmau5 Oberhasli

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single music star in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of their own slice of the metaverse. And maybe some NFTs while they’re at it. Yes, we’re breaking out the Jane Austen intro again, in celebration of the news that deadmau5 is set to launch his own musical virtual world called Oberhasli.

“Oberhasli will feature a constantly evolving online world with music, games, and other interactive content curated by deadmau5 himself,” is how the pitch runs. “Fans will be able to socialise with each other, play games, listen to live music performances and much more.”

The artist isn’t building this from scratch, of course. He’s working with Manticore Games, the company behind the Core gaming platform – we wrote about it in September 2020 when it raised a $15m funding round led by Fortnite publisher Epic Games. It’s no stranger to deadmau5 either: he used Core to crowdsource a music video this summer.

“We’ve seen virtual concerts in the past, but after making a splash, they fizzle out; there’s no shelf life to them. With Oberhasli, I want to create a permanent mainstay for the artists’ metaverse, regularly updating it over time, switching things up and keeping it cohesive with real-world news and ancillary events,” said deadmau5 (aka Joel Zimmerman).

Oberhasli is due to launch on 14 October, kicking off with a live concert. It’s going to be a very interesting project to watch, because (as Zimmerman points out) music in the metaverse has so far tended to focus on one-off events, rather than longer-term artist-branded environments.

It’s part of Zimmerman’s wider exploration of this, too. In April he co-founded a startup called Pixelynx alongside Richie ‘Plastikman’ Hawtin that plans to help artists “digitise their brands into collectible goods for use in gaming and virtual worlds”. Then, in May, the pair bought a plot of virtual land in ‘decentralised virtual world’ The Sandbox, with plans to launch “gaming experiences and NFTs” there.

How that sits alongside Oberhasli remains to be seen: the risk is of spreading one’s creative ideas too thinly among different worlds. However, with any new technology, the most exciting moments come when artists are rolling up their sleeves to get hands-on, so we’ll be watching all this with keen interest.

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