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How the metaverse promises to transform how we interact with music online (guest column)


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This is a guest post by Tim Exile, CEO and founder of music-making app Endlesss, which is experimenting with some interesting projects that connect with its core business, including minting royalty-sharing NFTs and launching a label. Tim and Endlesss are also interested in how music will connect with the metaverse – the loosely-connected bunch of digital ‘spaces’ – like gaming universes, virtual reality, and augmented reality – so we asked him to write about his thoughts on the future of this space. He sees an exciting new environment where our relationship with the space itself is its value proposition – and a huge  business opportunity.

The metaverse is here

The metaverse is here, and it promises a new world in which our online lives mirror our reality. This new world – infused with virtual ‘real’ experiences – is a new reality where ‘online’ becomes an extension of our real lives. It’s a destination in itself that shares the spatial, relational and cultural characteristics of our real world.

Like in real life, what happens when we come together in spaces in the metaverse will build the cultural value and status of those places and the people that frequent them. The metaverse will transform creativity from today’s content production process to a co-present social interaction where everyone participates in the creation of culture and value. As the metaverse flourishes in the coming years, trillions of dollars of cultural economic activity will be brought into this new world.

Tim Exile

The intersection of ‘real’ and ‘meta’

Today, our online lives play out on apps or sites where we go to share, discover and engage with content. Social media sites offer a way to document our ‘real’ lives. They thrive on standout viral content which pulls us back to consume yet more content, capturing our attention. However, they’re not places to ‘be’ in the same way as the places we live and gather in the ‘real’ world.

The metaverse, on the other hand, is more of an extension of our tangible world where our online lives play out in spaces that function more like real-world spaces. While social media thrives on content that generates attention, the metaverse thrives on co-presence and ‘composable’ interactions that build cultural value.

In the metaverse, creativity will be something we participate in when we show up in virtual spaces, with one another, in real time. It will be one of many aspects of our interaction in the metaverse – alongside conversation, game-play and financial transactions. This doesn’t mean the metaverse will be devoid of content: rather our relationship to media in the metaverse will be the inverse, as the container.

For example; if you go to a restaurant, you don’t consume the decor as content, you experience the decor as the container.

 

Reinforcing ‘the container’

One way to conceptualise the essence of the metaverse is to imagine going to Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London. Once there, you enter into a relationship with its rich history, the space and its decor, and the evening’s performers. You and the rest of the audience experience the music as a ritual, amplified and focussed by the ambience of the venue. The venue is decorated with visible autographed portraits of the performers who have played there, and the invisible storytelling and myth-making behind the Ronnie Scott’s brand.

In this way, Ronnie Scott’s is a living space: a container for us to gather in, constantly growing in richness, depth and value, constantly being refreshed and redecorated by new rituals. These rituals often generate media – audio recordings, images or videos. Aside from being collateral for their social media manager, the biggest impact of this media is to reinforce the container; the Ronnie Scott’s brand and venue.

 

Endlesss

New world; new economy

In the metaverse, creativity will unfold as an ongoing sequence of co-present interactions, building an ever-expanding relational, composable history of creativity that enriches the spaces we gather in. What we create and how – as well as where we create it and with who – will all be essential metadata. It will be that which proves the value of our creativity, and ascribes cultural status to the people we create with, and the spaces we create in.

Rather than producing content to compete for attention, the outputs of our creativity in the metaverse will be symbols, narratives or experiences. They’ll encapsulate and communicate the value of the spaces we gather in, and the status of the people that gather there.

At Endlesss, we’ve been building metaverse-ready containers for creativity since we launched our beta product in 2019. We started with music, but the infrastructure we’ve built applies to any creative medium: audio, video, images, code.

As the promise of the metaverse is realised in the coming years, we’re incredibly excited to play our part in building the root-level infrastructure that changes the way we interact online, and offers creators of all types a new world of unbounded possibilities.

Joe Sparrow

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