An Op/Ed from our co-founder and CEO Ian Simon, published in Music Business Worldwide.
The new singing competition show from FOX, Alter Ego, features a unique twist on the old formula: rather than performing songs in front of the judges, the amateur contestants are tucked offstage, controlling larger than life digital avatars.
It’s the latest mainstream embrace of “virtual beings”: CGI personas with apparent autonomy. In fact, one of Alter Ego’s celebrity judges is Grimes, who created and launched her own 3D character War Nymph last year.
These virtual beings are either our chance to make the music industry more equitable, or the final nail in the coffin for artists, depending on who you ask.
“THANKS TO A HOST OF OPPORTUNITIES OFFERED BY THE CURRENT DIGITAL LANDSCAPE, VIRTUAL ARTISTS ARE POISED FOR PRIMETIME UNLIKE EVER BEFORE.”
To be clear, virtual beings aren’t a new idea (think Platinum selling Gorillaz, or even Alvin and the Chipmunks).They differ from touring holograms, such as the infamous Tupac hologram at Coachella 2012.
These are original creations, with their own identities. And thanks to a host of opportunities offered by the current digital landscape, virtual artists are poised for primetime unlike ever before.
The timing couldn’t be more perfect. Today, digital streaming platforms (DSPs) and algorithms drive music consumption habits, social media has put unprecedented demands on artists to be “content creators,” and the music community is taking a hard look at the exploitative history of the industry (and how we can change it).
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Read the full article → here