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    Decentraland's Metaverse Music Festival kicks off with Björk, Ozzy & 'The Voice'

    The four-day event will include virtual performances from more than 170 artists across 15 stages.

    Want to see Björk and Ozzy Osbourne perform at the same festival? For free? From the comfort of your own couch? Now you can. 

    Today, the blockchain-based gaming platform Decentraland kicks off its second annual Metaverse Music Festival (DCLMVMF22), described as “a four-day celebration of music, innovation, culture and creativity.” In addition to Björk and Ozzy (the main headliners), attendees will be able to watch virtual performances from Dillon Francis, Soulja Boy, Motörhead, Megadeath, Akira the Don, and many others — more than 170 in total, across 15 stages. The reality TV show The Voice will also be making an appearance by hosting a virtual contest and handing out NFT awards to winners. 

    Iara Dias, producer of the Metaverse Music Festival at Decentraland, says that the event is designed to recreate some of the aspects of real-life music festivals while simultaneously playing with new possibilities that are only possible in the metaverse. “We want people to be mesmerized by by the festival,” she says. “We can push the boundaries of physics, and at the same time be safe.”

    Without wanting to spoil the surprise, Dias hints that the event may offer attendees the chance to experience some kind of “psychedelic experience” — presumably a suffusion of DayGlo colors and trippy visuals momentarily overtaking the computer screen. “I’m not saying we will, but maybe we will … then you can experience only the coolest part and not the bad trip, or something like that.”

    Crypto exchange platform Kraken returns as presenting partner

    For the second year in a row, Decentraland partnered with crypto exchange platform Kraken to host the Metaverse Music Festival. Decentraland also partnered with several other brands — including Limewire and Ozzy Osbourne’s music festival Ozzfest — that are sponsoring specific stages and creating their own branded experiences. Dias says that her team has been helping these brands to understand the potential of the metaverse and navigate this new and unfamiliar space: “[We’re] telling them what’s possible and pushing the boundaries sometimes,” she says. “They are very humble in their asks, and then we go beyond and say ‘no, come on, we entered the metaverse, we can do more than this.’”

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    New opportunities for revenue and fan engagement

    Many of the artists who are performing at DCLMVMF22 are intrigued by the opportunity to give out virtual wearables — which in Decentraland are NFTs — to their fans, says Dias. This is an opportunity to connect with their audience in a new way and help to foster an intimate sense of community. For example, an artist might hand out virtual, NFT t-shirts at the event, which a few months down the road might grant access to an exclusive event. “Everyone is super excited about this long-term relationship that they can harness,” Dias says. “Even if they don’t yet know what they’re going to do with this in the future, [they know] that there is a lot of possibility for them.”

    In September, Decentraland began allowing creators to begin selling emotes — custom dance moves or poses — via the Decentraland Marketplace. Artists performing at DCLMVMF22 will have the chance to sell their own NFT emotes; Dias says that Soulja Boy will be releasing one (anyone who lived through 2007 will have a pretty clear idea of what that’s going to look like) as will Ozzy (fingers crossed it’s biting the head off of a bat — though after COVID that might not be as cool of a look as it was in the 70s.)

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    Akira the Don says ‘there is no need for anyone to ever feel alone ever again’

    Akira the Don, a DJ from the UK who currently lives in Mexico, remembers seeing Björk headline at Redding Festival in 1995, the first music festival he ever attended: “Little me was so desperate to see this, as soon as the gates opened, I ran to the front and hung on to that barrier right at the front of the stage. And I just fucking held on to that for dear life all day and all night until Björk came on. I didn’t piss, I didn’t eat, people crowdsurfed into the back of my head … people wanted to be at the front, they were trying to move me out the way, I did not fucking let them — I hung on to that thing for dear fucking life … I left that place transformed. And then 27 years later, [Björk and I are] sharing a stage in the metaverse.”

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    Creative potential in the metaverse, in Akira’s view, is vast: “You’re creating places, you’re creating feelings and sensations that are more than that which you get from reading a blog post or clicking a link on a music player,” he says. “And there is no need for anyone to ever feel alone ever again.”

    DCLMVMF22 runs today through November 13. It’s accessible for free at https://themetaversefestival.io/.

    For more, sign up for The Drum’s Inside the Metaverse weekly newsletter here.

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