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I get very excited about musical elements in virtual worlds. Well duh, otherwise I wouldn’t blog about this stuff now would I? So the usual process is finding something musically related to virtual worlds and then telling you all how cool it is and why. Or sometimes just going into journalist mode and statin’ the facts.
So rare is it to come across something that earns an eye roll yet Rocktropia, the new music virtual world from NEVERDIE Studios, earns just that. Yes, this is the same Jon “Neverdie” Jacobs – famous for purchasing a virtual asteroid in Entropia for $100,000.
A minor profit and one crappy song later, he’s built a planet in the Entropia Universe and labeled it the “1st Virtual Music World” which, of course, is a ridiculous lie. The world is billed as a way for artists to share and listeners to discover but it looks like an over-glossy romp in an 1980’s metal band album cover. Screenshots and video released about world show avatars with bad 90’s rock haircuts running around with guns and shooting virtual vixens in the crotch. What does any of that have to do with an immersive music discovery experience?
Motorhead signed on to the project with lead singer Lemmy Kilmister having his own dark castle in the Rocktropia planet. If a world is attempting to become a musical destination for discovering new music and for new artists to profit, there needs to be a focus on music that is relevant and um, new.
As a lover of music in virtual worlds, you’ll have to forgive me for being such a hater about it. Everyone should be entitled to their own place and voice in the Metaverse. Rocktropia will appeal to 35+ metaverse metal heads but the realm is far from revolutionary or original. Feel free to check it out and let me know if I’m just being an ass!
TechCrunch reported on a pretty cool little announcement yesterday:
Universal Music Group (UMG) has struck a deal with Conduit Labs, a startup that creates musical social games, to provide users with access to UMG’s library of licensed music from the record label’s artists such as Lady Gaga, Rihanna and others. The partnership will extend to all 1 million users of Conduit Labs’ games, including Music Pets, Super Dance and Loudcrowd, to access the tracks.
Forgive my lack of eloquence but… Conduit Labs FTW! The previously mentioned Loudcrowd is a very cool social gaming site where users could play DDR-esque dances for each other to an electro-heavy soundtrack featuring the likes of Justice and Chromeo. I posted about the game last year on this blog and was very excited about what they were offering. Still, with limited music distribution rights the game limits its demographic. Whether or not Conduit Labs will introduce their new tracks to Loudcrowd remains to be seen, as it might be a betrayal of the niche, but they’ve already made their way into the company’s latest project Music Pets.
This is where I digress for a moment and gush about Music Pets. It is a social game/virtual world Facebook app that lets users take care of a pet whose sole motivation in life is to jam out to tunes, eat food and then keep jamming out to more tunes. You can train your pet through an awesome mini-game to acquire your music taste, and then have it fetch new tracks for you to listen and share with your friends. Gaming, music discovery, sociability… it’s all there and it’s all awesome. The UMG deal has opened up a large plethora of options for Music Pets – my pet was able to jam to everything from The Smiths to Burt Bacharach to La Roux.
Thus far I’ve stayed far the hell away from most Facebook apps, including Farmville, but the attraction and playability of Music Pets is undeniable. The 1 million other users who signed up in the first month agree.
Is this the gamification of music discovery? Or is the musicification of social gaming? I kid, I kid… but this new deal with UMG makes a game like Music Pets a serious competitor to a music discovery platform like Pandora. The social game doesn’t have near the depth of selection offerings you’ll see in Pandora – but if this proves to be a success you can expect to see the spectrum widen immensely. We’ve seen major record labels partner with virtual worlds and social gaming before (Planet Cazmo) and UMG’s agreement shows a continued interest in pursuing these spheres as viable marketing tools.
Oh, and did you notice my Music Pets animal is an adorable freaking panda bear? Music, virtual worlds and pandas: there are few things better in this life.
A couple days ago, Virtual Worlds News announced a partnership between Planet Cazmo and the ‘Better-than-T-Pain’ (my phrase) iPhone app, Ladida, for a song writing contest.
Virtual world Planet Cazmo and LaDiDa have partnered to launch a song-writing contest. LaDiDa works on a “reverse karaoke” system that lets users sing into their iPhone application while the software composes a song to match, adding in pitch correction and reverb to tweak the song towards professionalism. Once users have written their songs, they can email it to Cazmo straight from the app when it will be reviewed by staff for content and then voted on by members to select 5 songs for the virtual concert finale.
Um, this could be one of the coolest moves by a music-themed virtual world in the short history of music-themed virtual worlds. Planet Cazmo has already made its mark with virtual concerts by superstars like Michael Jackson and Sean Kingston, among others. Now they’re putting the spotlight back on the kiddos.
So what if you can’t sing? Witness the power of Ladida….
While a few virtual worlds allow the user to create music using a provided toolset, this will be the first event to include real voice talent from the players. Here’s to hoping this works out well for Planet Cazmo. While I’m all about bringing superstar entertainment to a different medium, I’m much more about giving kids their chance to be their own superstars. Good move, Planet Cazmo.
Now this begs the question – will this marketing campaign produce the next Justin Bieber?
Music, the metaverse and pandas… thus the circle is complete.
I’m resurrecting this bad boy from the dead. You’ll notice my last post here came in August, shortly before I moved to Dallas for Webosaurs. Since then I’ve been busy with the day to day of work and all of my blogging attention focused on the Webosaurs blog, Metaverse Mod Squad company blog and now writing for Ypulse.
Still, my passion for Music and the Metaverse remains strong and I believe it’s important to maintain something personal and free. Do I have any clear-cut objectives for the resurrection of my blog? Not especially. I’m here to blog about music, the metaverse, pandas and anything that blends those elements. If you are a music loving tech-geek, virtual world enthusiast, whatever – this is your spot.
Now, in celebration of bringing the Electric Panda back to life I’d like to offer a couple tracks from the electrifying mashup duo The White Panda. These guys are mashup machines who are creating some of the best dance tracks out there on the web. I’m sure to do a dedicated post on them at some point in the future but they qualify under music and pandas so I feel this is more than appropriate.
One our Webosaurs member’s name is Kilabeez. Just as I had hoped, his name is based off the Wu-Tang Clan. Pretty awesome for what I’m guessing is a 10-year-old. Anyways, he submitted these song lyrics to us and I couldn’t help but put them on the Webosaurs blog. Here they are for you in all their unadulterated glory (I’m Rex, btw).
Sung to the tune of Wu-Tang Clan’s “Shimmy Shimmy Ya”
Shimmy Shimmy Rawr!
Hey dinos, i like to rawrr.
Yeah dinos, i like to rawrrrrr
ooh dinos, i like to rawrr.
Shimmy shimmy ya, shimmy rawr, shimmy yay.
Gimme the mouse so i can play all day.
Off on a natural charge, bon voyage.
Yeah from the cave of the dinos, protectors squad.
Webo-saurs players we on the hunt.
You best believe we dinos ain’t no runts.
So play nicely cause you can’t touch my skill.
Don’t mess with us cause Kilabeez and Rex we so ill.
Just remember this and have fun.
Cause we dinos like to rawrrr.
Yeah we dinos love to rawrrrr.
Go to www.webosaurs.com to learn more about this wonderful virtual world for kids.