Concert Expected To Be The Largest of Meta’s Metaverse Events To Date
By Gary Symons
TLL Editor in Chief
The Notorious B.I.G. is back, literally from the grave, as the star rapper will posthumously headline a concert in Horizon Worlds.
The concert is part of one of the most powerful trends in licensing today, as music stars past and present are starring in concerts held in the metaverse.
Just recently, for example, Elton John performed in the Roblox metaverse as part of his farewell tour, and this year MTV introduced the “Best Metaverse Performance” category in its award show, which BLACKPINK won for their “pretty savage” concert in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUGB) Mobile.
The trend has been growing for well over a decade, and in particular it is creating value for the estates of music stars who have died, or artists who have ceased performing.
Earlier examples primarily happened either through Augmented Reality or holograms, which are increasingly being used to stage live performances with either fictional characters – like Riot Games musical group K/Da, or musical stars from the past, such. as the hologram of the late Elvis Presley singing with Celine Dion on American Idol, or the hologram of Tupac that performed with Snoop Dogg at Coachella in 2012.
Now, however, the rapidly growing metaverse phenomenon is bringing more and more artists into Virtual Reality performances, including the concerts by Ariana Grande and Travis Scott in Fortnite.
The Notorious B.I.G. concert is notable because it will mark one of the first posthumous concerts by a major artist in a metaverse Virtual Reality event, and will also be the first major event of its kind for Meta’s Horizon Worlds.
Meta says the concert is being staged to mark what would have been the rap star’s 50th birthday this year. The company is teaming. up with Willingie, Gunpowder & Sky, and The Notorious B.I.G. Estate to stage The Notorious B.I.G. Sky’s The Limit: A VR Concert Experience.
On Dec. 16, fans of the world-renowned rapper will be able to join him in what Meta promises will be a hyper-realistic avatar form inside Meta Horizon Worlds to celebrate his life and legacy within a virtual recreation of ’90s Brooklyn called The Brook.
The event is much more than a concert, as fans will be able to follow a day in Biggie’s life through a narrative journey written and voiced by American writer and music journalist Touré.
The concert will feature performances of classics from Biggie’s catalog; guest performances by Sean “Diddy” Combs, The Lox, Latto, Nardo Wick, and Lil’ Cease; a special set from DJ Clark Kent; and more. Following the premiere in Worlds, fans can stream it on demand in VR with Meta Quest TV. If you don’t have a headset, you can catch the 2D version of the show on the official Notorious B.I.G. Facebook page.
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The concert also represents a capstone moment in a banner year for The Notorious B.I.G. The Estate, along with Rhino Records, Bad Boy, and Atlantic Records. The partners celebrated what would have been Christopher Wallace’s 50th birthday with the release of his first new track in 17 years, “G.O.A.T.” featuring Ty Dolla $ign and Bella Alubo, two orchestral tribute concerts at New York’s famed Lincoln Center conducted by Miguel Atwood Ferguson, the lighting of the Empire State Building in Biggie’s honor, and activations with Barclays Center in Biggie’s home borough of Brooklyn, as well as a 25th anniversary release of his 11x platinum-certified double album Life After Death.
Touré said the VR concert in the metaverse presented the production team with a new way to tell the artist’s story and represent his musical legacy.
“I think it looks really cool; it’s an amazing way to interact with him,” said Touré. “It took time for me to be able to understand what VR can do, like what the animators can create, so once I met with them, I had to rewrite the script a bit to reflect the capabilities of this VR world.”
Touré also says he’s now looking at the metaverse as a primary venue for similar projects in future.
“It’s very exciting to be able to give people immersive experiences, so if VR can develop to the point where I can be at home but have the feeling of being in the front row of a concert and really feel like I’m there, that would be a really exciting opportunity,” he said.
It’s also a major opportunity for Meta, as the social media turned metaverse company has been savaged by critics and by Wall Street analysts as the Horizon Worlds platform has generated sparse user traffic after a multi-billion investment by the company.
However, Horizon Worlds was only launched as a software development project little more than a year ago, and Meta has only just begun adding entertainment events to the platform. In addition to the upcoming Notorious B.I.G. concert, other recent Meta-funded projects have included “Eli Roth’s Haunted House: Trick-VR-Treat,” starring Vanessa Hudgens, and a VR experience in Horizon Worlds based on Jordan Peele’s “Nope.”
The success of this concert and similar events will likely be a major factor in Meta’s ability to turn the corner and make Horizon Worlds a success. That also means entertainment and video game licensing are almost guaranteed to be primary areas of investment for Meta as it works to attract Daily Active Users (DAUs) to the platform.