Robot Rapper has 9 Million followers on Tik Tok because “Traditional A&R is inefficient and unreliable.”

FN Meka was created by Factory New, a new company that describes itself as a “first of its kind, next-generation music company, specializing in virtual beings”. They only sign virtual artists!

The firm’s first ‘signing’ was AI-powered robot rapper FN Meka, who has 9 million followers (and over a billion views) on TikTok. Watch the video below!

Read more from Music Business Worldwide

Post Malone’s Avatar looks JUST like Post Malone!

Virtual Concerts are gaining traction and the Post Malone / P25 collab is a big one! TV and online ads have been popping up for me, giving his virtual concert this highest-profile yet. It’s a cool spot, showing the real Post Malone heading stage and turning into his Avatar as he hits the stage. Cool effect! But I was expecting and hoping for something much more original with the Avatar!

In my experience with artists and digital avatars, many artists look to make slightly cooler, thinner, and better “looking” versions of themselves. This is normal because the tech is new, and in the beginning artists often use new mediums in a way that matches what they are sued to, what already exists! exists. Hopefully, the unlimited creativity that comes with creating your own avatar becomes an area where music artists feel more comfortable exploring identity and tying their avatar to the music and the fans in entirely original ways. Companies like Spirit Bomb are emerging as cross-functional creative shops that specialize in creating original virtual beings from scratch, with insane originality, complete backstories, and bodies not possible in the real world! So I know we will get there!

The concert (linked below) was wildly original, unexpected joyful moments and lots of creativity, the digital being in me wanted more from the Artist avatar!

Wave and The Weeknd deliver the largest virtual concert on TikTok with over 2m unique live viewers

This project was the Summer of Covid. Working away in my home office, no physical contact with a massive team spanning across Wave, TikTok and the Artists. Pulling to together all the ingredients for seomtheinf special, basically wiling this to life. The date was moved three times, the art evolved in new ways, The Weeknd pushed out creative an interactivity to new heights, and we we faced the looming threat of a U.S. ban of TikTok just das before we were finishing the show!

But it all went down and withou ny technical issues with Wave’s platform. The Weeknd’s live, interactive virtual concert that premiered Aug. 7, and included several rebroadcasts on local TikTok handles pulled in more than 2 million total unique viewers. The event recorded 275,000 concurrent viewers at its peak, setting a new TikTok record!

Debuting new music, along with a surprise avata guest appearance from Doja Cat, “The Weeknd Experience” concert raised $350,000 for the Equal Justice Initiative through the sale of a new Weeknd x TikTok capsule collection of merchandise, which was available for a limited time.

Global music rights were one of the Many curveballs we dealt with leading up to the show. At the eleventh hour, TikTolK couldn’t clear the music around the world, so Wave created an entirely second streaming window, handled all marketing and promotion of final worldwide premier of the Director’s cut, after the 6 tiktok rebroadcasts, and We added another million live unique viewers on YT/FB/Twitter!

The Wave Raise! 30 Million Round Draws Scooter Braun, Alex Rodriguez Among Investors

This one went faster then I could had imagined. While I stayed behind at home office last year, cranking out shows in our Pivot from VR, Adam and Gary went out to raise. Even before Covid, it was fast, and we essentially had it all buttoned up. Once Covid hit, things got even crazier. Adding Scooter Braun was a huge get for a scrappy startup like Wave. Before I have even settled in as CMO, the company is changing so quickly I think my job here is almost complete! Wave Assemble!

The Show Must Go Beyond

Working from home due to Covid, with only the footage we had before lockdown, using remote teams….Finally, a version of the trailer I feel good about. Proud of how this turned out, sometimes it takes 100 tries!

Wave

The Show Must Go Beyond!

LeBron vs. Zuckerberg on the future of education

Fixing education in this country is a must. If we could only fix one thing, I feel like giving the next generation the best education in the world (without life crushing loans), is the place to focus. To this day, I think attending Woodland Montessori school as a child set me up for success, and was one of the best things my Mom ever did for me!

I recently came across two articles in the NY times covering education initiatives from Lebron James and Mark Zuckerberg. Love the effort and the money from anyone willing to step up, however the headlines on their own really caught my attention!

LeBron James Opened a School That Was Considered an Experiment. It’s Showing Promise

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/12/education/lebron-james-school-ohio.html

Silicon Valley Came to Kansas Schools. That Started a Rebellion

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/21/technology/silicon-valley-kansas-schools.html

I haven’t seen anyone put them together yet? A few quotes about Lebron’s efforts:

“The students paraded through hugs and high-fives from staff, who danced as Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family” blared through the hallways…..Every day, they are celebrated for walking through the door.”

And Zuckerbergs

“….students spend much of the day on their laptops and go online for lesson plans and quizzes, which they complete at their own pace”

Ok, I am picking intentially provocative quotes, but which one sounds right to you? Is Lebron schooling Zuck on the future of education?

I am not an expert at any of this, I don’t have tons of data and studies. I haven’t seen anyone more qualified than me connecting these articles and doing a deep dive on the different approaches. It could be these are two totally different “turn around” stories, and it’s not fair to compare. However when you read these, it feels like one leader really knows the community and people, and the other doesn’t!

After reading both articles, and just based on my own experience, its hard for me to believe that improving education is based on more technology and free chrome-books.

Please take a quick read at both, and see what conclusions you come to!

LeBron James Opened a School That Was Considered an Experiment. It’s Showing Promise

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/12/education/lebron-james-school-ohio.html

Silicon Valley Came to Kansas Schools. That Started a Rebellion

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/21/technology/silicon-valley-kansas-schools.html

Fortnite’s Marshmello concert re-defines virtual reality!

More than 10 million people watched the virtual performance! This is it! The scale all of us VR heads have been looking for. It’s made me realize, you dont need VR to get many of the benefits we’ve been pushing on consumers.

If you look through the comments you will see a theme

“I was There”

Fortnite is a place.

There was a concert there

10 million people went there!

A sense of presence, without the headset sounds like the future of VR!

Live from The Wave VR: Inside Imogen Heap’s VR concert

Music and Virtual Reality have the potential to be part of a must have reason to get VR.  If the video looks cool, then imagine being there! Music helps make up for some of the resolution issues with early VR headsets, and we’re at the dawn of a new music format. You are not really at a concert but part of an intimate connection with the music in a new way, that is part concert, but something more as well.

Walmart’s Tech Incubator Store No. 8 Acquires VR Startup Spatialand

I’ve been consulting in VR for Store No. 8 for the last year, and joined full time last December. Excited to share publicly what we’ve been working on and planning for the last few months!

“Today, we are thrilled to announce our acquisition of Spatialand, which will create the foundation of Store No 8’s third portfolio company. The new venture will operate in stealth with Kim and Jeremy at the helm as co-founders. I’m proud to join this team as well, as interim CEO, in addition to my role as Principal of Store No 8. The team will develop and explore new products and uses of VR through immersive retail environments that can be incorporated by all facets of Walmart, online and offline.”

Read the full post from our CEO Katie Finnegan!

In addition to co-founding this new company with Kim, I will be serving as Chief Product Officer, continuing our focus on using Virtual Reality to power the future of retail.

I couldn’t be more excited to parter with Kim, Katie, and the rest of the Spatialand and Store No.8 team!

Walmart’s Tech Incubator Store No. 8 Acquires VR Startup Spatialand

BLACK EYED PEAS MAKE VR HOT – MASTERS OF THE SUN

Masters of the Sun VR is a VR graphic novel adaptation presented by the Black Eyed Peas. Fresh off buzz from at Sundance, it’s available now on Samsung Gear VR. Despite some performance issues on the Gear with my S7, I think this is one of the most promising episodic VR experiences yet!

Black Eyed Peas and Marvel Comics previously teamed up on a comic book called “Masters of the Sun – the Zombie chronicles”. The VR adaptation lets you control the story and brings some much-needed hip hop energy to VR.

What I like the most is Master of the Sun has a unique feel, not a quite a video game, not quite photo realistic, but a vibe I havent quite felt in VR yet.

You’re in the comic…

As you turn around and explore youll see a record rack, and some comics, looks amazing in the headset….

Translating the subtlety of a comic books tone to an immersive format isn’t easy. Most experiments I’ve seen go backwards. Somehow adding interactivity often takes away from the magic you remember.

Master of the Sun overcomes that, with creative use of rendering style, perspective, music, even the fonts – all coming together to give you an enhanced sense of wonder in a comic book world. The story and the richness make it worthy of VR’s enhanced ability to look around and soak it in, it feels immersive, curious, familiar, new all at once. At each decision point, I found myself looking around, soaking in the environment, before moving the story forward.

The experience itself is broken up into a series of separate episodes, or VR graphic novels but I only wish they would have gone higher end and made this for the VIVE. There were issues on the Gear, it couldnt quite keep up with my head movements and some of the camera pans made me a little motion sick. The story and quality begs for more!

But I can see past all of that for the great moments. This feels like new ground on the path to VR becoming legitimate medium for stories. According to Forbes the team has grander ambitious

“From this, we now are planning to leverage the project into becoming a full VR studio,” adds Taboo. “Other artists who we know from Rihanna to Usher all want to do something with VR. We’re in a perfect position to collaborate them and others for the VR space because of what we are doing and who we are,” will.i.am told me. “We’ve got the whole system down. We created the prototypes to this project and demos in order to get the other artists on board with MOTS, and once they could see the vision, we just kept building from that.”

Here’s Why Everyone Is Talking About This Hot VR Project At Sundance Film Fest