A broad-nosed unicorn dashes across the dance floor and almost collides with jubilant habanero chilies. A loudly shouting avatar activates its flaming angelic wings and advances towards the stage. Where are we? Exactly, in the metaverse, a digital parallel world. “We are in the ‘Rocking Uniquehorns’ community in ‘Decentraland’, one of the many event platforms in Mataversum,” says Alma Cilurzo, pointing to the screen of her laptop.
In mid-August, the Lucerne singer celebrated the release of her latest single “We don’t need to feel lonely” in Decentraland’s band room as part of a virtual concert. She is the first woman in Switzerland to play a concert on this platform. Cilurzo performed his own songs, jazz covers and pop classics for almost two hours.
Virtual and physical reality are connected
“For me, music is a bond that brings people together,” says the 36-year-old. Today, when many musicians produce their songs in their home studios, the metaverse becomes a kind of portal:
“It connects virtual and physical reality in a common digital space.”
However, looking back at her on-screen appearance in the metaverse is a bit unfamiliar. But not because of their performance. Your performance and the musical accompaniment from organist Ernst Halter will be projected as a live stream on the screen in the band room.
Lucerne luxury watches in Metaverse
In the Metaverse, you can not only listen to concerts, but also buy things. Recently, you can equip your avatar, for example, with a luxury watch from the Lucerne brand Chronoswiss. To this end, the Chronoswiss studio was completely recreated in the virtual world Decentraland (Location -101.8). In addition to virtual jewelry, you can also buy real watches there, which – in the real world – are made in Lucerne.
Chatting during the concert
Unlike in the real world, there are a few extra tasks in Decentraland: “The avatars write messages to me in the chat during the concert, send selfies, I write back, moderate and perform,” explains Cilurzo. The interaction with the visitors is a form of parasocial marketing, after all the metaverse aims to convey the feeling that we are not looking from the outside, but are always right in the middle of the three-dimensional, virtual world. No one really knows who is hiding behind unicorns and avatars with flaming angel wings. And yet she says:
“I’ve won fans, made new friends and built real relationships with people.”
People came to the concert who had not known them before, “because in this environment many like-minded people who are on the same musical journey meet,” says Cilurzo. Concertgoers have the ability to log in as guests and do not need a cryptocurrency to do so. Those who want to support the performers can buy unicorn NFTs (stands for non-fungible tokens, digital unique pieces) that hang on the wall of the band room or buy the songs directly as NFTs. “Artists are the focus of this platform,” says Cilurzo. “10 percent of the profit goes directly to me, 90 percent is reinvested in the infrastructure and the events.”
So far, however, no metaverse can replace direct eye contact and physical proximity to the audience.
“I missed the direct connection to the people during my performance,”
concludes Cilurzo. For the future, she has committed herself to traditional live concerts as clearly as to innovative virtual events. The wide-mouthed unicorns and habanero chilies will soon be able to party again.
Another concert: October 12 at 20 Swiss time, Rocking Unicorns/ Decentraland www.decentraland.org