UK rock band Oasis is opening its official online space in the virtual world Second Life (SL) this Monday, September 24, and is kicking off with a preview of its latest release, a feature-length-plus, limited edition double DVD entitled â€˜Lord Donâ€™t Slow Me Downâ€™. The facility â€“ built for Oasis in Second Lifeâ€™s â€˜New Horizonâ€™ business park â€“ is a joint venture between SL developer New Business Horizons and SL media producer Phoenix Film & Television.
From Monday, visitors can watch the DVDâ€™s trailer as they browse around the space, pick up free goodies such as a virtual t-shirt and coffee table book, have a look at stills from the production and pre-order the double DVD itself for real world delivery by Amazon. The real world release of â€˜Lord Donâ€™t Slow Me Downâ€™ is scheduled for October 29, 2007 by Big Brother Recordings in the UK and Big Brother Recordings/Universal internationally. Continue reading →
This is one of the most bitchin’ add-ons for the virtual world of Second Life that I’ve seen in a while. Our fellow Brooklynites at Cruxy, who run a site that lets musicians, filmmakers and other artists promote (and earn from the sale of) their work, have released a music map for Second Life that lets you see which Cruxy artists are being played at which locations in the virtual world. Cruxy offer a Second Life player that lets you listen to Cruxy artists while you’re in-world. Their new music map of SL shows you what’s being played where, lets you filter by a particular artist, and just generally looks cool. Rock on. (And yes, that’s me interviewing Suxanne Vega if you scroll down the Cruxy home page. That was fun. And you can listen to the entire interview if you like. Well worth suffering through my questions to hear what such an interesting artist — and long-time New Yorker — has on her mind these days. Her new album is awesome.)
The virtual world of Second Life is often compared to the annual Burning Man festival in that both are a place where fantasy becomes reality and almost anything goes. But SL resembles another, more mid-90s slice of festival culture as well, at times, and never more so than this weekend, when it takes on the guise of a field in Hampshire (extra credit for catching that reference) with the three-day SecondFest that’s about to kick off, sponsored by the Guardian newspaper and Intel, and organized by Rivers Run Red with promotional help from the ever-brilliant Aleks Krotoski, who writes for the Guardian. The festival gets underway tonight with DJ sets from people like the Glimmer Twins and Tom Findlay, according to the schedule, and wends its wooly way through to a Sunday-evening set from none other than the Pet Shop Boys. Taking place over no less than nine sims (»start here«, and see map after the jump), and with multiple stages, screens and, of course, tents, and too many acts for me to bother to count, it sounds like SecondFest could actually be some kind of landmark entertainment event in Second Life — if no more than 500 people want to get in at the same time. Sounds like fun in any case. Check it out. Easier to park, and just as much chance for muddy casual sex — if you like your muddy casual sex virtual, that is. Continue reading →
Hm, I must have fallen out of favor with the folks at MTV, since I heard about this not from them but from one of the artists involved in the project. What is it? It’s nothing less than Virtual Lower East Side, or vLES, for short, which is basically the implementation of what was to be known as MTV’s Music World. Using Doppelganger‘s technology, MTV has built out a more or less street-for-street replica of New York’s Lower East Side, complete with virtual versions of the area’s real clubs and restaurants. This is like the seedy sister world to Virtual Hills and Laguna Beach. Essentially, it’s a 3D virtual world with a MySpace for bands attached. If things are still on course, your band can get promoted from the Web-based social network into the virtual world, if you’re popular enough, with the distant possibility of actually getting into rotation on one of MTV’s channels if you do well enough there. (The site doesn’t say that, but that’s what I was told wehn I was working on the article linked above.) It’s just now in alpha, so you probably can’t get in yet, but the site shows some promising features, including a cool map highlighting the few establishments that have already been built out. But the $64 million question is, Can this gain any traction with young hipsters here and with those who aspire to hipsterdom elsewhwere but who can’t get to the Lower East Side they’ve always wanted to see?
Advance word comes to 3pointD that the Long Now Foundation (which has to be one of the coolest organizations on the face of the planet) will bring Brian Eno’s art installation, 77 Million Paintings, to the virtual world of Second Life at the end of June, concurrent with the show’s real-world opening. The virtual show is being built out by a startup metaverse services firm known as blueair.tv. For those who don’t know it, the Long Now Foundation is developing the world’s slowest computer, which is meant to “do for thinking about time what the photographs of Earth from space have done for thinking about the environment.” As the site points out, “Such icons reframe the way people think.” The term “long now” was coined by Eno, who, for those who don’t know him, is one of the most influential contemporary musicians around, and also a Long Now board member. Eno has also been more closely involved with things metaversal of late, having hooked up with Will Wright some time back. (And if you don’t know who Will Wright is, you had really better start doing your homework.) No details yet of what the SL opening and build will feature, but if Eno is making an appearance it’s sure to be extra cool.
3pointD’s D-Briefs feature started just about a week ago, and in its second appearance I mused about possibilities for a briefs icon to mark the features. Well, that’s just what I got, from a reader calling himself (or herself) “anonymous.” 3pointD thanks you for your contribution, wherever you are. Herewith the news in brief: 24 hours of live music, plus Intel and Philips in SL. Continue reading →
Two SL videos, an interview with Little Big Planet, and the first presidential campaign to have an official SL presence. I suspect headline-writing is going to be the hardest thing about these D-Briefs I’ve started doing. By the way, does anyone have a “briefs” icon I can use for these? Feel free to send it along. Continue reading →
Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe, which has nurtured a few of the biggest country and western music stars to emerge in the last 25 years, will start streaming video of its shows into the virtual world of Second Life this evening, 15 May, 3pointD hears. The Bluebird Cafe SL, located in the »Nashville Music City region« of Second Life, replicates the tiny music club in Nashville, and was built out by a firm called Sansoft. The club will apparently be streaming its shows into SL six days a week, beginning tonight with Fred Eaglesmith. This is pretty cool. Most of Second Life’s native musicians who’ve seen the most success are small acts that play intimate venues like the Bluebird. How cool would it be to tie the two types of gig together, so that the venue became a place to see not only emerging talent from Nashville, but emerging talent in a similar vein from Second Life. Who knows, it might even get some SL musicians in front of the ears of the talent scouts lurking at Nashville’s Bluebird.
[UPDATE: One interesting aspect about this project is the fact that the virtual Bluebird will charge an admission charge of between L$1,000 and L$2,500, or about US$3-9. (This information wasn’t apparent until a press release appeared after my earlier post.) Most SL establishments don’t dare charge anything for admission, so it will be interesting to see whether the Bluebird is both brave and shrewd (quite possible) or just foolhardy. The question is, are these acts you’d pay that kind of money to watch on the Web? The SL experience is enhanced, but audiences aren’t used to being asked to pay. This is an experiment to watch, in any case.]
Check out Virtualive.tv for details of a cool-sounding mixed-reality concert that’s taking place on May 10 in the virtual world of Second Life and the virtual world real city of New York. Arranged by Adam Broitman of Morpheus Media, with the help of popular Second Life DJ and promoter Nexeus Fatale, the concert will be simulcast into »the Morpheum sim« and »the Vesuvius sim« as part of an ongoing series of concerts meant to bring performance in the two worlds closer together, and bring new artists to new audiences. Got an indie band that needs a gig? Get in touch. Says Adam: “Our goal with this event is to create a platform whereby we provide all the logistics and funds to make events like these happen (we are possibly looking at an ad-supported model) and allowing anyone across the country the ability to apply to hold a Virtualive.tv event. The only criteria are that you are not on a major label and that you have some interest in virtual worlds. We think this can be a really cool way to empower indie musicians and at the same time create yet another way to employ the metaverse in a meaningful fashion.” Read more details in this press release.
The L Word build in the virtual world of Second Life (created by the Electric Sheep Company, sponsors of this blog) has apparently generated quite a following, and is reportedly one of the more successful corporate VW communities in Second Life. Now an interesting thing has happened: Fatty Cardiff, one of the earliest L Word in SL members, has put up a MySpace page for her avatar (including an amusing rap song about the place). According to Electric Sheep Chris Carella, Fatty has been in The L Word in SL from its first or second day, and was founder of the Lesbian Mafia group [UPDATE: see below for a correction], a very large and active user-created group in SL. Fatty is not the first avatar to have a Web-based social networking page, of course, but I love that the in-world L Word community (three times fast) is pushing itself onto the Web in this way. If nothing else, it speaks to the fact that Second Life users want more powerful tools of social networking and self-expression than SL can currently provide. Worlds like Kaneva, Metaversum and Sony’s PS3 home may go further, but based on how those have been described, I’d bet we won’t really be happy until there’s a really deep integration between 3D virtual worlds and some of the social networking services that already exist on the Web, like MySpace and Flickr, to name only two.
If you’re reading this, you probably know that I gave a presentation on Friday to the Art Directors Club of Germany here in Berlin. I had written my comments into a long post that also included these more general thoughts on culture and the metaverse, but realized there was too much for any sane person to make it through to the end, so I’ve split them up into two. First, the cultural metaverse of Berlin. Coming soon: Some idle thoughts on next-gen virtual worlds.
The day-long conference I spoke at actually turned out to be quite interesting, featuring not only creative professionals from branding, marketing and advertising, but architects and event planners as well, including Ric Birch, who has been organizing the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games since around 1984. I’ll go over some of what was said below, but first, to explain the pic: The event was held at a very nice new arts center here known as RadialSystem V, where in the evening I had the chance to attend a performance of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in which the chamber orchestra of about 14 pieces had also been choreographed as dancers. One non-musician dancer was also on stage, doing things like sprinkling solo violinist Midori Seiler with snowflakes and autumn foliage when he wasn’t running around in his tighty whities. The musicians mostly walked or sometimes ran around the stage, and though I’m usually not a fan of avant-garde treatments like this, the effect was actually quite captivating, and worked exceedingly well, and a lot of the choreography of the solo dancer was very Beckett-like. The whole thing was conceived by the formidable Sasha Waltz. The space at RadialSystem is very impressive to begin with, being a modern structure built into the remains of an old warehouse or factory building that sits right along the former Berlin Wall on the edge of a canal. The audience loved show, giving the performers something like six or seven curtain calls. Continue reading →
SecondCast #55 is on the air! Johnny, Lordfly and Torrid are joined by TheDiva Rockin, co-hostess of The-Broad-Cast.com, favorite podcast of oversexed metaversal Jersey girls everywhere, to chat about Twitter, the Second Life Relay For Life, and the international podcasting effort to Bum Rush the Charts, which is going on all day today. This is a coordinated effort by podcasters and listeners to drive a podcast artist to the #1 position in the iTune store “as a demonstration of our reach to Main Street and our purchasing power to Wall Street.” Go buy the song right now — you want to try to buy it while it’s still March 22. [If that link doesn’t work, try this one.] Or if you need more convincing, read on. Continue reading →
French electro-groovologists Air are bringing their new album, Pocket Symphony, to the virtual pocket world of Second Life, according to a press release. (This is cause for great rejoicing around the offices of 3pointD, where Air is in heavy rotation.) “On the occasion of the release of their fourth album, ‘Pocket Symphony’ [which came out last week], French band Air opens »a listening room in Second Life«. In this 3D rendering of the album’s visual art, you will be able to sample the 12 tracks of Air’s ‘Pocket Symphony’, watch the video of the album’s first single ‘Once Upon a Time’, as well as a short documentary about ‘Pocket Symphony’, get information about the upcoming Pocket Symphony European tour dates, access the band’s weblinks and subscribe to Air’s newsletter.” Sounds like a nice full-function fan site within Second Life. There have been major label projects like this in Second Life for almost a year, but there seems to have been a lull recently. Nice to see them coming back around, as this kind of social media sharing is one of the things a 3D virtual world is best at. I’m still in Texas, so I can’t check it out, but I urge our listeners to dial over to the »Air listening room« and start listening.
Just took a nice stroll over to Park Slope from the 3pointCrib to have a chat with Nathan Freitas and Jon Oakes, two of the co-founders of Cruxy, the new(-ish) Web site for independent musicians, filmmakers and other artists to promote and sell their work. (The third co-founder is Web services wizard Will Meyer, who’s based elsewhere.) That’s Nathan on the left (aka Nat Mandelbrot in SL), with his pet AIBO, which, sadly, suffers from the classic symptoms of DHS. I got in touch with them after blogging up their music player for SL, and was happy to hear that they have more cool stuff on the way, and are in fact already working on some things that could make it a lot easier to do media-making not just in a virtual world but on the Web itself, as well as to cross over between the two. For musicians, filmmakers and artists in both the real and virtual worlds, it seems like Cruxy’s versatile player and format could provide a small boon. Continue reading →
Mega-rockers KORN are coming to MTV’s virtual world this Wednesday, February 28, according to a new Virtual KORN domain on the MTV site. The band hits Virtual Laguna Beach on Wednesday to celebrate the release of their Unplugged album. One interesting thing to note: MTV is now referring to VLB and its adjunct areas like the Virtual Hills as “Virtual MTV” when the mood strikes them. It looks like this has been part of the plan all along, as I wrote in Wired magazine a while back, to slowly add areas until the project constituted a big virtual world that wasn’t necessarily tied to any one media property but which funneled an audience in through various portals. It sounds like a sensible strategy. And more evidence that media and entertainment companies are fast growing into the VW space. Unfortunatley, a few of the links on the Virtual KORN site don’t work. The one thing MTV could be better on here is a clearer path into their world. A number of people have commented on 3pointD that they have trouble singing up. Hopefully KORN fans will be able to figure it out.
This is another thing I wasn’t able to get working yesterday due to the various technical problems that were plaguing me, but I know that other people have got it working and it’s a good idea that’s open source, so even if I can’t handle it there’s someone out there who can, and who will find a way to tweak it to make it even cooler than it already is. The gadget in question is an audio player that directs a parcel of land in the virtual world of Second Life to play tunes from Cruxy.com, the cool YouTube-for-indie-bands (although more polished than YouTube, and not just for bands) that lets artists grab the lion’s share of the revenue on tracks they sell through the site. Get the player at Cruxy’s »media island« in the Silver Shores region of Second Life (look in the little modernist shack across the lake from the main build). Continue reading →
Let’s dispense with the news straight off: The metaverse meetup that’s slated for 23 February now has a location: Planet Thailand in Williamsburg, which is letting us take over their back room for the event, so you’ll be able to munch Pad Thai and eggplant and wander around and chat to whoever you want to. More importantly, though, a bunch of us checked out Uffie at the Hiro Ballroom last night, and she was awesome — at least, in her way. And in fact, the show was a really interesting look at how deeply the idea of lifelogging and recording one’s raw experience has infected the choices entertainers are making and how that’s affecting the kinds of media that are being created these days. (Pics at the end of it all as well.) Continue reading →
Well, Jerry’s at it again. This time he’s roped me in to give some kind of presentation at this month’s Metaverse Meetup in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. (Brooklyn is, of course, the capital of the metaverse, for those who didn’t already know.) In fact, it’ll be a fun evening. The metaverse meetups regularly draw a great crowd of people doing fascinating things with virtual worlds, geospatial technologies and lifelogging, and there’s ample opportunity to drink in a rich stew of ideas, socialize and just generally goof off from 6:00pm into the wee hours of the morning, if you last that long. [UPDATE: There’s now a location for this event. It’ll start off in the back room at Planet Thailand in Williamsburg, and move on from there.] Continue reading →
Well, it’s official: celebrity scents are over. As of tonight, you’re nobody if you don’t have your own 3D virtual world. Just ask supermodel-cum-talk show host Tyra Banks, who opened Tyra’s Virtual Studio this evening with a grammy party. “The studio is a free virtual world where you can listen to music, chat with your friends, get insider info about what’s happening at the Tyra Banks Show and just hang out,” according to the site. But you knew that already. In Tyra’s Virtual Studio, however (which is available for both Windows and Mac), “Your avatar can drop it like it’s hot.” Whew. We knew there was some added value here. Continue reading →
Virtual world services company Rivers Run Red forwards a press release from Talpa Digital about the DropZone project the two are producing in the virtual world of Second Life. Covering four SL regions, DropZone will host a festival stage, virtual skydiving, an area for viewing television programs piped into the virtual world, and a nightclub called Mundo, which will be the virtual arm of the Dutch dating site of the same name. In addition, “Talpa Digital is currently developing a unique technology for a virtual world version of Skoeps, the new citizen journalism site in the Netherlands. Offering the residents a chance to send in their Second Life skoep to huge billboards throughout this virtual world.” (Or at least, throughout the DropZone sims.) Perhaps more significantly, energy drink Red Bull will use the DropZone “to introduce their athletes in a live chat with their fans and to stream extreme sport events.” Continue reading →
It’s audio file day here at 3pointD, apparently. This is a kind of cool thing forward to me by a friend: young indie-emo-whatever-rockers Cartel, who’ve been featured on MTV’s reality show Laguna Beach, have released a three-song mini album of the live tunes they played during a virtual gig in the network’s online world, Virtual Laguna Beach. The tunes have been released through MTV’s Urge music-download service, of course, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a nice instance of media mashup: a band from a reality show whose gig in a virtual world has now been pushed back out through a more traditional media channel. I’m thinking we’ll see more and more such convergence between old media (television), current media (the Internet) and new media (virtual worlds) in the coming year.
After this recent post flagging tonight’s appearance in Second Life by Robert Randolph and O.A.R.‘s Marc Roberge (at 5:00pm SL time), a couple of people dropped me a line asking for more details — which can be found below. Also want to note, though, that this event looks to be generating an interesting televisual moment. NBC will apparently air some brief footage of Second Life (see video above, though I’m not sure whether that’s what will end up on air) as a way to drive people to VirtualNBC.com, a Web portal where people without SL accounts can experience and participate in the event. Continue reading →
Seems NBC so enjoyed its virtual Christmas tree lighting in Second Life that they’re back for more. Next Wednesday, December 20, the network will bring reggae rockers O.A.R. and funky gospel dude Robert Randolph to the virtual Peacock Room at the top of their Rockefeller Center replica, starting at 6:25pm SL time (9:25pm Eastern). Once again, the event will be produced by the Electric Sheep Company (sponsors of this blog) and replicated across multiple sims (this time NBC1 through NBC10). Nice to see a major media company coming back for a second helping of Second Life. Look for more such initiatives from more such companies in more such worlds in future.
Adam Pasick (aka Adam Reuters in SL), the Reuters correspondent covering Second Life, sends word that he’ll be conducting two in-world interviews this week with business heavyweights who might be of interest to many SL residents: Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime and Warner Music chief executive Edgar Bronfman. Both will have their own avatars and take questions from residents as well. Continue reading →
Late word from virtual world services firm Millions of Us is that the company is bringing rapper Jay-Z to the virtual world of Second Life tonight for a performance that will be taped to air later tonight on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, which starts at midnight (eastern). Show up at Motorati Island by 6:30pm Pacific time, when the taping starts, and your avatar could wind up on national television. I have no idea whether spots are still available, but contact Rodica MillionsOfUs well in advance if you really want to rub pixelated elbows with the bad boy of Bed-Stuy. And tune in to Jimmy Kimmel tonight. I’ve seen virtual worlds hit TV airwaves in the recent past, and it’s definitely something to behold. Makes you think this might not be just a passing fancy after all.
Hot on the heels of Destroy Television comes an announcement from virtual world branding and PR agency Rivers Run Red, which plans to launch a broadband television and content network in the virtual world of Second Life in November. Virtuallife.tv “will enable news, documentary and entertainment content to be distributed and shared across the entire virtual world,” according to a press release. It sounds an ambitious project, due to launch in early November on a 24-hour-a-day broadcast schedule carrying music, film, audio and text. More than 100 active channels are planned by the end of 2007, and the network, a Rivers property, plans to produce around 1,000 hours of original programming a year. There will even be content produced by the Second Life community, though quite what form that will take wasn’t clear from the release. Continue reading →
But as SL resident Tao Takashi points out in a BlogHUD post made from within the world, he was unable to find a link at the site to purchase a Kweli CD from Amazon or another Web-based service. Is there a missed opportunity here? It will be interesting to see what the Electric Sheep Company (sponsors of this blog) do for their project for Sony/BMG, which, according to The New York Times, “has rooms devoted to popular musicians like Justin Timberlake and DMX, allowing fans to mingle, listen to tunes or watch videos. Sony BMG is also toying with renting residences in the complex, as well as selling music downloads that people can listen to throughout the simulated world.” Continue reading →
The latest announcement from the Electric Sheep Company (sponsors of this blog) is that they’re bringing Sony/BMG to the virtual world of Second Life. According to Sheep Giff Constable, the site, on the Sheep’s Media Island, will contain “fan zones for 8 leading SONY BMG artists with video and audio content, and two gorgeous lounge and club presences which will host some exciting future events with big-name acts. One of the really cool things here from my perspective is also that SONY BMG will actually be experimenting with selling music within Second Life directly to residents.” That’s definitely very cool.
The official launch is October 19, with a meet-and-greet andn then Q&A with Epic Records artist Ben Folds. Reserve a spot for the event by emailing frontdesk [AT] virtualaloft.com, which is holding its launch the same day. Slightly confusing, but that seems to be the way to go. [UPDATE: The two events are actually a joint event, which is why you have to RSVP for the one to get to the other.] Continue reading →
Amil Husain, Global Youth Coordinator for the United Nations’ Millennium Campaign against poverty, sends along news of an October 14-16 event in the virtual world of Second Life being held as part of the UN’s broader effort to improve living conditions in poor countries around the world. Rockers Sugarcult will be playing a concert that day in California, and will have it replicated within Second Life at SL designer Aimee Weber’s »Midnight City« at 1:00pm SL time (4:00pm Eastern). In addition, SL avatars will stand up against poverty over the next two days — and be counted toward a Guinness Book world record that the organization is shooting for. (For more, listen to Aimee’s appearance on the latest episode of SecondCast.)
Will this help? It’s impossible to quantify the effect of such consciousness-raising exercises. But kiosks are being set up around the virtual world that will hand out the white wristbands that have become an international symbol of the fight against poverty. (Contact Aimee if you want one.) Similar (real-world) wristbands have done much to help the fight against cancer. In any case, it doesn’t seem like it can hurt. Stand up and be counted.
Rosie from The Hedrons strums a few virtual chords
Girl group The Hedrons are a good-looking Glaswegian quartet playing straight-ahead rock tunes a la, oh, the Ramones or the White Stripes or any number of bands between the two. It’s pretty good stuff, actually, and it’s coming to the virtual world of Second Life on Monday, October 9 at 7:30pm British time (11:30am SL time), when the band will do a live 30-minute set to promote their album, One More Won’t Kill Us, which drops the same day. Continue reading →
There’s a new SecondCast on the air: in Episode #33 we talk to Mike Prevost of Muse Isle, a Second Life venue for live music performance, and Cylindrian Rutabaga, who often plays there. An interesting look at what it’s like to gig in the virtual world. Plus, listen along as the SecondCasters pimp their MySpace pages in order to try and get a record deal. Exciting!
Remember the blonde-haired male avatar you were dancing with at that goth club in Second Life a couple of weeks ago, the one with a recent rez date who seemed like he might still be getting his legs in SL? It just might have been Nick Rhodes, keyboardist and songwriter for the platinum-selling new wave band Duran Duran. I just got off the phone with Rhodes, talking to him about the futuristic utopia the band is now working on creating in Second Life, and I was pleasantly surprised to find he really does seem to “get it” where the virtual world is concerned, and is actually quite excited about the possibilities SL holds as a way to communicate and interact with fans.
To Rhodes, Second Life has as much potential to revolutionize the music and entertainment industry as MTV did when it first came on the scene. And that avatar at the goth club? Rhodes reports that he’s been exploring SL quite a bit lately: “I’ve not actually had a whole day to sit there and do it [but] I’ve been to some clubs and danced with a few goths, looked at what people have created so far. The detail is what really impressed more than anything. For example, we came from a long way out and flew into one beautiful garden, and we went so close in, macro close, that we went inside of a flower — and there was a bee in there, and it was collecting pollen. Now that’s my kind of place.” Continue reading →