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The ex-Liverpool Football Club CEO discusses how music can embrace the metaverse following Unity's partnership with Insomniac
By James Hanley on 15 Mar 2022
Unity’s Peter Moore has urged the live music business to take advantage of the opportunities of the metaverse in the wake of the company’s partnership with Insomniac Events.
The link-up will see Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) promoter Insomniac team with 3D platform Unity to focus on virtual concerts, promising to bring an “interactive and immersive experience” to music fans.
“Unity is helping us create a world’s first experience for our community as we work together to deliver the next level of what the metaverse can be for entertainment and music,” said Insomniac founder and CEO Pasquale Rotella, upon last week’s announcement.
Liverpool-born Moore was chief executive of Liverpool Football Club from 2017-20 and was previously CEO of video game company Electronic Arts. He has also held senior roles at Reebok, Sega and Microsoft.
“Sport figured out 30-odd years ago that you don’t need to come to the stadium to be able to experience the event itself, and I think music is ripe for that coming out of the pandemic,” Moore tells IQ. “We’ve been working nine months on a virtualisation experience primarily in the festival world. It’s going to take a while to get it right. It’s going to take a while to scale it. But I think we’re going to change that mentality.
“I was president of Sega when they launched the Dreamcast [console] and everybody was going, ‘How are you going to make money out of online gaming?’ And here we are 20-odd years later and online gaming is a $150 billion business. Now look, it’s taken 20 years to get there, and hopefully it doesn’t take 20 years for music, but that’s exactly the journey I think music is on right now.”
Now Unity’s SVP for sports & live entertainment, Moore was central to the return of concerts to Liverpool’s Anfield stadium. The ground welcomed Bon Jovi, Take That and Pink in 2019 and will host 50,000-cap shows by the Rolling Stones, Elton John and the Eagles in 2022.
“If there is a silver lining out of this tragic pandemic, it is that it has accelerated are thinking and acceptance of the digital world”
“In my last year at Liverpool, I got very involved in the music industry and again saw the opportunity at Anfield, so we blew out our stadium exits at outfield to accommodate the concerts,” he says. “I got an insight of the complexity of a physical concert and Pink’s concert, in particular, is a wonderful experience, but it’s so labour-intensive and cost-intensive. We had to shut down our stadium for four days to build it out and then another two days to break down. It’s like, is there a better way of doing it? Or is there a way of having millions of people enjoy that in real time? And that’s what we’re working on.”
Moore cites research by management consulting firm McKinsey & Company that the speed of society’s adoption of technology has multiplied by seven due to Covid-19.
“If there is a silver lining out of this tragic pandemic, it’s that it has accelerated our thinking and acceptance of the digital world,” says Moore. “You’ve got to embrace change. You’ve got to take a look at your customer and figure out what they want and you’ve got to be willing to break away and disrupt your existing business models.
“The legacy of what music is – the back catalogues, the libraries – can all be brought to life in new and innovative ways. It’s in a phenomenal place – as long as it recognises this is an opportunity to yet again reinvent the way that we, as fans, consume that product.”
The California-based exec, who gave a keynote on Next Gen Tech & The Live Entertainment Revolution at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas last weekend, is neighbours with American Idol creator and Spice Girls manager Simon Fuller of XIX Entertainment.
“I’ve always been a huge fan of everything that he’s done to change the music industry,” adds Moore. “And my sampling of my pretty powerful next-door neighbour, is that the music industry is self aware and understands it has to evolve the same as everything else.”
Insomniac brought EDC to the metaverse last October, becoming the first-ever music festival hosted in Roblox. Taking place in a virtual space dubbed the Insomniac World Party, it was held concurrently with the physical festival in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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