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Roblox poaches executives from Spotify and Meta

Roblox has announced a wave of new hires, including former executives from Spotify and Meta, in a bid to “push the boundaries of creativity.”

Among the new hires is Karibi Dagogo-Jack, Spotify’s former head of music development. He joins the gaming platform as head of music partnerships, essentially taking over from Jon Vlassopulos who left in April.

Also new to the team is Todd Lichten, in the new role of head of entertainment partnerships. He joined the gaming platform last month after leaving his role as head of emerging content at Meta. Prior to that, he spent over three years at Facebook.

The two appointments are part of a revamped partnerships team, made up of Winnie Burke as head of fashion & beauty partnerships, Hayden Walling as head of sports partnerships, and Arvind Jayaram as head of account management, partnerships.

These new hires come as Roblox continues to expand its ambitions, with collaborations with artists, brands and platforms like Spotify.

“Our partnership work continues to accelerate as they experiment with new formats and discover new revenue streams”

“We’ve seen a lot of success with top brands coming onto the Roblox platform, and our partnership work continues to accelerate as they experiment with new formats, launch persistent social spaces, discover new revenue streams, and push the boundaries of creativity,” says Roblox’s VP of global partnerships, Christina Wootton.

“The growth in the number of persistent experiences especially signifies long-term commitment and showcases that brands view our platform as the next-generation immersive social place for ongoing community engagement vs. a place for one-time activations.”

In recent months, Roblox has launched a Spotify Island featuring virtual performances from the likes of Charli XCX, Lizzo and Gayle.

Artists including Lil Nas X, Twenty One Pilots, 24kGoldn, Royal Blood, David Guetta and Ava Max have delivered virtual performances on the platform.

 


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Roblox announces first music awards show ft Lizzo

Roblox will be hosting the first music awards show in the metaverse, featuring Lizzo’s debut performance on the platform.

The platform will bring into the metaverse Logitech’s second annual Song Breaker Awards, which honours “creators shaping pop music through dance challenges, memes and trends they have created and shared on social media, especially on TikTok and YouTube, over the past year”.

Hosted by popular YouTuber and influencer Bretman Rock, the show will see multi-Grammy Award-winning artist Lizzo make her metaverse debut with a performance of her new track ‘Special’.

“We’re always looking for new ways to bring unique, immersive experiences to our community,” says Jon Vlassopulos, Roblox VP and global head of music.

“Logitech hosting the first-ever music award show on Roblox is exciting as we continue to push the limits of creativity on our platform and celebrate creators worldwide.”

“We’re always looking for new ways to bring unique, immersive experiences to our community”

Other creators coming together for this year’s celebrations include the Peachy Princess of Roblox MeganPlays, Twitch streamer Shroud and musician and activist Jaden Smith. There will also be a music performance by singer-songwriter Gayle, best known for her Billboard number-one hit ‘abcde-forget-u’.

In the pre-show experience on Roblox, fans can ride a rollercoaster, collect Creator Coins, earn badges through gameplay to unlock special items, take a selfie XL photo with friends and buy exclusive merchandise – proceeds from which will go to MusiCares.

Honourees for the awards appeared on the Billboard Song Breaker Chart, a monthly music industry chart co-created with Logitech For Creators. See the full list here.

The Song Breaker Awards will premiere on Roblox on Saturday 30 April at 10:00 PST with three additional performances throughout the weekend. The pre-show experience opens today (26 April).

Roblox’s Jon Vlassopulos will be appearing in The Metaverse & Live Music session tomorrow at ILMC.


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Roblox secures 24kGoldn for next virtual concert

Roblox and Sony have announced a virtual concert experience starring Billboard chart-topping recording artist, 24kGoldn.

The 24kGoldn El Dorado Concert Experience will feature the rapper’s debut performance of new single In My Head, as well as metaverse-spanning pre-concert quests and exclusive verch (virtual merchandise).

The American rapper and singer follows in the footsteps of artists such as Lil Nas X, Twenty One Pilots, Royal Blood, David Guetta and Ava Max

“I grew up on Roblox and have been a big fan my whole life,” says 24kGoldn. “It’s been amazing to be a part of the full experience to make this virtual concert come to life. From coming up with the storyline and transforming my hometown to designing verch, I wanted to give my fans a one-of-a-kind experience.”

Jon Vlassopulos, VP, global head of music, Roblox, adds: “It was so exciting to see how passionate Golden was to extend his creative vision to Roblox where he also grew up playing.

“Roblox is changing the game for artists, freeing them to express themselves in a way they can’t do on any other platform and allowing them to connect with millions of fans who would never be able to get to see them play in the real world!”

“[Roblox allows artists] to connect with millions of fans who would never be able to get to see them play in the real world”

The 24kGoldn El Dorado Concert Experience will also feature a full storyline pitting 24kGoldn against an evil version of himself in a battle to save the city of ‘San Dorado’ which is inspired by a mashup of 24kGoldn’s hometown San Francisco and El Dorado, the city of gold.

During the concert, 24kGoldn will take fans through the overgrown city, perform at reimagined iconic locations, and give each song a unique, creative backdrop.

Pre-concert quests that include 24kGoldn-related themed challenges are available starting today. Fans can access the quests via portals to popular Roblox experiences where they can collect badges redeemable for prizes in the 24kGoldn El Dorado Concert Experience and acquire 24kGoldn’s unique verch items. Each day, two more portals will open.

Fans who collect all badges and attend the concert experience will get to unlock a special limited-edition emote after the premiere performance.

The virtual concert will kick off at 16:00 PDT on Friday (25 April) with additional performances re-airing every hour after over the weekend with the last show airing at 23:00 PT on Sunday (27 March).

Roblox’s VP, global head of music, Jon Vlassopulos, is due to appear at this year’s International Live Music Conference (ILMC) as part of The Metaverse & live music workshop.

 


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Foo Fighters, PinkPantheress to join the metaverse

Foo Fighters and PinkPantheress are the latest big name artists to announce virtual concerts in the metaverse.

The Foos will perform a free VR concert in partnership with Meta (Facebook/Instagram) via the Horizon Venues virtual space after the conclusion of the Super Bowl in the US this Sunday (13 February).

Directed by music video director Mark Romanek, the gig was shot specifically for VR, with multiple 180° cameras positioned around the stage and “XR elements blended into the concert scene”.

Additionally, the BRIT Awards has teamed with Roblox on a “virtual VIP Party”, which will feature an exclusive virtual performance from rising UK star PinkPantheress. Premiering in Roblox this Friday (11 February) at 6pm CET, and repeating hourly throughout the weekend, the show will feature PinkPantheress in avatar form in a neon lit underground London Virtual venue.

Created in collaboration with leading metaverse developer studio Dubit, the “concert experience” will take place in an immersive virtual world inspired by London, featuring neon-lit skyscrapers and landmarks such as the London Eye.

“Through our pioneering virtual concerts, we want to shine a spotlight on artists of all sizes”

“When planning the BRITs 2022 digital campaign we knew we wanted to enter the metaverse with Roblox,” says Luke Ferrar, innovation director, Polydor Records and co-chair of the BRITs digital committee. “What Dubit has built within the Roblox platform is an immersive BRITs experience. It has far surpassed our expectations with wonderful detail and flourishes in the world. It’s fantastic to have PinkPantheress, who reaches a huge Gen Z audience, perform in it.”

Ahead of PinkPantheress’ performance, fans can take part in scavenger hunts, collect hidden BRIT Award statuettes, browse exclusive virtual BRITs merchandise, and interact with artists and celebrities in virtual meet and greets.

“Through our pioneering virtual concerts, we want to shine a spotlight on artists of all sizes — from established stadium acts to up-and-coming viral stars — and connect them to millions of new and existing fans across the globe on Roblox,” adds Jon Vlassopulos, VP and global head of music at Roblox. “We’re thrilled to have PinkPantheress — one of the most exciting, innovative and groundbreaking young UK artists on the scene — perform in Roblox in celebration of the revered, iconic British institution that is the BRIT Awards.”

 


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Roblox secures David Guetta for first concert of 2022

Roblox is kicking off 2022 with the first DJ set performed by an avatar of international star David Guetta.

Created in partnership with Roblox developer Wonder Works Studio and Warner Music Group (WMG), the DJ set will premiere on 4 February at 16:00 PT and continue throughout the weekend.

Guetta will perform as his avatar self in an intergalactic themed set, where attendees can navigate the show through an “asteroid-traversing obstacle course”.

According to Roblox, the virtual universe will be decked out with crystals, neon lights, lasers, holograms, and thumping speakers.

Fans will be able to interact through DJ and dance battles, a secret puzzle used to unlock special abilities and archives, virtual merchandise for purchase and as prizes, Q&As with Guetta, and a 45-minute set for the Roblox community.

“We’ve built something that will play host to one of the most unique shows I’ve ever done”

Roblox VP and global head of music Jon Vlassopulos, says: “We’re thrilled to work with our friends at Warner to host another major virtual concert with one of the biggest stars to ever perform on Roblox.

“David has been engaging and inspiring music fans all over the world for over 20 years with his unique DJ performances, and now he can play, as his avatar, to millions of fans in one weekend in this fun, interactive, intergalactic DJ Party world on Roblox. It’s going to expose a new generation of fans to dance music and take clubbing to a whole new level!”

Guetta added: “Working on this concert has allowed me to bring an amazing new creation to life with design and production to suit the virtual world. We’ve built something that will play host to one of the most unique shows I’ve ever done and I can’t wait for everyone to experience it with me.”

WMG have previously brought stars including Twenty One Pilots, Royal Blood, Ava Max and Why Don’t We to perform in the Roblox metaverse.

The label has been making moves elsewhere in the metaverse too, penning a deal with gaming metaverse The Sandbox to create its first music-themed world.

 


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Modern Sky plans virtual version of China’s biggest festival

Chinese powerhouse Modern Sky Entertainment is planning to launch a virtual edition of its Strawberry Music Festival.

Launched in 2010, the annual event takes place across cities in China each spring. The Beijing edition is the largest music festival in the country.

The digital version of the festival will feature digital versions of real-life artists, as well as wholly virtual artists from Modern Sky’s new virtual artist label No Problem.

Virtual idols have been thriving in China over the years, with its market value reaching 3.46 billion yuan (US$540 million) in 2020, up 70.3% from the previous year, according to the consultancy group iiMedia. The metaverse hype was expected to push its market value to nearly 107.49 bn yuan ($16.8 bn) in 2021.

Modern Sky revealed that developing virtual artists will be a key part of its strategy for 2022 along with organising virtual music festivals and selling original digital works in the form of NFTs (non-fungible tokens).

Thc company, launched in 1997, already comprises a number of sub-labels, covering music publishing, artist management, live music, visual and product design, retail and performance venues, recording and production, media, design hotels and other sectors.

Tencent Music last month launched TMELAND – dubbed ‘China’s first interactive virtual music festival’

Modern Sky isn’t the only Chinese entertainment conglomerate making moves in the music metaverse. Tencent Music last month launched TMELAND – dubbed ‘China’s first interactive virtual music festival’.

The Chinese tech giant is also planning to acquire gaming smartphone manufacturer Black Shark in a move that could help the company build its own metaverse.

The company already owns a stake in video game company Epic Games – the maker of Fortnite which has hosted virtual concerts from the likes of  Travis ScottAriana GrandeMarshmello, Steve Aoki, Deadmau5, Easy Life and J. Balvin.

The company also entered into a strategic partnership with Roblox, in May 2019, in which Tencent holds a 49% stake. Last year, Tencent filed for two Metaverse-related trademarks.

Modern Sky and Tencent follow in the footsteps of Decentraland and Roblox which have helped pave the way for festivals in the metaverse.

Virtual blockchain-based world Decentraland hosted the ‘world’s first multi-day festival in the metaverse’ last October.

In that same month, Roblox and event promoter Insomniac, meanwhile, brought one of the largest electronic music festivals in the world – Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) – to the metaverse.

 


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Roblox reveals most popular concert of 2021

Twenty One Pilots delivered the most popular music concert experience on Roblox in 2021, according to a new report.

The experience, which took place last September in collaboration with Warner Music Group, included a five-song set from the Grammy-award winning duo with the first-ever fan-dictated setlist.

Pre-concert quests, exclusive custom-designed virtual merchandise, behind-the-scenes footage and a Q&A were also included in the experience.

Fans in over 160 countries joined the virtual event, with nearly 70% of attendees joining from outside of the US – the game’s most engaged market.

Twenty One Pilots’ offering also earned second place on the top 5 events (both music and otherwise) that engaged over 30% of visitors in the 17+ age group, according to Roblox’s end-of-year report.

The only other music-related event in the top 5 was KSI’s launch party which saw the YouTuber and rapper perform songs from his chart-topping debut album ‘All Over The Place’.

Roblox’s daily active users increasing from 32.6 million in 2020 to nearly 50 million across 180 countries in 2021

Roblox’s report also showed stratospheric growth for the platform, with daily active users increasing from 32.6 million in 2020 to nearly 50 million across 180 countries in 2021.

The median daily active user visited 55 unique experiences over the course of 2021, the report reveals, and the fastest-growing demographic is 17-to-24-year-olds.

Roblox describes itself as “an online community where people come together to play, create and explore millions of 3D virtual worlds together”.

The platform’s first foray into in-game concerts was a virtual concert with Lil Nas X in November 2020 which garnered 35 million visits.

In January 2021, Roblox’s global head of music told IQ that one of the platform’s missions was to “double down on what we were already doing and grow our music offering significantly so music becomes an organic part of our users’ daily experience on Roblox”.

Other notable music experiences that took place on Robox last year include Royal Blood’s virtual concert and a concurrent virtual edition of EDC (Electronic Daisy Carnival).

 


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Poppy launches own interactive metaverse app

Grammy Award-nominee Poppy has launched a brand new Metaverse app for iOS and Android called ‘PoppySphere’.

Developed in partnership with artist development company Hifi Labs, PoppySphere is “a virtual 8-bit universe for fans to explore, with dynamic rooms and secrets to uncover as they navigate a realm of iconoclastic creation”.

Users around the world can customise their own avatar and text chat while playing games and uncovering “hidden secrets”. Fans of the US artist can also submit ideas for music, games, wall art and room designs that, if chosen, can earn them exclusive gifts.

“We’re really interested in the true direct-to-fan connection,” says Hifi Labs CEO, Joe Barham.

“We’re really interested in the true direct-to-fan connection”

“We love working with artists who view the cutting edge as an opportunity and our focus is on helping artists build their own platforms to create the best possible relationship with fans.”

“I am overjoyed to be launching my very own Metaverse,” Poppy said in a statement. “A fully customisable virtual space to hang out and talk with the PoppySphere one on one.”

She added: “The possibilities are endless so, make yourself at home.”

In September, Poppy launched Roblox’s new ‘Listening Parties’ feature, making her new album ‘Flux’ available through “all of the [Roblox] experiences” and participating in a Q&A on the platform.

 


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Pokémon GO announces Ed Sheeran concert

Pokémon Go has announced an exclusive performance from Ed Sheeran, slated to appear in the AR mobile game next week.

Sheeran’s pre-recorded set, which includes hits such as ‘Bad Habits’ and ‘Thinking Out Loud’, will be available in the News section of the app from 22–30 November.

The singer’s favourite Pokémon, Squirtle, will also appear in the game, along with branded ‘=’ sweatshirts that players can dress their avatar in.

In-game events have proved to be big business for Niantic, with this year’s Go Fest event reportedly bringing in $21m

In-game events have proved to be big business for Pokémon Go developer Niantic, with this year’s Go Fest event reportedly bringing in around $21 million in revenue over the course of two days, according to analytics firm Sensor Tower.

With the Ed Sheeran event, Niantic appears to be moving in the same direction as Fortnite and Roblox, which have been leading the way for in-game music events.

Pokémon’s previous in-game music events include a virtual concert headlined by Post Malone, which was part of the franchise’s 25th-anniversary celebrations.

 


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Justin Bieber partners with Wave on virtual experience

Global superstar Justin Bieber is partnering with virtual concert company Wave for an ‘interactive virtual experience’ in the metaverse.

Wave’s technology will allow Bieber to transform into a digital avatar (pictured) and perform songs from his chart-topping album Justice for the first time in the metaverse.

According to a statement, the show will give fans a “futuristic look into the metaverse, merging gaming, real-time motion-capture, and live musical performance into an immersive interactive experience”.

Fans will also have a chance to appear live on stage alongside Bieber during dedicated fan moments, and influence his performance and environments in real-time.

“Justin is paving the way for artists to incorporate a virtual ‘tour stop’ to reach audiences who can’t attend in-person”

“Justin Bieber is not only one of the world’s biggest artists, he is also one of the most forward-thinking. This partnership allows for limitless, virtual opportunities for him and his fans,” says Adam Arrigo, CEO of Wave.

“By combining Wave’s technology with Justin’s creativity, we’ve created a unique, interactive experience that complements his upcoming physical tour. Justin is paving the way for artists to incorporate a virtual concert ‘tour stop’ to reach new audiences who can’t attend in-person or want a different kind of live music experience.”

Wave has hosted virtual experiences for blockbuster artists such as The Weeknd, John Legend, Dillon Francis, Tinashe and more.

Fans can sign up on wave.watch to experience the ‘Justin Bieber – An Interactive Virtual Experience’ for free on 18 November at 18:00 PT/21:00 ET. Rebroadcasts will follow on 20 and 21 November for audiences worldwide.

In other metaverse-related news, Roblox has today announced the first virtual concert fully designed by community developers.

Burgeoning US star Tai Verdes will appear in avatar form to perform in a virtual venue designed by Roblox studio, Melon – a mainstay developer on the platform responsible for previous launch parties for the likes of Ava Max, Why Don’t We, Zara Larsson, and KSI.

Unlike previous Roblox launch party venues where artists appeared on a video screen, Verdes will appear in his avatar form and perform from his Venice Beach-inspired boardwalk on Roblox.

The exclusive space, which is open today, features the “latest technological advancements available to developers” and will showcase a live Q&A with Verdes after the first concert performance on Saturday morning.

“Roblox has always been about empowering our developer community to build next-generation experiences”

“Tai Verdes is at the top of his game right now and we are thrilled he’s performing his new single on Roblox,” says Jon Vlassopulos, Vice President and Global Head of Music for Roblox.

“Roblox has always been about empowering our developer community to build next-generation experiences on the platform for the global community to enjoy.”

Roblox has previously hosted virtual events for Lil Nas X, Royal Blood, Twenty One Pilots, KSI and Electric Daisy Carnival.

​​The Tai Verdes Concert Experience is set to premiere this Saturday (13 November) at 11:00 PT exclusively on the Roblox platform and the show will repeat each hour through Sunday 14 November at 23:00 PT.

 


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