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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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Virtual concerts startup Stage11 attracts superstars

Immersive music experience startup Stage11 has announced partnerships with world-famous artists Martin Garrix, David Guetta, Snoop Dogg, Ne-Yo and Akon.

The news follows a €5 million seed round led by Otium Capital, a European venture capital fund backed by Stage11 founder and CEO, Jonathan Belolo.

Belolo is the co-owner of French record label Scorpio Music, which has a 45-year history in the music industry.

Belolo is joined by co-founders Jean-Philippe Braud and Gregory Dhonner, the co-founder and director of business development for Profirst, a luxury event agency for brands in fashion, beauty, and art (Armani, Chanel, Kering, L’Oréal, LVMH).

Also joining as co-founder is Mani Nordine, the president of American Artists Company, specialising in managing A-list artists and celebrities bookings (Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Nas & Lady Gaga).

Stage11 is using the funds to onboard strategic hires, sign key artist and brand partnerships and build its technology platform

Stage11 says it will use the funds to onboard strategic hires, sign key artist and brand partnerships and build its technology platform.

Amongst those new hires are executives who have previously worked for the likes of Assassin’s Creed, Facebook Oculus, Ferrari, Happy Feet, LVMH, Marvel Avengers, Microsoft Kinect, Nike, and Virgin.

Founded in 2020, with offices in both Paris and LA, Stage11 aims to tap into several of today’s fastest-growing markets including gaming, AR/VR, virtual events, and digital goods.

The company claims that it’s “setting out to redefine the interactive music experience” by combining gaming, mixed reality, and digital collectables.

It will achieve this by “building a new creative canvas for artists, allowing them to invite fans to live, play, and create inside their performances and musical worlds”.

We are combining genres, realities and cultures to build something bold, thrilling and timeless

“These worlds combine immersive gameplay sequences, life-like performances, cinematic narratives and exclusive digital collectables,” according to Stage11.

“Fans can not only discover and collect but actually use these interactive NFTs to create and share unique personalised content and even perform with their favourite artists.”

Stage11 can be accessed on desktop and mobile and the company’s first music experience is set to debut in 2022.

“As a gamer and sci-fi nerd, It feels like I’ve been dreaming about the metaverse my entire life,” says Belolo.

“Now that as a society we’re on the cusp of making it real, I find myself blessed to be part of an incredible team setting out to explore the new frontier. Building immersive music events and experiences is just the first step.

“We are on a journey together to reimagine the way artists and brands connect, even co-create, with their fans and audiences. We are combining genres, realities and cultures to build something bold, thrilling and timeless — yet accessible and fun.”

 


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Fortnite plans virtual concerts for new Soundwave Series

Epic Games has announced the next set of immersive virtual performances coming to Fortnite, under the banner ‘Soundwave Series’.

The series will kick off on 1 October with Egyptian musician Mohamed Hamaki, who has previously been featured on Fortnite Radio.

Hamaki’s show will repeat non-stop for 48 hours so that so it can be accessed at any time over the period. The experience will feature the first performance of his new song ‘Leilt Elomr‘ (‘the night of the order’) and a special emote created just for the first show of the Soundwave Series.

Other acts slated to perform during the Soundwave Series include Australian singer-songwriter Tones And I, Brazilian rapper Emicida, Japanese pop artist and music producer Gen Hoshino, and French-Malian singer Aya Nakamura.

“The Soundwave Series will introduce incredible crossover artists from around the world to millions of new fans”

“Music transcends any language, and has been a beloved part of Fortnite’s journey since our first in-game concert in 2019,” says Nate Nanzer, VP of global partnerships at Epic Games.

“The Soundwave Series continues that legacy and will introduce incredible crossover artists from around the world to millions of new fans inside Fortnite Creative, where there are virtually no limits on what can be designed by our community.”

The Soundwave Series builds on the success of Fortnite‘s recent Rift Tour with Ariana Grande, as well as Travis Scott’s record-breaking Astronomical concerts.

MarshmelloTravis Scott, Steve Aoki, Deadmau5, Easy Life and J. Balvin have also delivered virtual concerts in Fortnite.

 


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Muse go virtual reality in 3D immersive concert

From today, Muse fan will be able to immerse themselves in a mixed-reality performance combining concert footage and virtual world socialising, thanks to virtual entertainment app Stageverse.

Muse’s Simulation Theory: Virtual Experience was filmed in 6K at the group’s sold-out July 2019 show at Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano Stadium (67,829-cap.) and offers 360-degree 3D views and 16 viewpoints to choose from.

The full two-hour show is available for free for an unspecified limited period via the mobile app (available on IOS and Android) and in Virtual Reality via the Oculus Quest App Lab. Fans can dress their avatar selves in outfits from Muse – including frontman Matt Bellamy’s jacket – and fashion house Balmain Paris.

Stageverse is a “social metaverse” platform combining 3D virtual venues, interactive experiences, and the ability for fans to communicate with each other. The app was created by Stage Inc, the entertainment technology company founded in 2017 by Tim Ricker and Claire Seidler. Forthcoming events include an interactive exhibition with visual artist Shantell Martin, and an exhibition called Neon Dreams.

In a statement, Bellamy said: “The music of Simulation Theory was conceived as a 50/50 blend of analogue and electronic instruments, so our goal has always been to create experiences that redefine the human role in programming and technology. We can’t wait for our fans to be able to truly immerse themselves in our Simulation Theory world and take full advantage of everything that the Stageverse experience will offer.”

“Virtual spaces are more relevant to our daily life than ever as we all search for new ways to share experiences and connect with each other in real-time that goes beyond the chat window.” Stageverse CEO Tim Ricker

Ricker said: “Virtual spaces are more relevant to our daily life than ever as we all search for new ways to share experiences and connect with each other in real-time that goes beyond the chat window. We’re proud to introduce the next chapter of virtual entertainment with Stageverse, which allows you to participate outside of physical limitations and engage with contemporary creators in innovative, unexpected ways through the ubiquitous access of mobile phones and the next generation of devices.

“The growth of future-culture will be defined by how elements of the familiar, like going to a concert or brick-and-mortar shopping, are seamlessly integrated into wholly new experiences, which we’re excited to introduce at Muse’s Virtual Experience.”

 


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Roblox plans Twenty One Pilots concert experience

Roblox and Warner Music Group (WMG) have announced a virtual concert experience with Grammy-award winning duo Twenty One Pilots.

The Twenty One Pilots concert experience will feature the first-ever dynamic setlist dictated by fans in real-time, alongside pre-concert quests, exclusive custom-designed virtual merchandise, behind-the-scenes footage, and a Q&A with the duo.

The five-song set will feature a combination of hit songs as well as new material from Twenty One Pilots’ 2021 album, ‘Scaled and Icy’.

The band follows in the footsteps of Royal Blood and Lil Nas X, each of which have delivered virtual concert experiences in Roblox – which has more than 150 million monthly users worldwide.

“We are taking virtual concerts to the next level with our Twenty One Pilots virtual concert experience”

Jon Vlassopulos, global Head of Music, Roblox, says: “We are taking virtual concerts to the next level with our Twenty One Pilots virtual concert experience. We wanted to make it truly interactive and participatory for the fans, for the band, and for our broader Roblox developer community.

“Fans will be able to decide the order of the songs that they hear by choosing with their friends. They will be able to interact with the environment in creative ways becoming part of the show, and Tyler and Josh will participate in a live chat with fans after the virtual concert.

“This is what Roblox is built for, bringing people together to interact in new and exciting ways and we are just scratching the surface of what’s possible.”

The Twenty One Pilots concert experience kicks off in Roblox on Friday 17 September at 16:00 PDT.  Fans can access the experience and join the pre-show festivities beginning today by visiting the Twenty One Pilots event page.

Fans can replay performances at the top of each hour through Sunday 19 September at 23:00 PDT.


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The O2 London recreated in Fortnite

The O2 is set to become the first real-world arena to get its own venue in Fortnite, with players now able to explore the iconic London venue ahead of an in-game performance by UK act Easy Life this Thursday.

Created in Fortnite Creative, the Minecraft-like sandbox game within Fortnite proper, the virtual O2 is a faithful recreation from the outside, while inside players can discover “exciting gameplay additions” including hidden rooms, backstage areas and a new take on the O2’s bar, the O2 Blueroom.

Island Records-signed Easy Life’s in-game performance will available to watch from this Thursday (24 June) at 20.30 BST until 23.59 BST on Sunday 27 June. The show will then be posted to Easy Life’s YouTube channel from Monday 28 June.

The O2 in Fortnite Creative

Described as an “interactive music experience” rather than a virtual concert, the show promises an ever-changing virtual world influenced by Easy Life’s music and lyrics. During the event, Fortnite players will be transported to six unique areas, each inspired by a different track from Life’s a Beach, the band’s debut album.

The Leicester five-piece are the first British band to play a show in Fortnite, the hugely popular multiplayer video game, following the likes of Marshmello, Travis Scott, Steve Aoki, Deadmau5 and J. Balvin.

Simon Valcarcel, head of brand and consumer marketing communications for O2, the O2’s naming sponsor, says: “We couldn’t be prouder to work alongside both Island Records and Epic Games to bring such an incredible experience to O2 customers and music fans all over the world via Fortnite Creative.

“We were thrilled when we were approached with the idea to bring the O2 to Fortnite”

“O2 has a rich heritage in music and we’re committed to providing music fans with unique experiences so it’s only fitting that we’re bringing the world’s most popular entertainment venue into the world’s biggest game. We know how much everyone – us included – has missed going to gigs so we’re excited to bring the UK’s hottest up-and-coming band to music fans globally through Fortnite Creative.”

Nate Nanzer, head of global partnerships for Fortnite developer Epic Games, adds: “We were thrilled when we were approached with the idea to bring the O2, one of the most iconic entertainment venues on the planet, to Fortnite Creative. We’re always looking for exciting and authentic experiences to bring to our players, and we can’t wait for them to get hands-on with this interactive musical journey.

“We’re excited to have the UK’s break-out band, Easy Life, perform in the game and we think our players are really going to love exploring all that the O2 has to offer in Fortnite Creative over the next week.”

 


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150,000 buy tickets for virtual Nightwish show

Finnish metal band Nightwish were joined by more than 150,000 fans from 108 countries for their recent virtual concert experience, An Evening With Nightwish in a Virtual World, which streamed on Friday 28 and Saturday 29 May.

Six months in the making, the show – a co-production of promoter Fullsteam Agency, VR studio Zoan and the band’s management company, Till Dawn They Count – follows Fullsteam and Zoan’s previous collaboration with the city of Helsinki, which attracted 1.4 million fans to a free virtual show by rap group JVG last May.

An Evening with Nightwish welcomed fans of Nightwish, Finland’s most successful musical export, to a 3D virtual world designed in partnership with the band, where they could watch the concert while also moving around and interacting with other concertgoers. Tickets for the show were priced between €25 and €109.

According to Fullsteam, that translates to ticket income in the seven figures (more than €1m), equivalent to a “large stadium-sized concert”.

“The key is to understand that we are not trying to replicate a live show here – it is a completely different thing”

“We all knew that there would be a lot of demand for this show, but honestly I was blown away by how great it turned out and how many tickets we sold,” says Fullsteam’s Rauha Kyyrö. “I think there is a huge potential for virtual shows that can be very unique experiences for fans.

“I think the key is to understand that we are not trying to replicate a live show here – it is a completely different thing and has to be designed to be enjoyed at home and on your portable devices. And I personally don’t think anything will ever replace the live experience anyway.”

A 30-person team – half of them Nightwish fans –  from technical producer Zoan was responsible for creating the virtual world, which included a virtual tavern, The Islanders’ Arms. Zoan used a combination of high-end technology, such as photorealistic scans, and the latest Unreal game engine to produce the experience.

“It feels amazing to have cracked the code on how to provide virtual live entertainment directly to the fans,” says Zoan CEO Miikka Rosendahl. “This is the beginning of an entire new segment in the music industry.”

 


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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Pokémon announces virtual show with Post Malone

Post Malone will headline a virtual concert celebrating 25 years of Pokémon on ‘Pokémon Day’, 27 February.

The show will be free to view on the Pokémon YouTube and Twitch channels, as well as Pokemon.com, from 19.00 EST on 27 February (midnight 28 February GMT). The first Pokémon video game was published by Nintendo in February 1996.

The Post Malone show is part of P25 Music, a joint venture with Universal Music Group (UMG) that will see UMG artists, including Katy Perry, participating in a ‘global music experience’ celebrating the brand’s anniversary.

“The opportunity to headline the Pokémon Day concert celebrating 25 years is awesome”

“I’ve been a Pokémon fan for a long time, so the opportunity to headline the Pokémon Day concert celebrating 25 years is awesome,” says Post Malone.

In the lead-up to the concert, the Pokémon Company will spread the word through a series of events on Pokémon Go, Pokémon Sword and Shield (where players can collect a special Pikachu) and Pokémon TV.

Post Malone’s Beerbongs & Bentleys was one of the hottest tours of 2019. A follow-up trek, 2019–21’s Runaway tour was interrupted by the coronavirus outbreak.

 


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LWE partners with Sansar for Tobacco Dock Virtual

London-based electronic music promoter LWE has launched Tobacco Dock Virtual, a virtual-world recreation of the Wapping venue of the same name.

Created by Sansar, the virtual live events platform behind other digital venues including Lost Horizon and Melatopia festival, Tobacco Dock Virtual replicates the 16,000m² Tobacco Dock in “minute detail, from the sweeping staircases to the cavernous dancefloors”, says LWE, which will organise shows, parties and interactive experiences in the new venue.

LWE has previous organised virtual concert experiences, taking its Junction 2 festival online first as J2v last summer and then as Junction 2: Connections earlier this month. The latter event integrated with popular racing game Asphalt, with Asphalt players able to stream DJ sets from within the game, and attracted an audience of 3.1 million people globally.

The long-term plan for Tobacco Dock Virtual (TDv) is hybrid, the promoter says, with a merging of “all three platforms: virtual, gaming and real” and shows taking place simultaneously virtually, physically and in mobile video games.

“TDv is our next step in the evolution of LWE and the development of our long-term event concepts, where we see virtual worlds sitting alongside the real world,” says LWE director Paul Jack. “Tobacco Dock has hosted some of our most exciting shows and led the way in the UK for vast daytime events.

“LWE is creating an entirely new event experience for fans”

“This next step on our journey will pave the way for hybrid events within a fully immersive digital and physical space, providing a huge new platform to showcase music.”

Sheri Bryant, president of Sansar, adds: “LWE is creating an entirely new event experience for fans with their series of epic 2021 shows in Sansar across multiple digital platforms and in real life simultaneously. They are leading the charge of innovation across the music industry. We couldn’t be more proud than to be their virtual event partner, providing them with the technology to do so.”

Details for the opening weekend at Tobacco Dock Virtual will be announced on Tuesday 9 February, promising “some of the planet’s biggest party brands and a programme of globally acclaimed artists and exciting new sounds” across mobile, PC, Mac and VR. In the meantime, fans are encouraged to create a TDv account at www.tobaccodockvirtual.com.

“Tobacco Dock is excited to be working alongside our long-term partner LWE to develop a cutting-edge virtual venue that will enable remote audiences to have a truly immersive, rich experience with the attributes of being present without the travel,” says Tobacco Dock commercial director Jonathan Read. “It is a bold new step on our journey to make Tobacco Dock a global destination for music, cultural, fashion and tech events.”

 


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