Music is playing an important role in the metaverse, and no where is that more evident than in the virtual world of Second Life.
This past Saturday served as a shining example of that as experimental pianist Takayuki Naomi (aka Tia Rungray in Second Life) performed his unconventional scores before a live virtual audience.
The physics-defying concert took place between two massive cubes floating high above a virtual desert. It combined elements of classic concert halls with cutting-edge visuals and special effects that could only exist in the metaverse.
The stunning concert hall was created by Blue Tsuki, an artist who began making waves in Second Life 16 years ago. He enjoys both art installations and “architecture and the intersection with sculpture.”
He told me that he wanted to frame the surrounding desert landscape with his concert hall. So, he left just enough space between the two cubes to provide stunning views of the scenery and sunset.
Tia Rungray’s Performance
Tia introduced himself politely in both Japanese and English. He was adorned in fine (virtual) Japanese apparel. He then sat at a Monat Flugel piano. A shimmering platform spun slowly in midair underneath. Yet, the piano and performer remained stationary.
Tia began with his signature blend of piano “noise classical,” artfully composing the score as he performed (the heart of improvising compositions). There was a slight delay from a keyboard malfunction early in the performance, but he pressed on – and it did nothing to dissuade the audience.
Colorful circuitry lights adorning the walls above seemed to synchronize with the music’s flow as he simultaneously composed and performed. The chords came slowly at first, building anticipation as the synths gained momentum. The tune seems to introduce controlled chaos into a beautiful melody.
Participants continue to gather around the walkway and sit on suspended slabs. The synths are replaced by a piano solo about 13 minutes in. They slowly fade back with a more technical vibe. The mood has shifted a bit even as the piano melodies continue.
Participants occasionally applaud his work as his assistant periodically shares trivia. However, the audience is mostly quiet despite no rules governing behavior.
At the end of the hour-long performance, Tia thanked his audience kindly in both Japanese and English. He then stood at the edge of the venue with Blue Tsuki to speak with fans for a few moments.
The Important Role of Music in Second Life (and the Metaverse)
Musicians are increasingly finding opportunities in the metaverse after the mainstream turns them down. This has resulted in the metaverse equivalent of a cultural phenomenon.
Gaining an audience in Second Life is much easier than on virtually any other platform. Many musicians actually support themselves just by playing a few times a week there.
Personally, I believe this is another benefit of the decentralized nature at the heart of Web3, Web 3.0, and the metaverse. We can choose which artists we love and support rather than allowing big media companies to choose for us. We can also support them directly rather than going through a record label.