Be Anyone But Yourself: The Real Strategy Behind Virtual Artists
Many people enjoy making music but aren’t as comfortable with the public eye and fame that often comes with being a successful artist. Fortunately, that’s not the only feasible model of creation.
With the advent of the Metaverse, we see increasingly more virtual and anonymous artists who build their artistic presence exclusively through their online identities. This opens the door for new avenues of creation for emerging artists and questions whether musicians truly need to sacrifice their anonymity to be successful.
Below, we’ll share why you might consider becoming an anonymous or virtual artist and share some Metaverse musicians you’ll want to keep your eye on.
What Is A Virtual Artist?
When it comes to virtual artists, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Since this category of artists is just beginning to reach mainstream awareness, the term “virtual artist” isn’t clearly defined.
Generally speaking, virtual artists refer to any online character produced using digital elements meant to take on a musical identity entirely independent of their creators. Within virtual artists, there’s a lot of variation: CGI generated Miquela is entirely different from Vocaloid (programmable software used to model a human singing voice) and performing holograph Hatsunke Miku:
One of the earliest examples of a virtual artist could be seen with Alvin and The Chimpmunks. It’s clear that the singing chipmunks had human voices behind them, but the chipmunk avatars took on a life of their own.
It’s also worth looking at anonymous artists or musicians who opt to have alter egos or masked identities separate from their typical selves. Some prime examples include Deadmau5 or Daft Punk. Virtual and anonymous artist models continue to thrive and cross over, with Web3 only presenting more opportunities.
Benefits of Being An Anonymous or Virtual Artist
So, why would you want to be an anonymous or virtual artist? There are several benefits to take into consideration:
Endless Experimentation: Virtual artist projects aren’t just for emerging creators seeking anonymity. Existing artists can create virtual artist brands to experiment with new styles and aesthetics without being tied to the confines of an established artist brand or label direction.
Ease of Recreation: Virtual asset creation still takes a lot of work, but it might be preferable to the strain from being in front of the camera. Metaverse musicians can engage more freely with surreal imagery, considering that they already have a degree of separation from reality. Having a virtual figurehead can reduce fatigue for full-time creators.
The Allure of The Unknown: Avatar creators can drum up support quickly simply due to their novelty. The allure of anonymity can create intrigue and excitement from audiences that may be difficult to win over otherwise.
Privacy: Fans can feel connected to a virtual identity without artists having to give up their privacy. This new music model opens the door for musicians who desire a quieter existence.
New Music Markets: Branded virtual bands, like League of Legends’ Pentakill, prove that virtual music can exist as a subculture under larger brands. This widens the music market and provides more monetization for musicians.
7 Virtual Artists You Should Know
It can be tricky to wrap your head around virtual artists if you haven’t been acquainted with strong examples. Here are some of the biggest virtual artists you should know about:
FN Meka is the self-proclaimed “robo rapper” with over 10 million followers on TikTok alone. He’s known for his confident attitude and Hypebeast aesthetic. While the rapper has only dropped two songs, he’s gone on to drop designer NFT sneakers for fans and collectors to enjoy in the Metaverse.
Grimes has created an AI girl group consisting of 5 avatars all adhering to the slogan, “made not born." The group is still in its early beta stages, but according to the press release, the project aims for “decentralized popstardom”, adding that “NPC will eventually be playable, customizable, and able to cater to each individual listener’s unique desires.”
The group has currently released one single with Chris Lake:
Thalasya is dubbed as “Signapore’s first AI singer.” The self-proclaimed “it girl” enjoys time traveling from Bali beaches to Florida recording studios. Her official music videos have racked up thousands of views, and she doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon:
This virtual electropop band has already gone viral on TikTok and racked up millions of monthly listeners. The Finnish-Danish-British producers are embodied in three animated frontmen and women. Notably, this independent group has grabbed number one airplay in the Netherlands and ranked on the US and Canadian iTunes charts.
Apoki is a singer, dancer, and Korean virtual influencer with a unique rabbit aesthetic. The virtual artist is able to efficiently release her music in multiple languages, making it easy for her to build dedicated fanbases all over the world:
LV4 is the cyborg hip hop producer known for his quirky personality and creative enthusiasm. You can duet this virtual artist and his DJ mantis on TikTok as one of his 140,000 followers.
K/DA is the musical girl group formed of League of Legends characters through Riot Games Music. The group has millions of monthly listeners and co-releases from mainstay artists like Madison Beer and Bea Miller. With customized playlists tied to each character and avatar, this game continues to build a bridge between gaming and music culture.
Music and the Metaverse are becoming increasingly intertwined. Whether it's digital fan clubs or virtual artists, Web3 is poised to make fan communities more accessible and monetizable for emerging creators.
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