Colin Fitzpatrick is a Dubliner based in Dubai who turned a bad time during quarantine into a business that promises to bring your favorite artists to a metaverse near you. His company Animal Concerts, which launches in January, is in the process of signing world-class artists to perform in the decentralized worlds of the Metaverse.
Among the first to get the Animal Concerts treatment was Grammy-winning rapper Future, who performed at an in-person Animal Concerts-themed Halloween party in Miami, which was filmed in such a way that it can later be broadcast in the Metaverse. In this startling new land, there are no COVID restrictions nor travel bans, and artists can sell NFT memorabilia to fans with little overhead, investment or middlemen.
Virtual concerts have already begun to appear, most notably Ariana Grande’s October 2021 performance in Fortnite. Around 78 million Fortnite users attended Grande’s show, with some commentators speculating that she was set to earn over $20 million from the virtual gig.
Travis Scott pulled in $20 million for a Fortnite performance in 2020, and Ed Sheeran similarly took to the virtual stage of Pokemon Go in November 2021. When Swedish star Zara Larsson held a concert on Roblox, she earned seven figures for sales of “in-game items like hats, backpacks and sunglasses” which started at just $1.
When we speak, Fitzpatrick says that he is in the last stages of signing a concert with a top-100 Grammy-winning artist. This turns out to be Alicia Keys and Animal Concerts participated in an exclusive private event where Alicia announced her new album KEYS, with more details on the collaboration to come in quarter one.
In preparing for the concert, she would “go into a green screen studio where she does our performance, and we record it and then we can essentially turn her into an avatar where she is properly in one of the decentralized blockchain-run worlds,” he explains, regarding the process of concert digitalization.
Holding concerts in the Metaverse comes with a slew of advantages for artists, according to Fitzpatrick. Whereas streaming services like Spotify are reducing music revenues, Animal Concerts allows performers to earn 50% of the revenue from both ticket and NFT sales. With celebrities benefiting directly, they have a big incentive to entice their fans into the Metaverse, where many of them will encounter blockchain for the first time.
A former DJ who has been passionate about music from a young age, Fitzpatrick points to a cupboard behind him where he keeps a box with “ticket stubs and flyers from gigs that I went to when I was in my youth.” For him, they are priceless mementos of his formative experiences.
A changing industry
Just as the idea of a Metaverse powered by virtual reality (VR) was gaining steam along with the explosion of NFTs earlier this year, Fitzpatrick realized the two could be combined to offer solutions to a struggling music industry, which he says has seen declining revenues with countless concert tours canceled since the beginning of the pandemic.
The platform will soon allow people at home to stream VR-augmented concerts live and experience them as an interactive event rather than as one-sided TV broadcasts. NFTs can be given out as Metaverse-age equivalents of the ticket stubs in Fitzpatrick’s memory box.
“With 360-degree cameras on stage, you can use a VR headset to get an immersive experience — like you are dancing on stage with your favorite bands, from your living room anywhere in the world. We want to enable you to enjoy the concert with friends by seeing their avatars,” he explains. The goal is to become the “Netflix of live streaming concerts.”