Podcast: Zara Larsson and Roblox take music to the metaverse

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Musician Zara Larsson discussing the Metaverse at Web Summit

There are no limits to creativity in the metaverse, says Swedish popstar Zara Larsson.

Swedish popstar Zara Larsson has a loyal fanbase – one that’s been able to attend her concerts throughout the global pandemic, and even do meet and greets and take selfies with the singer. How is this possible? Through the metaverse, of course!

She was drawn to Roblox while looking for a substitute for real-world concerts: “[The pandemic] pushed me towards wanting to connect with people because my favourite thing about being an artist is being on stage. I wanted to have that same connection but to do it online.”

But this is not the only reason, she adds: “I really think that this way of connecting with people is the future of doing shows and meeting with fans”.

Silver capes and a pink lakehouse

Zara has her own custom world known as the Pink Lakehouse, hosted by online game platform Roblox. She not only performs and meets with fans but is also selling merchandise (including a version of her own avatar), earning US$1 million to date.

Unlike merchandise on sale in the real world, which she says usually consists of t-shirts and not much else, in Roblox fans can buy her signature silver cape, dance moves and, as Zara describes it, even her own ‘skin’!

Roblox, which has been around in some shape or form for the past 15 years, started focusing on the music industry in 2020.

“Last year, we started doing shows in the metaverse …we got together with Zara and her label, Epic,” explains Roblox’s global head of music Jon Vlassopulos, who says the opportunity for performers to do a show for millions of people in one weekend rather than go on a global tour for months on end, was very exciting.

A new social era for the music industry

“We feel we’re ushering in a new social era for the music industry as opposed to the more individual firehosing and consumptive era of streaming,” says Jon.

There’s no real limit to creativity within the metaverse, says Zara. While she has live streamed events on YouTube and other platforms, it was just like watching on a screen whereas in Roblox “you’re watching it together with friends”.

Afterwards, when Zara was walking around amongst fans, they (or their avatars to be precise) were asking to have their picture taken with her. “They get their avatar next to me and take a screenshot but it’s a picture.”

In the podcast, the Swedish singer and Jon Vlassopulos talk more about the future of music in the metaverse and how it has brought a sea change for the industry.

Subscribe to 🎙️The Next Stage🎙️ wherever you get your podcasts and download this episode, or listen here right now.

Main image: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Web Summit (CC BY 2.0)

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