Why Relics and Steve Aoki are building NFT jukeboxes for the Metaverse
Can’t go anywhere in the real world without taking your favorite tunes with you? You are not alone – and NFT startup Relicsxyz (aka Relics) is betting that there are enough people who will want to do the same in the metaverse.
Relics has teamed up with DJ and Web3 master Steve Aoki to launch Idol III, an all-digital, metaverse-ready music player that takes the form of an Ethereum NFT collectible.
Featuring a unique pre-loaded mix from Aoki’s Dim Mak label mixed and mastered by the man himself, Idol III is optimized for use within metaverse platforms. They are currently compatible with Decentraland, but further platform support is planned.
The release follows Relics’ Genesis Idol and Idol II, the latter of which was released in collaboration with video game concept artist Raf Grassetti (God of War). The Idol II coin is scheduled to begin on Wednesday.
Like previous releases, Idol III will be an open release exclusively for collectors of various other music NFTs. Holders of NFTs of musicians such as Avenged Sevenfold, Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda, Kings of Leon and Deadmau5 are eligible to participate, along with Kingship holders and more.
“We’ve been inspired by the jukebox culture, which created these social environments in diners in the 50s, but also how sound systems can be showcases in people’s homes,” said Relics General Manager Jordan Kallman Decrypt. “We wanted to make Idol beautiful, but also thought about how users are actually going to want to experience music in virtual worlds.”
The Idol III can be used to play any compatible music NFT from a user’s wallet, but the monolith can also be left behind to continue streaming songs and enabling the social experience.
“I think it’s one of the earliest attempts to create something natively designed for these virtual worlds that play music,” explains Kallman.
Idol III also offers a lot to artists, Kallman said. They were created in collaboration with independent electronic music company Monstercat, which helped shape the soundtracks for video games such as Rocket League and Beat Sabre.
A native metaverse music player will “open up new channels for artists to reach audiences,” says Kallman, who wants Relics to be the place for artists who want to safely begin exploring the metaverse. Beyond that, The Idol III will ensure that all compatible music NFTs are fully licensed for use in these virtual worlds.
“Creators and users need to ensure that all music played is completely removed to avoid lawsuits or cease and desist efforts,” says Kallman, wanting to get ahead of the problems that YouTube and Twitch users faced when they adopted the pick up.
Relics is also in the process of completing a software development kit that will allow metaverse builders to easily bring Idol III compatibility to their various worlds. The startup approached Aoki to design the Idol III because he is “an incredible artist and innovator,” says Kallman.
“He’s been such an incredible force in opening up this space to people who hadn’t heard of blockchain or NFTs before,” adds Kallman. “When we’re talking about a music player for music fans, I really can’t think of anyone else that has the same ethos of trying to bring everyone together.”
Aoki has been a prolific Web3 builder and NFT collector, behind such projects as the A0k1verse NFT members club and the Punx DJ duo with fellow Web3 fan Justin “3LAU” Blau. Aoki has released themed “Sky Pod” environments for his NFT holders on the Oncyber metaverse platform, and his comments suggest he had these locations in mind when designing this virtual jukebox.
“We wanted something that would fit comfortably in the Sky Pod space, but would also challenge expectations since we didn’t have the limitations of physics to hold us back,” Aoki says via a release. “We’re using the metaverse to help us achieve something we wouldn’t otherwise be able to do, and as always, we’re focusing on a community-first approach.”
Broader metaverse hype may have faded over the past year or so, but Kallman believes a music player designed for metaverse worlds is crucial to shaping where the technology goes next.
“It’s become really clear that our lives are becoming more and more virtual every day, and how we build culture in these areas is very important. I think music is always the first building block of culture,” he says. “The breakthrough moment for these virtual worlds is definitely coming, ” he adds, helped by what NFTs offer musicians and fans in terms of control.
“If you look at how vinyl sales have continued to grow, music ownership is something that fans are still really invested in. It’s only going to continue to grow with NFTs, which can not only provide unique fan experiences, but also offer a living wage to artists in all sizes,” says Kallman. “We have big plans and a big vision for where this is going, but we’re really just focused on providing music experiences for music fans and creators.”