We are the (virtual) world: Music in Second Life
Second Life is a stage for many different pursuits. The ways in which the virtual world is used is as varied as the residents themselves, from education and social experiments to commerce and fundraising. But one of the first ways it was used was as a showcase of art and music talents.
Brad Reason, known as Doubledown Tandino in-world, created his Second Life account in March of 2006 and found the thriving music scene within his first month. "I saw the potential, and also saw an entirely new way to perform," he explains.
Now his time is split between performing, going to in-world gigs and helping anyone he can with music, audio, and events. His style is unique: "I do live electronica and blend that with sampling and turntablism. My sound is all over the map," he says.
There are ample musical genres in Second Life, from folk, rock, punk, rap, opera, country, blues, jazz, electronica and pop. But the big draws for so many musicians are the ability to perform for anyone who wants to listen, and the ease of collaboration.
Reason says that becoming successful offline by marketing music in Second Life is possible. "It's a start. In real life it's tough to make it big, so playing in Second Life can lead to bigger Second Life stuff, and it does create opportunities for me offline." It's happened for Frogg Marlowe, one of the pioneers of live music in the virtual world. Marlowe, who plays acoustic folkjazz, was profiled on MTV's You Hear It First.
Michael Kohl is ZeroOne Paz in-world. He owns and operates The Bluffs Centre for the Arts in Second Life. He also performs live music and collaborates with various Second Life artists as a composer. He got involved in early 2006, when he realized the potential for artists inside the virtual world. The Bluffs has two music stages, the Art Walk gallery and features one artist per month.
Kohl says artists can use Second Life to showcase their work to the entire internet-connected world easier and cheaper than hosting a web site. "And they can interact with their viewers to a much greater extent," he adds.
Art in the virtual space encompasses a wide scope. "With visual art, I find there are two different types of artists in Second Life: one type imports their offline art into Second Life. The second type uses the multimedia tools in Second Life to create art," said Kohl.
Art lovers who wish to collect will find a wide range of prices, starting as low as a few pounds like Carl Metropolitan's offering of classic reproductions or as high as US$375 for an original piece by Dancoyote Antonelli. Antonelli follows a uniquely Second Life artistic path, hyperformalism, which combines real and digital art.
So how do aspiring artists and musicians use Second Life to show off their talents? The first step, after joining and creating an avatar, is to find the appropriate enthusiasts group, which will provide an instant connection to those who can help.
The art and music scene in Second Life continues to thrive, and almost every live music event is filled to capacity. The time is ripe for any artist or musician who wishes to reach for digital fame, a goal that can be realised with just a few clicks of the mouse.
Groups to join inside Second Life
Live Music Enthusiasts Art & Artist Network Arts Council of Second Life Creatives, Artists and Musicians Second Life Music Virtual Artist Alliance Second Life Musicians
Useful links on the web