Warner Music Group Teams Up with the Sandbox

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Key Takeaways:

  • Warner Music Group will open a metaverse concert venue and amusement park within The Sandbox.
  • The label includes imprints like Atlantic and Elektra, and hosts artists such as Ed Sheeran and Lizzo.

Warner Music Group (WMG) is preparing for a future of virtual concerts in the metaverse, announcing today that it has teamed up with The Sandbox, an upcoming Ethereum game, to create a music-themed area within the shared online game world.

The major record label will use its virtual LAND plots in the game to create a space that will serve as a music-themed amusement park and a concert venue for its artists. It’s the first time such a label has been used to secure a spot in a metaverse game.

Warner has not revealed the artists performing and appearing in The Sandbox. The label’s various imprints, including Atlantic, Elektra, Warner Records, and Parlophone, have hundreds of signed artists, including Ed Sheeran, Lizzo, Meek Mill, and Weezer.

The Sandbox is an Ethereum-based metaverse game that allows players to buy LAND in NFT assets, which can then be customized and monetized within the game. Following Facebook’s big metaverse announcement, virtual land sales have accelerated in recent months. During a single week in late November, investors spent more than $100 million on virtual land, with The Sandbox accounting for the majority of that.

More than 200 brands and celebrities have already partnered with the game’s creators, including Snoop Dogg, The Walking Dead, Adidas, Atari, Steve Aoki, and The Smurfs. In March, The Sandbox will hold a land sale to allow players to purchase plots adjacent to those owned by Warner Music Group.

Oana Ruxandra, WMG’s chief digital officer and VP of business development, told Decrypt via email, “There’s so much opportunity here.” For example, artists could use The Sandbox to sell NFT collectables, such as those granting access to special benefits or experiences. The representative also mentioned virtual concerts, listening parties, award ceremonies, and other live in-game engagements.

“We’re also looking at things like bespoke experience design and game development,” Ruxandra added, “which will be a more limited opportunity, but a super exciting one.”

Snoop Dogg, who releases albums through his Doggy Style Records label in The Sandbox, has already followed a similar path. He distributed and sold NFT party passes for an upcoming metaverse concert, as well as NFT avatars and LAND plots near his in-game estate. One of these plots sold for nearly $450,000 in cryptocurrency.

Warner Music Group and Genies, a startup that creates cartoon-like avatars and sells them on Dapper Labs’ Flow blockchain, announced a partnership in April. WMG artists will be transformed into Genies avatars as part of the alliance.

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Shambhavi Soni