Universal to develop ‘virtual identities’ and NFTs for its artists in partnership with avatar tech firm Genies

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Universal Music Group [2,501 articles]” href=”https://www.musicbusinessworldwide.com/companies/universal-music-group/”>Universal is getting into NFTs in a big way.

Just last month, the world’s largest rightsholder launched a ‘metaverse group’ consisting of four virtual characters via its 10.22pm subsidiary, with plans to develop and release new music, NFTs, community-based products, activations and experiences in the metaverse.

Now, UMG has inked an expansive global partnership with “avatar technology company” Genies to develop avatars and digital wearables for UMG’s  artist roster, building on what it says are the “companies’ early collaborations to bring recording artists into the metaverse”.

The deal marks Genies’ second major label partnership this year, following its deal with Warner Music Group [1,898 articles]” href=”https://www.musicbusinessworldwide.com/companies/access-industries/warner-music-group/”>Warner Music Group in April.

According to a media statement, UMG and Genies will equip artists “with official virtual identities for use in Web 3.0 and the shifting age of the Internet”.

Furthermore, says UMG, its artists will be “providing a persistent virtual representation of themselves across the metaverse to engage with fans in expressive and authentic ways”.

In addition to virtual activations, UMG’s artists will have the ability to release exclusive avatar wearables for their fans to collect and use to outfit their own avatars in the metaverse.

UMG adds that the agreement builds on earlier collaborations to create virtual identities for some of the world’s most influential and successful recording artists including Justin Bieber (Def Jam), J Balvin ( Republic Records [283 articles]” href=”https://www.musicbusinessworldwide.com/companies/universal-music-group/republic-records/”>Republic), Rihanna (RocNation), Shawn Mendes ( Island Records [367 articles]” href=”https://www.musicbusinessworldwide.com/companies/universal-music-group/island-records/”>Island) and Migos ( Quality Control Music [31 articles]” href=”https://www.musicbusinessworldwide.com/companies/quality-control-music/”>Quality Control/Motown), among many others.

“UMG continues to lead and unlock what is possible with Web 3.0 and virtual economies.”

Celine Joshua, UMG

Celine Joshua, UMG’s Executive Vice President, Commercial Innovation & Artist Strategy, said: “UMG continues to lead and unlock what is possible with Web 3.0 and virtual economies.

“With our Genies partnership, we created an ideal framework and toolkit to empower our artists in the evolving digital universe.”

“We’re not bringing culture to NFTs and crypto. Genies and UMG together are bringing the power of NFTs and crypto to culture.”

Akash Nigam, Genies

Akash Nigam, CEO of Genies added: “We’re not bringing culture to NFTs and crypto. Genies and UMG together are bringing the power of NFTs and crypto to culture.

“This next era of the internet is about empowering people with more ownership and capabilities.

“UMG’s roster of talent represents some of the world’s most entrepreneurial pioneers, and by equipping these iconic artists with their own Genie avatars, we’re excited to help them realize even more potential in Web 3.0.”

“We’ll be working hands-on with UMG and their incredible roster to define what it really means for an artist to build and establish a virtual identity.”

Jake Becker, Genies

Jake Becker, Head of Talent Relations at Genies, said: “Our successful track record of working with artists has boiled up into this moment where the leading music company in one of the most culture-defining industries is embracing the future of virtual identities.

“We’ll be working hands-on with UMG and their incredible roster to define what it really means for an artist to build and establish a virtual identity.

“It’s hard to imagine a more impressive group of cultural tastemakers and we can’t wait to help them realize their full potential in Web3 – for themselves, for music & culture and for their new and existing fans all around the world.”

 Music Business Worldwide

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