Virtual Concerts Are About To Become A Reality

ResLiveResLive is a new 3D web-based virtual world which aims to become the ultimate destination for live music performances in an MMO space. (Though still in early Beta, you can join now with a special Social Times code at the end of this post.) As a number of musicians and DJs have learned, 3D worlds like Second Life are a great place to perform live from the comfort of their computer, even earning a decent side income with tips. But as they and their fans have also learned, it’s extremely difficult to get more than a couple dozen people in the same performance space without lag ruining the show. By contrast, ResLive’s project manager believes his world’s architecture can support 100-150 avatars in the same venue, and with the company’s sharding system (which creates multiple copies of the same virtual space), up to 5,000 attendees can concurrently enjoy the same show. That’s a bold claim, but considering who’s developing ResLive, I’m inclined to believe it:

Like many upcoming worlds, ResLive uses Unity 3D on the front end, to deliver fairly robust graphics on the web, and a server architecture derived from OpenSimulator, the open source spinoff of Second Life. It’s created by the Sine Wave Company, a London/Shanghai-based startup with over 30 employees, whose CTO is Adam Frisby, a serial entrepreneur who’s been a major content creator and landowner in Second Life (where he’s known as Adam Zaius), and a leading force behind the development of OpenSim, especially when it comes to solving many of the vexing performance problems that have stymied Second Life. And unlike SL, ResLive is specifically architected to be an optimized virtual experience for enjoying live music shows:

“If we get everything right,” Frisby tells me, ResLive shows will provide fans “a way to speak to the artist (we’re deploying laptops at the events which will contain a console for the performers), [an] easy way to log in and log out at whim during an event, [an] easy way to bring your friends, chat with your friends, etc… and [a] guaranteed crowd (we really want to have a minimum of several hundred people.)” They’re working with a number of UK clubs to produce regular live gigs, and say they have a number of fairly well-known artists lined up to perform.

For revenue, ResLive will sell tickets to big name events and virtual items, and offer premium memberships to get a high quality audio stream for all the shows. And while Frisby warns that ResLive is still in early Beta, I think it’s worth checking out: I’ve witnessed enough success stories with indie artists leveraging Second Life to take their career to the next level. (Like San Francisco artist Keiko Takamura, who partly financed her first album with donations from SL fans.) If ResLive can figure out how to easily get more fans into more shows without so many technical hurdles, this could be a big thing for the future of live music online.

Decide for yourself: Frisby kindly created a special code for Social Times readers. After using Facebook Connect to create a free account here, enter “socialtimes” in the VIP Code slot. In fact, looking at the ResLive event calendar, there’s a live show at 3pm Pacific today, where your avatar can dance and flirt with others to the tracks played live by a famous London DJ.