Okay, it’s only Duran Duran — the classic 1980’s “Hungry Like a Wolf” hair band — but it’s still pretty interesting that a band is setting up a virtual island in Second Life, where the boys will put on virtual concerts for giant robots, huge pink bunny rabbits, surfer dudes with green hair and other SL avatars. According to comments from the band, they seem pretty excited about the whole thing.
This seems like the next logical step in the virtual music business, after a recent concert put on by the BBC involved a Second Life component (virtual attendees got a tiny virtual radio so they could take the show with them as they moved around the virtual world), and a group of U2 devotees put on a virtual concert involving avatars of the band.
The latter concert didn’t just feature virtual versions of the band but also included downloadable U2 songs and a host of “virtual sponsor” giveaways such as cans of Coke and bottles of Evian water — despite the fact that neither the band nor the companies had agreed to have their names and likenesses featured. The organizer says it was done to increase the realism and as a tribute to the band, but I wonder whether U2 or Evian would see it that way (the organizers tried to reach the band but didn’t get anywhere).
In other Second Life music news, Suzanne Vega — the iconic folk-pop singer whose Tom’s Diner became the first song ever made into an MP3 file — recently gave a concert inside the virtual world, one which started off (naturally) with a version of Tom’s Diner. Although attendees had to remove all add-on objects (including their avatar’s hair, apparently) so as to reduce lag in the game, this sounds to me like the beginning of something, well… real. Bands and performers have already gotten used to using MySpace to advance their careers.
And in other business-related SL news, Starwood Hotels says that it is going to try out a new micro-brand hotel idea inside the virtual world before launching it in real life. More on the process of setting up the virtual hotel can be found here. Lest all this Second Life-ing get a little too serious, I offer you this cartoon I came across at BLaugh while looking around for SL-related stuff in the blogosphere (hat tip to Fred Wilson).