MTV Adds Best Metaverse Performance Category to Video Music Awards
MTV’s Video Music Awards will include a Best Metaverse Performance category for the first time when they air in August. Voting is now open to fans of the six finalists, with Roblox standing out for hosting both Charli XCX and Twenty One Pilots. MTV required nominees to have a fully digital performance, venue, and audience to qualify for the category.
The nominees encompass a fairly broad range of metaverse-related music experiences within digital worlds. The Roblox concerts replicated the real-world experience of a show with avatars replacing the performers and crowd. Both were augmented through the metaverse, however, with Twenty One Pilots choosing their setlist based on votes from those in attendance and Charli XCX and Samsung running a five-week virtual competition of mini-games and invited the winners to ‘stand’ on the digital stage. Justin Bieber promoted his music and his angel investor efforts by performing a show on Wave, a startup he has funded. The rest of the nominees brought their shows to metaverse platforms best known for gaming. BLACKPINK performed a show on PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUGB) Mobile, while Ariana Grande’s concert on Epic Games’ Fortnite platform embraced a space theme that would be hard to replicate in a physical venue. Meanwhile, BTS demonstrated how their complex choreography looks with relatively cartoonish, boxy characters on Minecraft.
“We saw the opportunity to highlight and honor some of the best, most impactful executions of this – and celebrate artists who have found creative ways to use these spaces – which led to the addition of Best Metaverse Performance category this year,” MTV said in a statement.
The entertainment world has begun accelerating its metaverse expansion on several platforms this year. Bieber’s label Warner Music Group is working with Wave to create NFTs and metaverse avatars, Snapchat partnered with Universal Pictures and Jennifer Lopez to produce a concert headlined by Lopez as a Bitmoji, and Megan Thee Stallion built her “Enter Thee Hottieverse” virtual concert tour with virtual reality startup AmazeVR. Roblox is notable for its experiments in music, which may have helped with the nominations for performances on its platform. The first metaverse music award show, the Song Breaker Awards, was hosted on Roblox, augmented by a Lizzo performance. Spotify even bought a whole metaverse island on the platform to showcase music in the metaverse. Going beyond musical entertainment, restaurant chain Planet Hollywood is creating a virtual celebration of its namesake with Meta Hollywood in The Sandbox metaverse.