Wave – an entertainment performance company formerly known as TheWaveVR – is the world’s first multi-million dollar virtual entertainment platform for live concerts. Wave offers broadcast technology for artists and integrates the concept of virtual performance. The company works with music labels, independent artists, and management companies to deliver avant-garde experiences to concertgoers.
Founded in 2016, the Los Angeles-based company transforms artists into animated characters via live motion capture technology which records their movements during the performance in real-time. A customized virtual stage, with flamboyant visuals and fan interactions, is built representing the artist’s preference and style. Fans can also create an avatar to join the free-of-game-play concerts shared via YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, and other major digital and gaming channels, social networks, live-streaming, and entertainment networks.
The live-entertainment industry faced substantial cessation due to the COVID-19 contagion, forcing artists and music companies to explore and adapt to alternative means of live performances. The Wave platform offers a much more dynamic and immersive experience to the attendees than the mainstream Instagram or Facebook live streaming that swamped the internet during the initial days of quarantine. Wave calls these virtual concerts “Waves” and announced a series of virtual concerts called “One Wave” featuring John Legend, Tinashe, Lindsey Stirling, Galantis, and others. The company says it has hosted over fifty concerts and worked with more than twenty artists to date.
Wave CEO Adam Arrigo said in a statement, “We are now living in a digital avatar culture. Through our proprietary technology and core gaming capabilities, Wave can go beyond the traditional live streaming concerts and create artist avatars, virtual environments, and interactive experiences that truly immerse audiences at the nexus of gaming and entertainment.”
According to Arrigo, fan engagement is what makes the Wave experience so exciting. The platforms offer the opportunity for fans to actively participate in concerts by socializing directly with the artist and each other – cheering, sharing reactions voting on key show moments, and playing mini-games. “This two-way dialogue and intimate interaction (is) what Wave is all about,” he said.
Wave grants the artists a global reach and amasses a large audience with the immersive VR experience. Additionally, the artists can monetize the events through the sale of virtual and physical merchandise, bit cheering/tipping, and sponsorships. In an interview with TechCrunch, Arrigo said that their sole purpose behind starting this company was to help artists make money.
The company works in partnership with Warner Music Group and Jay-Z’s Roc Nation to produce these virtual raves. Recently, Wave received a USD 30 Million funding to upgrade ‘the creation of personalized artist avatars, new virtual environments and formats, and interactive experiences — including in-game activation and social experiences.’ The fund from investors including Griffin Gaming Partners, NTT DoCoMo Ventures, Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin, etc., will be used to expand its businesses in Japan and China, and also to provide new opportunities for new emerging artists.
Hip-hop star Travis Scott’s virtual concert inside Epic Games’ Fortnite was a global hit in the pandemic-stricken world. While Scott’s was a pre-recorded show, Wave is differentiated by its live performance and interaction. The company admires the idea of a metaverse, but simultaneously wishes to ‘expand virtual gathering beyond gaming platforms into larger entertainment spaces that non-gamers will embrace as well.’
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