What are bored monkeys and why do they form virtual groups? – Billboard

Last week, the much sought after NFT Bored Ape Yacht Club collection quickly hit the music industry. On Thursday, the UMG-owned label at 10:22 p.m. announced that it had signed a virtual boy group made up of Bored Ape characters called KINGSHIP, and then on Friday Timbaland launched a new entertainment company, Ape-In Productions (AIP), which uses Bored Ape. characters (like its first signer, TheZoo) to play music and sell NFTs.

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But what are these original cartoon monkeys in the first place? Why are they so important?

Since the Yuga Labs company launched the project in April, Bored Ape Yacht Club – known as “BAYC”, “Bored Apes” or simply “Apes” to friends – has grown into one of the most popular NFT collections. lucrative in the world to this day. Made up of thousands of different illustrated monkey characters, each affixed as individual images and etched onto the blockchain to be bought and sold, the goal was to create an NFT project with a cultural cache, much like CryptoPunks and other collectible art NFTs had done this before, but was more than just a JPEG file affixed to the blockchain. What if the purchase of a Bored Ape NFT served as an entry ticket into a gamified community?

The idea got off to a slow start, but quickly became an overnight sensation, leading to the invention of the Web3 lingo of “Apeing In” or taking a chance on an unproven investment. Now BAYC-linked tokens have generated around $ 1 billion, according to Rolling stone, and buying a bored monkey has become one of Web3’s ultimate status symbols. Many Bored Apes owners will set her as their profile picture on social media and brag about exclusive club events, like the Ape Fest 2021 in person in New York City. Even celebrities like Steph Curry, Jimmy Fallon and Post Malone bought them, while the second-hand resale market has become a lucrative space for NFT fins – and because a percentage of every resale goes to BAYC, that also benefits the company.

Another feature of buying a bored monkey is that the NFT also offers buyers the rights to monetize or commercialize the likeness of the cartoon. This means that if a Bored Ape owner wanted to create and sell products based on the art they own – or, say, use their image for a virtual boyband in this case – it’s within their rights to do so.

That’s what Jimmy McNeils test now. A notable collector of NFT, who goes by the nickname “j1mmy.eth” online, McNeils has signed a group of four of his monkeys to UMG’s 22:22 PM, a new label focused on bridging the gap between music and the Web3 , to try to create the next big group. Just like when a traditional artist signs a contract with a record company, contracts with virtual performers include a provision allowing the record company to use the artist’s image. In return for typical concessions like this, an artist (virtual or human) will receive a share of the royalties from the success of the music.

While the news seems unprecedented, it draws on older essays of avatars as artists. In China, for example, virtual idols have been a fast growing part of the music business for years, like artists Luo Tianyi and Ayayi. While the American public has not been so quick to embrace this concept so far, there are still precedents. Miquela – a singer and virtual influencer with over 3 million Instagram followers – has managed to gain a foothold in recent years, peaking at No. 47 on Billboard’s Hot Dance / Electronic Songs chart in 2018 with the song “Hate Me”.

Other comparisons could be made for cartoon artists like Gorillaz, or even The Archies and Alvin and the Chipmunks, who have all relied on great songs and engaging visuals to cultivate a fan base.

The expansion of NFT characters as musical artists also coincides with recent announcements from companies like Facebook (now Meta) and recently renamed Microsoft to develop their own metavers. Acting as the next phase of the internet, the metaverse will allow people around the world to connect in a virtual space, seemingly face-to-face, using virtual reality and augmented reality technologies. Think of it like meeting a friend in a multiplayer video game, except much more realistic, or like the virtual world of the book turned blockbuster. Loan Player One.

The metaverse will open up many possibilities for the music industry to expand its presence and rethink old business models. This is why Timbaland launched his company Ape-In Productions, to capitalize on this and form virtual groups. To kick off the new supergroup, Timbaland himself will be producing TheZoo’s first single “ApeSh! T”, which will be released later this month. Along with the groups themselves, AIP hopes to sell virtual goods in the form of NFTs.

But it’s not just monkeys. Other NFT projects also offer monetization rights to buyers, which means other NFT characters could become the next virtual idols in the future. Currently, Grimes is also launching his own “AI girl group,” NPC, which released their first song “A Drug From God” with Chris Lake on November 12.

While it’s not clear whether any of the existing bands – like KINGSHIP, NPC, or TheZoo – will become major musical players, one thing is certain: virtual bands will continue to pop up as we approach a reality. metaverse-inclusive. The real question is who will be the first to break through.

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