Steve Aoki has built an empire as one of the world’s largest DJs, label owners and entrepreneurs. Aoki, 44, who has more than 15 million listeners on Spotify and performs about 300 shows annually worldwide, knows how to put on a show and push the boundaries of creativity.
Aoki was also an early pioneer in the NFT space and the metaverse, a medium that matches his distinct fictional character. He was among the first artists to release NFT sets and perform his DJ sets in metaverse worlds such as Decentraland.
Her interest in the medium underscores the huge potential that artists see in her ability to reach people in more meaningful ways than they have ever been before. Aoki is one of the most vocal leaders in the metaverse movement.
What is Metaverse?
The new digital realm has allowed artists to offer new experiences and engage more powerfully with their fans. Although the metaverse is still in its formative stage, the first iterations of these virtual worlds provide insight into how societies interact and experience through shared interests.
Aoki, who has performed in 41 countries, approaches space like a sociologist studying the culture of a new civilization. “The reason humans are spreading all over the world is because we want to explore new things with other people who aren’t necessarily close to us,” Aoki said. “We want to be out there and connect with strangers who are excited about the same things.”
In a recent research paper, JP Morgan predicted that the metaverse will generate $1 trillion annually within a few years. The report notes that consumers already spend $54 billion on virtual goods, nearly double the amount to buy music.
And these amounts can only touch the potential of metaverses. As we spend more time in virtual spaces, digital goods and experiences will become more valuable and more people will use them.
NFTs, valuable digital assets that can be used and transferred between digital worlds, are essential components of the metaverse. Metaverse users own digital property rights to lands, collectibles, game items, trial access tickets, and more. As long as they maintain ownership of their private keys, their digital assets are not dependent on the creditworthiness of any particular metaverse developer. Users can easily transfer their NFTs to other metaverse environments.
NFTs act as totems of digital identity and indicate membership in specific online crypto communities. They play an increasingly important role in stewarding our culture by providing vast new avenues of expression for visual artists, musicians, actors, designers, and animators.
It provides the opportunity for consumers to own something rare in a more immersive environment and for creators to connect more directly with people who are passionate about their work. The latter fostered creativity in a way that had not been possible before. The metaverse creates profound new experiences.
Whether with access to private online chat rooms to converse with other hardcore fans, the ability to claim tickets for live music events hosted in secret locations, or the ability to browse virtual NFT spaces in the metaverse worlds, artists are manipulating technology to provide new ways to interact with their fans.
In February, Aoki launched A0K1VERSE, and presented his own show on the metaverse. A0K1VERSE is an NFT-enabled membership club that provides access to both physical and chain experiences.
Membership benefits include advance access to future Aoki NFT releases, metaverse shows, and free tickets to Aoki shows. He is working on partnerships with a number of brands for future NFT projections and merchandise and hopes to create what he calls a “multiverse” of different communities.
Fans can join the club and access A0K1VERSE by purchasing or earning A0K1 Credits. A0K1 credits have a total supply cap of 50,000 and credit holders must then redeem or burn their credits to obtain a personal passport. Passport is an NFT and is a ticket to all the features and experiences that A0K1VERSE has to offer.
Aoki partners and collaborates with brands and intellectual property for future NFT drops and merchandise. He has identified the animation show Attack On Titan and My Little Pony Media as initial partners.
“A0K1VERSE passports are going to be a revolution,” Aoki said in his typical sumptuous manner. “We’re building more than one metaverse universe, it’s going to be a multiverse. We’re connecting many different communities, and hopefully they’ll all grow alongside us and be successful.”
Aoki compares to how the NFT and the metaverse communities are shaped for audiences who attend the live broadcast. “Fans may not know anyone else on the show and haven’t said a word to each other, but they all feel connected to each other. We all need a community, that’s how we live as human beings.
The relationship between the musician and his fans has always been one-sided. Working with record companies, publishers, distributors, and producers, music artists have created and released albums for their audiences, with little immediate or direct insight into what listeners think of their work.
“NFTs allow for a two-way conversation between artist and fan,” Aoki said. “Before, it was always a one-way conversation. The artist produces something and the fan buys the product or not, but there’s no talking. With NFTs, there’s a conversation going.”
Reflecting on how content creators can use NFTs to add value to their communities, Aoki said, “If Kendrick Lamar has a low NFT related to his album that is rare and affects people emotionally, it is a work of art. Music is art and an album or song can make us feel a sense Moin.It touches our hearts and makes us feel something we have never felt before.The cloth painted on it can be worth $10 million because of the cultural imprint it bears on people’s lives, and NFT can do the same.
Although Aoki’s focus has shifted to the opportunities presented by NFTs, Web 3, and the Metaverse, he is committed to continuing to do what he loves most: having fun on stage and offering his fans engaging experiences and music. Whether in the digital or physical world, Aoki will always be a true showman.