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Rihanna, Migos and more are getting official metaverse avatars after Justin Bieber

By Alma Fabiani

Dec 14, 2021

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Following Meta’s footsteps, Universal Music Group (UMG) has announced that it is teaming up with the avatar technology company Genies to bring its global roster of music artists to the metaverse. In a statement, the company said that the global partnership “will equip artists with official virtual identities for use in Web 3.0 and the shifting age of the Internet.” In addition, UMG artists will be able to release exclusive avatar wearables for their fans to collect.

How will it work?

Universal’s artists will be given official virtual identities for the metaverse. Some of the roster, including Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes, had already asked Genies to make avatars of them. Now, the plan is extending to Rihanna, Migos and more of UMG’s signed artists to be represented in the various metaverses as well as the avatars’ use across social platforms.

The end goal here is for Genies to create its own fully-fledged marketplace where fans can buy and sell NFT merchandise from their favourite artists, which they will then be able to wear in various metaverses. The marketplace, which is expected to launch in the coming months, will be built on Dapper LabsFlow blockchain, home to the popular NBA Top Shot marketplace.

“We’re not bringing culture to NFTs and crypto,” said Akash Nigam, CEO of Genies, in a UMG statement. “Genies and UMG together are bringing the power of NFTs and crypto to culture.”

And if you were worried about Migos and Rihanna’s avatars not having access to their real-life go-to pair of trainers, fear no more, because meanwhile, Nike just announced the acquisition of RTFKT Studios—which it calls “a leading brand that leverages cutting edge innovation to deliver next generation collectibles that merge culture and gaming.”

“This acquisition is another step that accelerates Nike’s digital transformation and allows us to serve athletes and creators at the intersection of sport, creativity, gaming and culture,” said John Donahoe, President and CEO of Nike. “We’re acquiring a very talented team of creators with an authentic and connected brand. Our plan is to invest in the RTFKT brand, serve and grow their innovative and creative community and extend Nike’s digital footprint and capabilities.”