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Steve Aoki and Relics Are Building Metaverse NFT Jukeboxes

Worldwide DJ and Web3 magnate Steve Aoki released the designs for Relics’ Idol III – an NFT jukebox for use in the metaverse.

NFT startup Relicsxyz (or Relics) has teamed up with DJ and Web3 magnate Steve Aoki for the launch of Idol III – a digital, metaverse-ready music player.

Idol III is an Ethereum NFT collectible designed to be a music player, where each collectible features a unique, pre-installed mix from Aoki’s Dim Mak music label, and handcrafted by the DJ, who Relics cites as “an incredible artist and innovator,” as a reason to collaborate with.

“He’s been such an incredible force in opening up this space to people who hadn’t heard of blockchain or NFTs before,” Kallman adds. “When we talk about a music player for music fans, I really can’t think of anybody else who has the same ethos of trying to bring everybody together.”

The NFT jukebox is currently optimised for Decentraland compatibility, with the Relics team planning for additional support for other virtual worlds.

Idol III’s drop comes after the release of Relics’ Genesis Idol and Idol II – where Idol II’s release was in collaboration with video game concept artist Raf Grassetti of God of War fame. Idol III will begin minting Wednesday, May 17th, 2023.

Similarly to Relics’ previous Idol drops, Idol III will be an open edition available solely for collectors of other music NFTs. Holders owning NFTs from musicians like Avenged Sevenfold, Kings of Leon, Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda, and Deadmau5 will be eligible for an Idol III. 

Holders of NFTs from Kingship, an NFT band from Universal Music Group, are also eligible for an Idol III.

“We’ve been inspired by jukebox culture, which created these social environments in diners in the ‘50s, but also how sound systems can be showpieces in people’s homes,” said Relics General Manager Jordan Kallman. “We wanted to make the Idol beautiful, but also thought about how users are going to actually want to experience music in virtual worlds.”

A holder can use their Idol III to play any compatible music NFTs that they hold in their wallet, in addition to accessing a unique social experience that plays music. The Idol III also offers direct support to artists, according to Kallman.

“I believe it’s one of the earliest efforts to make something natively designed for these virtual worlds that plays music,” explains Kallman.

A native metaverse music player will “open up new channels for artists to reach audiences,” says Kallman, who aims for Relics to be the launchpad for artists hoping to make a safe metaverse debut. The Idol III will also ensure that all compatible NFTs with the player are fully licensed for metaverse and virtual world use.

“Creators and users will need to make sure that any music that is being played is fully cleared, in order to avoid lawsuits or cease and desist efforts,” says Kallman, wanting to keep a step ahead of licensing issues similar to that of which YouTube and Twitch creators face to this day.

To further push Relics into Web3, the team is currently wrapping up a software development kit that will let metaverse builders easily integrate Idol III compatibility to their virtual worlds.

While wider metaverse hype has calmed down over the last year, Kallman believes that crafting a music player designed for virtual worlds will prove vital in determining where the metaverse – and the technology – will go next.

“It’s become really apparent that our lives are becoming more and more virtual every day, and how we build culture in those spaces is really important. I believe music is always the first building block of culture,” he says. “The breakthrough moment for these virtual worlds is definitely coming,” he adds, aided by what NFTs offer musicians and fans in terms of control.

“If you look at how vinyl sales have continued to rise, music ownership is something that fans are still really invested in. That’s just going to continue to grow with NFTs, which can not only provide unique fan experiences but also offer a living wage to artists of all sizes,” said Kallman. “We’ve got big plans and a big vision for where this goes, but we’re really just focused on providing music experiences for music fans and creators.”

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