Challenges of SecondLife concerts

Live concerts in Second Life are a growing trend, though it’s often hard to tell if they’re really for the Second Life residents or for the coverage such events garner in the rest of the media. A recent Reuters story points to some of the challenges of pulling off Second Life concerts:

First, there’s the time lag that has long plagued Second Life. Get more than 30 avatars in the same space and people start losing clothes, the audio skips, and video load times get real jumpy, which makes it difficult to seamlessly patch it into live feeds in real life.

Tantra got around the problem somewhat by holding the event simultaneously in 25 Second Life locations so that no single virtual space would get overcrowded. But some venues still crashed.

Which raises the second issue — ticketing. Just as in real life, friends in virtual worlds want to hang out together, not get randomly assigned to different venues based on which has the best refresh rate. So Singh hopes to build a reservation system that would apply a real-world ticketing structure to the virtual events.

Finally there’s the task of controlling the artists’ avatars. Since the talent performing in real life can’t be at a computer manipulating their digital doppelgangers, somebody has to do it for them. But spontaneous actions like a flip of the hair or a Pete Townshend windmill aren’t exactly standard commands. They have to be preprogrammed. One option, though expensive, is to apply motion-capture technology to the artists performing in real life, which will control how their avatar responds as a sort of 21st-century cyber-marionette.

But technology aside, the real X-factor is whether virtual concerts will draw audiences. Close to 1,200 fans signed up to attend ManiaTV’s event in Second Life, with an average of about 300 actually present at any one time. Meanwhile, some 40,000 viewed it live online.

Another perspective comes from Primadonahoe, a musician who’s tried the simulcast approach (click for full size):


Hooray for rock and roll comic strip artist Joel Orff. Again. Browse through his archives and discover how well he captures what those rock and roll moments are really all about.

If you missed them before, see my own Joel Orff comics here and here.

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