Spotify claims to be “entering the metaverse” by becoming the first music streaming service to enter the platform with the release of “Spotify Island.”
“Roblox fans, pack your bags — Spotify is entering your world,” Spotify said in a press release published on May 3. “Today, we are introducing Spotify Island, a paradise of sound where fans and artists from all over the world can hang out and explore a wonderland of sounds, quests, and exclusive merch.” In other words, it’s a place for you to buy merch.
The island (which has been hovering around 7,800 active users on its launch day) is a lush and tropical digital landscape, where Spotify says users can meet their favourite artists, collect points to reach the top of “The Charts,” and create their own music using beat stations scattered across the island, which are powered by the digital audio workstation Soundtrap.
Spotify Island is apparently only the centrepiece of a much larger archipelago of themed experiences Spotify is looking to release throughout the year. From the main island, users will be able to travel to other islands themed around different artists and genres. The first themed island, coming later in the spring, is the K-pop-themed “K-park,” where players can have the chance to hang out with K-pop acts like SUNMI and Stray Kids. Whatever that means.
When asked to clarify what that means, Spotify told Gizmodo in an email:
At Spotify, we feel it’s so important to create experiences for our users that meet them wherever they are and however they choose to listen, and Spotify Island allows us to do just that. Spotify Island on Roblox marks Spotify’s first foray into the metaverse and we’re looking forward to bringing even more exciting experiences to the Island in the future.
The streaming company claims to be dabbling in the metaverse, but the metaverse — where users can travel between limitless interoperable worlds while taking exclusive assets with them — doesn’t even really exist yet, and some argue that it’s impossible.
Regardless, Roblox’s metaverse-branded platform has seen a growing music presence over the past few years. Several artists like Lil Nas X, Ava Max, and Zara Larsson have held concerts, album release parties, and dance parties. Roblox and other digital open-world games like Fortnite seem to be at an inflection point for the music industry’s foray into a virtual reality format. Those execs seem to really want to be a part of the metaverse, and Spotify is the latest to cash in. But why? Why would anyone want any of this?
While users on Spotify Island can make beats and (maybe, possibly, probably not) have interactions with their favourite artists, why wouldn’t they just listen to music and watch concert videos and stan on message boards instead? Sigh, 7,800 active users can’t be wrong, I guess.