Sensorium and TIDAL confirmed the multimillion-dollar transaction in an email this morning. Powered by Unreal Engine 4, the Galaxy is described by Sensorium as “an all-digital alternate universe” that enables users to socialize and enjoy immersive VR experiences – with an emphasis on concerts and music festivals.
In this music-centered alternate universe, which is currently slated to begin going live in February 2021, players will have the opportunity to purchase avatar accessories, homes, concert tickets, and even entire planets with an Ethereum Network-built cryptocurrency called the Senso Token.
It appears that TIDAL is set to put its massive stockpile of Senso Tokens towards some of these planets, which Sensorium advertises for “business partners” on its website. To be sure, the release expressly states that the $7 million was used to purchase in-game currency – not to back Sensorium itself. And from the digital destinations, Jay-Z’s streaming service can presumably reach new fans while promoting its artists via gigs.
As mentioned, the Sensorium Galaxy is expected to start rolling out early next year, and aside from VR headsets, it will become available to download on PCs as well as iOS and Android devices.
Addressing TIDAL’s sizable funding in a statement, Sensorium VR CEO Brian Kean said: “This is a very important transaction that will not only propel Sensorium Galaxy forward but could also see world-famous artists creating their own virtual music projects in Sensorium worlds.”
TIDAL COO Lior Tibon, for his part, said: “Our relationship with Sensorium provides TIDAL with the opportunity to gain exclusive rights for its stellar artist roster to have their shows and music broadcast exclusively within Sensorium’s themed virtual entertainment worlds.”
On Monday, Digital Music News was first to report that Napster had changed hands once again. MelodyVR acquired the formerly infamous music-sharing platform in a $70 million deal, and the London-based startup intends to bolster its VR offerings with Napster’s considerable streaming library. Plus, MelodyVR mentioned plans to debut a subscription model – a move that would signal confidence in the profitability and reach of the VR-concert landscape.
Meanwhile, some experts have predicted that the full-scale return of crowd-based concerts won’t arrive until 2022. If true, VR gigs may experience a popularity uptick that outlasts the coronavirus pandemic.
In May, Apple reportedly paid $100 million for NextVR, which was chiefly known for working with the NBA to deliver games in VR. And on the user side of the business, virtual-reality arenas’ revenue bounced back to pre-lockdown levels shortly after states began reopening.