K-pop has become a truly global phenomenon due to its idiosyncratic blend of addictive melodies, production values, sophisticated choreography, and an endless procession of handsome South Korean performers spending years in tedious studio systems learning to dance and sing in a coordinated manner.
Well, in the last two years of the epidemic, many industries including K-Pop saw tremendous technological developments with various new ventures for K-Pop companies including virtual fan engagement events and online concerts.
A growing number of K-pop acts have entered the Metaverse, a shared virtual environment where individuals can interact with others through avatars and create virtual spaces to create closer and stronger connections with their fans. Let’s learn more about how K-Pop stars enter the world of the Metaverse below.
What is metaverse?
A metaverse is a method of simulating the physical world in digital contexts, and often includes augmented reality capabilities and 3D virtual locations. Virtual fan events have already been organized by K-pop labels, and a group called Aespa has avatars of its four members appearing digitally alongside them.
Use of the Metaverse application in the K-Pop industry
K-Pop is known for its cutting-edge technology, particularly the Metaverse. Digital technology has helped people keep in touch, especially during the pandemic. The entertainment sector is also affected as offline concerts are postponed. With its virtual reality component, Metaverse has emerged as one of the potential solutions to reconnect artists with fans – albeit via the digital sphere.
There are more and more projects and groups in K-Pop that are exploring metaverse applications. A well-known example is the aespa group, which emerged as a group with virtual counterparts. Asepa consists of four virtual avatars representing the actual members. Since then it has developed into a central building block from which the idea of aespa emerged.
The human members of Aespa would digitally communicate, collaborate and form strong bonds with their virtual colleagues. Introduced by aespa, Metaverse (“Kwangya”) now includes other artists from SM Entertainment. The 11-member girl group Eternity is an example of a group with entirely virtual members.
Read more about virtual offices in Metaverse
Advanced artificial intelligence was used to create the hyper-realistic virtual characters in the Eternity (AI) group. Like aespa, Eternity has its own “world” that extends its metaverse beyond its members. A number of well-known Korean technology companies, including SK Telecom, Kakao Entertainment and Netmarble, have developed their own Metaverse technology for use in the market.
The upcoming virtual girl group from Metaverse Entertainment (MAVE), a partnership between Kakao Entertainment and Netmarble, is one example. As demonstrated by Blackpink’s virtual avatar fan event and Alexa’s digital party in a metaverse platform, the metaverse is also used to enhance fan interaction with artists. This demonstrates the wide range of what can be done in the Metaverse.
Benefits of Metaverse in the K-Pop Industry
You saw above how the metaverse can affect the Korean entertainment industry. Take a look at the benefits of having a metaverse in the K-Pop industry, which are as follows:
The main highlight of the Metaverse application is the versatility of the technology and the endless alternatives. There are no restrictions on building a virtual world for virtual characters, increasing the creative freedom for companies to incorporate them into their projects. The Metaverse application would enable the growth of creative thought into new digital worlds, leading to new industry advances. Metaverse technology has expanded the potential “members” of groups with AI members to blend in with real members. As previously mentioned, AI members are more free to express themselves and may be invited to speak on community issues. AI members are scandal-free and can be customized to fit any “character.” They are also easier to manage and more willing to interact with their fans. Metaverse also helps to break the limitations of internet performance. As the pandemic reduces in-person interactions between fans and artists, the Metaverse allows fans to communicate more freely in an entirely virtual space.
This article focuses on the use of the metaverse and its implications in the K-pop sector, an industry that prides itself on using new technologies to advance. There have been developments in the industry such as virtual members and the use of virtual reality (VR) at online concerts, although it is still in the early stages of adoption. However, this does not negate the dangers that the metaverse poses, where unwary individuals can abuse it. Thus, the metaverse has given us a fascinating perspective on how new technologies can expand the digital world.