Canadian band to ‘simulcast’ Toronto gig in Second Life

Avatars can show up for the live concert in Toronto by logging into the virtual world, which hit its 1-millionth-resident mark this month. Could this be a new age for concert sponsorship?

Uncle Seth, a Toronto-based indie band, is planning to mirror a high-energy Nov. 25 performance at C’est What in Toronto with a ‘live simulcast’ show in-world in the virtual world of Second Life. Audio from the show will be streamed into Second Life as avatars representing band members mimic the real-life performance, opening the doors to exposure to groups within the virtual world.

While live music is not new to Second Life, this may be a first in terms of tying an entire band’s performance in real life to a simultaneous show in-world. Second Life hit 1.15 million total residents last week. About half a million of them logged in during the past 60 days.

Marrying a virtual concert to a real one is a natural move for a band that’s been dubbed ‘the official band of Canadian podcasting’ by veteran podcasters Tod Maffin, Mark Blevis and Bob Goyetche. The Second Life portion of the Uncle Seth concert will take place at a venue run by music podcasting pioneer and new marketing specialist C.C. Chapman, VP new marketing for New York-based Crayon, a marketing company that launched last week in Second Life (for clients such as Coca-Cola). Although Crayon has not been hired by the band, Chapman is helping them coordinate the venue for the virtual concert.

‘People buy and sell real estate, virtual clothing, furniture, all sorts of things. I’m actually building a Second Life guitar collection that rivals my real one,’ says Uncle Seth bass player Jay Moonah, a new media specialist and producer of the Online Music Marketing podcast and blog.

Moonah has also established a storefront on the appropriately named Music City Island. The store features information on the band, plus free virtual t-shirts and CDs. ‘Many of the established acts that come into Second Life do so for an event – one live show, one CD release, one interview, something like that,’ he says. ‘Big labels will hire a PR company to do what I call a ‘fly-in’ with these artists. What we’re doing is forming relationships with the community members, going to other people’s shows, participating in the economy.’ Moonah tells MiC that, while no sponsors have signed on for the Second Life show, the idea is a welcome one.

In September, Leo Burnett Worldwide claimed the title of first ad agency in Second Life. Pontiac is putting all of its advertising for the G5 model online, some of which is devoted to Second Life. American Apparel opened a virtual store in July. Reuters also opened its Second Life digital bureau this month, staffing it with ‘Adam Reuters,’ a.k.a. Adam Pasick, who recently sat down for an ‘in-world’ interview for a 40-avatar audience at CNET’s Second Life bureau. IBM, Sun Microsystems, Warner Music, Telus – the list of big names going virtual with Second Life is adding up.