by CCP — 1 June 2022
Moshpit Studios is an immersive software developer designing solutions for virtual concerts and events. Darryl Swann and Ans Shabbir are Moshpit’s CEO and CTO, respectively, and spoke with us about this exciting new platform.
Can you please introduce Moshpit for people who are unfamiliar with it?
Moshpit XR LLC is the parent entity of the music metaverse MOSHPIT. We have developed Moshpit because we are super passionate about merging music with technology, and have uncovered an underserved, highly motivated music demographic who struggle with many pain-points in growing and monetizing their brands.
Where are you guys based?
We are based in Los Angeles, California and Lahore, Pakistan.
How did you come up with the idea for it?
The original product was a role-playing VR game we created based in a concert environment. As we completed the game, we realized we could go further and decided to develop a UGC platform instead. Unlike some product ideas where there is an “Aha” moment, it was more of a gradual realization of a void that exists and needs to be filled by a perfectly tuned metaverse made from the ground up for music creators and music lovers.
We believe there is abundant opportunity for new innovation due to the convergence of existing technologies with many emerging ones. We share a deep passion for fusing music with technology to add a new component to the music industry and push the envelope of what may be achieved in doing so.
Describe the user experience. Is it similar to a networked VR game where, as a user, you create an avatar to interact with other people’s avatars?
Yes, absolutely. Once you’re in the concert arena, you mutually enjoy your favorite artists in ways which have never been possible before. One challenge is to offer a constant stream of new content by artists around the globe. For that, we have developed proprietary IP that enables anyone to create from home an enterable virtual concert. Once Creators create custom shows, fans may enter these 3D virtual environments to experience the shows, interact with hundreds of thousands of intelligent AI fans, fly, leap, explore the environments, hunt for easter eggs, purchase NFTs and virtual real-estate, buy commodity goods, and interact with other human avatars in the space.
What about the bands? How are they depicted?
It’s totally up to the band or artist whether they want to use their real likeness, or a custom avatar to represent them. We have developed in-house proprietary technologies to cater to both ends of the spectrum.
How will it help artists and content creators connect with their fans?
Moshpit will help artists connect with fans by allowing fans to enter high-fidelity custom concerts that artists have created. These shows will be as creative as the artists choose to make them, thus appealing to their fans’ tastes and desire for new content by displaying the artist’s latest creations on a regular basis. Artists may also sell digital collectables and merchandise, engage with their fans, and further grow their fan-communities.
What kinds of technology are involved?
Technologies from video games, film, and music are involved in the development of Moshpit’s core components along with Web-3 technologies. In addition to fusing various technologies, our goal was also to make the creation process simple and accessible, E.g. enabling artists of any scale to perform and create from their homes is something we’ve achieved by simplifying complex film industry processes and technologies that require expensive gear and manpower.
Is it all your own proprietary technology, or do you partner with other tech providers?
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. There has been tremendous innovation in real-time graphics by many industry leaders in the video game and Film industry. Hence, we’ve repurposed and blended some established methodologies with our proprietary ones. At the heart is the Unreal Engine, Epic Games’ real-time graphics engine that establishes the foundation. We’ve contributed a significant amount of proprietary technology on top of the Unreal Engine. In other words, Moshpit is a proprietary technology built on top of the Unreal Engine.
What does an artist need in terms of equipment? Can an artist perform from their own living room, or is it more involved than that?
Yes, only consumer-grade hardware is required for artists to create custom concerts. Artists and creatives may video-capture their performances in their homes by simply using a smartphone and shooting against a flat-colored wall. Users may enter these shows via PC and VR.
What’s the maximum number of “shared users” (audience members) that you can handle for any given performance, and how did you get around the low-volume limitations of traditional VR platforms?
As of 2022, due to current server standards and under the best conditions, approximately 70 to 100 human avatars may occupy one environment at any given time. Once an environment fills to this capacity, the servers automatically create an empty, duplicate environment, thus allowing the next batch of 70 to 100 human avatars in. Once this second one fills up, a third instance is opened up, and so forth.
But having only 70 humans in a huge arena does not make for a compelling experience for the fans, so we have developed the wherewithal to place 100,000+ intelligent AI characters in each instance, thus giving the 70 users in each instance a much more compelling experience of feeling as if they are submerged within a packed crowd in the audience.
What do you estimate is the size of the market? Isn’t it limited to a great extent by the size of the VR headset market? How will you get around that?
Moshpit is not only for VR, but for PC, mobile and consoles. We will deploy across various established platforms. We are starting with the PC since it has one of the widest user-bases. If exploring Moshpit via PC, the user views his avatar from third-person perspective akin to playing a video game. If experiencing Moshpit via VR, the user looks through his avatar’s eyes.
Is the product/service limited to music performance? If not, what else might it be suitable for?
Moshpit is absolutely not limited to only music performances. We expect it to be used for the creation of many forms of entertainment, be it comedy, theater, cinematic productions, lectures, performance-art, etc. But once the technology is put in the hands of the creators, it will be exciting to witness new artforms and creations emerge that we could have never imagined.
What’s the business model? How will artists make money, and more importantly how will Moshpit make its money?
Moshpit is a Freemium model with various revenue streams. We’ll offer many different ways for artists to monetize themselves including NFTs and ticketed shows. Moshpit will deduct a fee from transactions on the platform.
What will be the likely price points for consumers?
Again, the platform is free for anyone to enter and enjoy. The user only spends money when he chooses, E.g if he wants to stand out in the crowd, he would want to purchase the best of best NFT merch of his favorite artist, or a rare item from our Moshpit marketplace. The many various revenue streams range from $0.99 for a skin, to possibly hundreds, to thousands of dollars for an NFT, virtual real-estate, or exclusive celebrity access, and everything in-between. These are just a few examples.
Will you archive performances?
Yes. This is something we feel many other platforms are missing. Others treat virtual shows the same as terrestrial shows: It only plays once, and if you miss it, you missed it. We feel this is the wrong model for virtual concerts. We feel these enterable creations should live as long as each creator chooses to leave it up so as many users as possible may experience it. What if videos on YouTube only premiered once, then disappeared? That model would not have made YouTube the most watched video platform it is today.
How has the rise (and now, finally, the settling) of COVID affected the market for your offering? It seems like COVID would have provided an unintended benefit, but now that things are opening up a bit is there still a business model for you?
We feel the Jury is in: Virtual concerts and music experiences are here to stay. The significant success of Fortnite and Roblox virtual music experiences over the last few years, just to name a few, were solid indicators that fans embrace alternate ways to experience and consume music and interact with their favorite artists. In addition, NFTs and other Blockchain technologies enable entertainment companies and individuals to capitalize on brand new revenue streams that did not exist a few years ago as of the time of this writing.
Since file-sharing began eroding music sales in 1999, the music industry has not been the same. Streaming has contributed to gradually rebounding revenue for labels and publishers over the last ten years, but artists are still receiving the short end of the stick royalty wise. Virtual experiences and Web-3 technologies will continue to unlock unforeseen revenue streams as these new business models continue to get their legs underneath them.
There is just too much potential and undiscovered opportunity to say things will go back to the way they were, which was to buy a record, cassette, 8-track, or CD, hear the song on the radio, and go to the show and buy physical merch. It seems laughable today that that was the model for many decades.
What’s the current state of Moshpit’s development? Is it available now? If not, when will it be launched?
Moshpit is in the final stages of development and will be released to the public in Spring 2023. We’re very excited to get it in the hands of the people. You can find some snippets of our technology on our website at https://www.moshpit.live/
How can people find out more about Moshpit?
As listed above, we welcome everyone to visit our website at https://www.moshpit.live/
If any artists want to collaborate, we’re open for that as well. Feel free to send a direct email to Info@moshpit.live
That all sounds great! Thanks for speaking with us today.
Thank you for allowing us to share with your audience. We’ll see you inside Moshpit!