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A Second Life for New Music

Tim RisherTim Risher is a composer that I bumped into a long time ago on this here web thingy. His illustrious career has taken him from making new music in Florida, to a long stint producing radio in Germany, to currently doing — well, something or other — in deepest, darkest Durham, North Carolina.

One of Tim’s latest personal ventures involves the wildly-popular virtual world of Second Life. There, people seem to carry on just like they do out here in the real world, except they get to make it — and even themselves — into anything they can dream up. Like the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, which gave a “virtual” concert in there just last autumn. 

What Tim has dreamed up in his own little patch of turf within Second Life, is a place called HD Artists (for you folks who already wander this alternate world, here’s a link directly to his place). I’ll let Tim himself explain:

HD Artists is a virtual New Music center in Second Life. The center has only just opened, but we plan on having:

A wall of CD players letting you hear music samples of different composers along with a link to their website.

Links to various publishers of new music.

Soon we hope to present live performances at our building as well, this will take a while to suss out, though.

Going to places in Second Life is a lot like walking around in a 3D blog, or better, a 3D fashion magazine. And visiting concerts there are just like, well, a 19th-century fashion magazine salon. But the concerts are quite enjoyable, it is really like listening to a real-life concert (which, in fact, that’s what it is), but with all the trappings of Second Life.

If you’re interested in learning more about HD Artists or would like a link there, feel free to contact me.

Tim asked me if I’d like to have my own music up in the place (even though I don’t hang in that particular world just yet), and I said sure, why not? If you’re ready to go virtual, send Tim an email at timrisher@googlemail.com. Maybe we’ll all get two free virtual tickets to the inaugural concert…

Comments

Comment from James Combs
Time: April 9, 2008, 1:57 pm

Ah, the future, slowly creeping its way upon us. The reality is our reality, our space in time, is linked to the stone ages. Just my opinion, but what will they say if our species survives another two thousand years? They ate animals, instead of growing parts from stem cells? And they used those clunky calculators to crawl on their knees around the web. HAHA they laughed.

Comment from jeff harrington
Time: April 9, 2008, 4:57 pm

Alex mentioned we do something with this a few weeks ago!

Second Life has impossible problems. The execs are all jumping ship – their servers can’t handle crowds. It’s dead tech unfortunately.

I think it’s more likely that the first real VR that works and doesn’t suck will come from a game, Warcraft or some shooter. It’ll grow spontaneously, and all of a sudden it’ll be the thing to do.

Comment from Alex Kotch / Mr. Bacon
Time: April 9, 2008, 5:19 pm

I wouldn’t be so sure about Second Life’s failure just yet. Though it’s apparently used most often for virtual sex (when one is anonymous, one tends to get right down to the point), it’s also used for job interviews and as far as I’ve heard, it’s maintained its popularity.

I remember when Facebook first came out, it wasn’t set up so well. But over time it developed and improved itself immensely. Second Life will probably do the same, I imagine. Second Life is kind of a game in itself…you create your own digital character and everything is a fantasy.

Hooray for Risher and the Liverpool Phil – I think their contributions are highly important, especially within an art form that rarely steps out of its comfort zone.

Comment from Darren Nelsen
Time: April 10, 2008, 10:55 am

Second Life has its problems, yes, (and I’ve had my share of frustrations with Linden Labs, the makers of SL) but it is growing and changing and maturing (technologically speaking) all the time. The code’s been open-sourced, so that will help the platform mature even faster. SL isn’t going anywhere, it’ll be around for a long time.

It’s worth looking into the opportunity to get your music in SL. You might get some new fans out of it!

I’m excited to hear about what Tim’s doing and I’ll certainly check it out and contact him. Thanks!

Comment from Alex Kotch / Mr. Bacon
Time: April 10, 2008, 12:16 pm

I wouldn’t be so sure about Second Life’s failure just yet. Though it’s apparently used most often for virtual sex (when one is anonymous, one tends to get right down to the point), it’s also used for job interviews and as far as I’ve heard, it’s maintained its popularity.

I remember when Facebook first came out, it wasn’t set up so well. But over time it developed and improved itself immensely. Second Life will probably do the same, I imagine. Second Life is kind of a game in itself…you create your own digital character and everything is a fantasy.

Hooray for Risher and the Liverpool Phil – I think their contributions are highly important, especially within an art form that rarely steps out of its comfort zone.

Comment from Darren Nelsen
Time: April 10, 2008, 2:12 pm

Um… how do I contact Tim? I don’t see his email or a contact form anywhere on his site. Thanks!

Comment from Steve Layton
Time: April 10, 2008, 4:42 pm

Well, who’d a thunk it? I put Tim’s email into the post, and just for good measure, it’s timrisher@googlemail.com.

Comment from jeff harrington
Time: April 10, 2008, 5:06 pm

Well part of my lack of enthusiasm comes from the nature of the hype and articles like this:

http://blog.wired.com/business/2007/10/research-firm-d.html

Seems they really don’t have a million users… and they can’t have audiences of a size more than 80? Warcraft and game VR is already got zillions of users, but the hype goes to them – because of the real estate BS. We were looking into buying an island a few years ago… but they kept raising the prices! Haha…

2nd Life may be a success and it might not. But if you’re looking for downloads and community – the Blogosphere is IT right now. Maybe we’re all just a little bored by having to read! ;)

Here’s some of my old-timey VR from 1997- http://parnasse.com/vrml.shtml :)

Comment from Alex Kotch / Mr. Bacon
Time: April 10, 2008, 5:19 pm

I also imagine VR becoming a successful medium for aspiring perfomers and conductors, as it is becoming a very desirable (yet highly expensive) educational tool. With responsive virtual orchestras, chamber collaborators, rhythm sections, etc. musicians could improve their skills big time.

Comment from Jeff Harrington
Time: April 10, 2008, 7:25 pm

Heh… the main thing people need to understand about VR is that it’s old old old. It’s like AI. It’s the constantly hyped solution for EVERYTHING. As far as virtual telepresence performing mechanisms, I’ll just add that I just gave away two P5 gloves. They were cool… but they’re certainly not good enough to do anything magnificent on.

IMO, we’re back in a new technology holding pattern, waiting for some new way to promo MP3’s. Try everything… but don’t put your faith or $$ in anything, is what I suggest. There is a huge benefit to being a tech early adopter. But right now I can’t even figure out who the hell is downloading my MP3’s at the rate of 2-4 GB a day while my career doesn’t exactly rocket. So what the… ;)

Comment from James Combs
Time: April 10, 2008, 8:48 pm

I would add that its not so much VR that is on the mind of the electronic consumer (even though inevitably it will be one day), its persistent environments. Logging out of a game world which continues while you get back to real life. Of course, you could look at that as VR but its not the idealistic VR we are waiting for. Who doesn’t want the “holodeck?” Who knows how far the government is with VR.

Right now, the reason millions of people play these games such as WoW is to socialize, role play in the persistent world of their choice. So I could see how marketing music could work. This particular game (or online chat room) needs to upgrade the graphics I’d say.

Comment from Bill
Time: April 11, 2008, 7:49 am

It’s a great idea, but this particular app is a resource hog, and I’m hitting latency issues trying to listen to the mp3s. Something lower profile might be a better idea.

Comment from Seth Gordon
Time: April 13, 2008, 12:26 pm

Great. Let’s come up with ways to promote our music more efficiently to people who don’t leave their houses and have no social lives…

Oh, wait – that’s most of us.

The more things change…