Second Life in Action
To help him reach his wide fan base, singer-songwriter Luc Floreani recently turned to online 'virtual' world, Second Life, to perform. He spoke to New Media Knowledge about his experience.
Australian Luc Floreani is a London-based singer/song-writer with a global audience. He will be appearing in the movie 'Dangerous to Know' - acting as Lord Byron alongside some household names - due for release later this year. To help him reach his wide fan base, Luc recently turned to online 'virtual' world, Second Life, to perform. He spoke to New Media Knowledge about his experience.
What made you think of performing a gig on Second Life? Were you a user of the site previously?
No, I had never even heard of Second Life before I was approached by the venue we were booked to do a gig at. When they explained the concept to me I was first amazed that it existed then couldn’t wait to get started. I spend a lot of time between Australia and the UK so I feel Second Life is an incredible medium for keeping in contact with people who like our stuff. Also, there’s the cost of flying back and forth and the time. You get the same energy from a Second Life gig as you do from a live gig without the transit time or jetlag!
How easy was it to get set up?
It’s incredibly easy, even for a guy like me who is a 'pens and paper' sort of guy. I think it took about 25 minutes to download then you’re in. I did have someone help set up my avatar, so I guess I had help.
How did it 'work'?
It’s fantastic! We do our normal gig, the band and I are all mic’d up, running through the mixing desk like normal, and we just play! Then on a screen either behind or in front of us we see the virtual performance. It is a little scary to see yourself in cartoon form.
What is great is that people on Second Life can type feedback to you, so the trick is to sing, perform, read feedback and then respond to a live and virtual crowd. It’s great fun. I am still amazed that you can sing to so many countries live at the same time and get feedback instantly from individuals.
How did you market yourself on the site?
The guys that run the virtual gigs advertised it on the billboards on Second Life and we sent out blogs on Facebook and MySpace. We also had venues in Australia put on a 'virtual gig night' for us. So a virtual gig in a bar involves a big screen, great PA system, a laptop and people.
How did you interact with the audience?
I communicated through the audio feed and the audience can type a response. I see their responses on the screen. Members of the virtual audience can also see other comments so they feed off each other. We always have a screen up so our live audience can respond to our virtual audience. It sounds complicated but it’s not at all.
What was the audience turn out?
That is amazing, you can get thousands, but it depends on the size of the virtual venue. I love the intimacy of the gig because you can get individual reactions. Our first gig started with about 50 people and our last gig was a few thousand. I think we had one gig where we played to over 40 different countries.
What, for you, are the key benefits for musicians of using Second Life as a new performance media?
The key benefit for us is [reaching] new audiences. For a reasonably new band like us, getting our music to new people is really important. Also, the follow on from that is people can then link straight to the website or iTunes or Napster and buy our music. So I guess we have more control over distribution and so we have more control over how we promote our music.
Would you use it again and would you recommend the site to other aspiring musicians?
Absolutely! I am a convert! It’s easy and it gets your music out there, also you get feedback about which songs of your people really like. That’s really important.
Duran Duran are big fans of Second Life – did you meet them there?