Imagine a personalized online world where a user’s Instagram pictures are in a museum gallery, and their favorite songs play in a virtual club where people can come and listen. Then imagine selling merchandise from that personalized world.
That’s what a new company called Auggy is aiming to do: enable everyone to create their own personal metaverse.
“We’re trying to create a Metaverse that your grandmother can understand,” Auggy founder and creator Sidney Swift told Yahoo Finance in an interview.
The music producer turned tech guru says every person already has their own digital world that lives across different platforms on the Internet. He is creating the opportunity to allow anyone to create their own Metaverse by consolidating their Internet presence, dragging and dropping all their Instagram pictures, favorite Spotify playlists and Youtube videos in one place, thus creating their own digital world.
“It’s hyper focused on their own identity and then it allows them to capitalize off of that digital identity,” Swift said.
Swift is positioning Auggy for cryptocurrency newbies as well as pros. Users can have a crypto wallet, but don’t have to. And as more people become more familiar with crypto, Auggy will help usher them to more advanced levels of the metaverse.
Platform users own their own metaverse as a non fungible token (NFT), and can buy and sell NFTs on it. Users can take their Metaverse and import it into Facebook or create digital games on the platform, and license them to PlayStation or even license their whole Metaverse to Pixar.
According to the creator, NFTs are going to explode in 2022 – and their applications to music are only just beginning.
“We haven’t even scratched the surface on the capabilities of how you can use an NFT around not just a song but around lyrics, melody, behind the scenes footage and around an artist’s entire album and brand,” he stated.
Swift envisions letting fans weigh in on the songwriting process through offering an NFT campaign with an artist, where fans can purchase 10,000 NFTs – and then have ownership in the decision making of the artists songwriting and producing.
“We’re going to see a lot more people participate in equity ownership of songs,” says Swift. “Like in 2027, I think 90% of people will have crypto wallets and own NFTs.”
‘Monetizing your own metaverse’
Swift — a music producer who used to work with Beyonce and Nicki Minaj, among others — got the idea for creating a personalized metaverse back in 2017, when he was experimenting with trying to get more engagement with fans for artists.
“I saw so many missed opportunities for fan conversion in the music world, especially as Spotify and streaming started to come out where it was more of a passive audience experience rather than like an active audience experience,” Swift told Yahoo Finance.
He created and patented a way for a music video to trigger a game on a phone, enabling a user to engage with the song-turned game. Using augmented reality (AR), bad guys could fly into the player’s room and could be shot down, he explained.
“We found that the secondary experiences were five times the amount of streams and that people kept playing the game over and over,” he said. “That allowed us to tap into a very different revenue model than traditional media.”
Right now, Auggy is an invite only platform, as it experiments in beta with artists like Lil’ Dicky, influencers and brands like Herschel bags for the next few months. But it has plans to eventually open it up to anyone who wants to sign up, and will be free.
Auggy plans to take a small royalty from any NFTs created using its metaverse maker. Users can set their own royalty rate for their metaverses, games, and experiences.
Swift said a couple restaurants are already using Auggy, offering AR menus and NFT membership. Artists on Auggy are attaching games to their songs or offering NFTs that are only available while watching their video, or listening to their song on their metaverse.
“We’re offering artists the ability to make it a very curated special experience for people at the inflection point of their attention span,” Swift said. In that way, the metaverse offers artists a whole new way to market themselves and monetize their craft.
“Identifying the audience and then kind of hand holding each of them through a different series of campaigns we can serve them exactly the experiences that they want and get them to buy the artist’s music,” he added.
Ultimately, Swift laid out the following scenario of where he sees the metaverse going: At its core, a television commercial could be playing and your phone would recognize what television commercials you’re watching. Then, the company for the commercial could send a discount code to your phone to purchase items at that store.
Swift envisions being able to use that discount code to enter that company’s Metaverse and purchase items while trying on digital fashions, or taking virtual tours at different locations in Paris.
“You can then integrate all of the opportunistic, digital experiences that I think a lot of companies are missing out on because they don’t have the infrastructure of a tech company to be able to facilitate all of that bandwidth,” he told Yahoo Finance.
From there, Swift sees users being able to sell their own merchandise, and earn secondary sales from it by touting your favorite things. “It’s a way to monetize and create an experience for anybody who is interacting with you and your personal brand on the internet,” he added. “Everyone should have and be able to monetize their own metaverse.”
Still, Swift doesn’t see Auggy competing with Meta Platforms ‘ (FB) eagerly awaited metaverse. He believes there will be multiple metaverses, and that everything will be decentralized.
Swift doesn’t think Facebook will pursue a centralized metaverse and collect big data, which may lead to public outrage. He suggested the company should focus on becoming a hardware company that offers the experience of augmented reality glasses, and position itself to be the go-to shop to buy the hardware to operate in the metaverse.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg is investing heavily in the metaverse and hopes to draw in 1 billion people to the metaverse in the next ten years, attracting users from its existing Facebook ecosystem where it hopes to leverage digital commerce.
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