METANOMICS: MUSIC BIZ - MARCH 16, 2009
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: Hello, everyone. I’m your host, Robert Bloomfield, and on behalf
of Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management and Remedy
Communications, welcome to Metanomics. Today we welcome a big panel of guests from
the music industry in Second Life: musical performers Cylindrian Rutabaga, Dann Numbers,
Grace McDunnough, DJ Doubledown Tandino, and venue owners Ham Rambler and
JenzZa Misfit. I’ll try to make them all behave, but it’s six against one, and they’re
musicians, and I’m a little bit under the weather so things may get a little bit unruly, but I
think we’ll have a good time.
As always, Metanomics is filmed from the virtual Sage Hall right here in Second Life’s
Metanomics Region, home of Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of
Management. I’d like to say hello to our live audiences at our event partner locations
Confederation of Democratic Sims, Rockliffe University, New Media Consortium, Orange
Island and Muse isle. And hello as well to our growing web audience. If you have trouble
getting in to Second Life, due to a firewall or lack of bandwidth, you can go to
metanomics.net/watchnow and not only see the show live, but participate in backchat
through Intersection Unlimited’s ChatBridge system.
Before we get to our panel, we have a chance to put someone I can only call a
path-breaking musical architect On The Spot. He’s a media composer working in the fields
of advertising, radio, web, video games and Virtual Worlds. He has real life clients, including
Revlon, Nintendo and Czech National Radio, and is doing things in Second Life that only he
can describe. So, Dizzy Banjo, welcome to Metanomics.
DIZZY BANJO: Hey, Rob. Thanks for having me on.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: So, Dizzy, in Second Life, the project that seems closest to your
day job is the Mexico Sim project. Can you tell us what you were aiming for and how, if at
all, that work differed from, say, traditional composition for music in video games?
DIZZY BANJO: Well, I think it’s quite an unusual project, even within Second Life, and it’s
trying to work in this field of virtual tourism I suppose. So the idea of the Mexico project was
about enhancing the sense of immersion the visitors to that location have and doing that
through sound design so we did a whole lot of quite detailed sound design that makes you
really feel like you’re in the environment. Even if you closed your eyes, you’d still feel like
you’re immersed in that environment.
But the really unique thing in Mexico was that we did a soundtrack that went across
numerous Sims, which Mexico built out so that, as you moved around the different
environments, the music was changing with the different type of surroundings that you had
so there was kind of special music for the beach when you go riding, special music for the
temples where you go and explore the temples.
I’d say it’s different from working in video games, in that it’s a very different type of
demographic, and the video games have got quite closed-down demographic, generally
more male oriented and that the age group, although it’s expanding, is quite a small range.
Whereas, we all know Virtual Worlds the demographic is much wider in terms of age and
also is far more equal in terms of the male-female kind of split. So when you’re writing music
for that demographic you’ve got, in some ways, a much bigger palette to work with. It’s
much more expansive and exciting.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: You talked about age and gender, but you didn’t really touch on
nationality. This is a Mexico Sim project, but directed at tourists. I assume you’re pulling
from Mexican themes, but to attract an international audience.
DIZZY BANJO: Well, it was an interesting project because, although it was for Mexico, it
was really about Mayan culture, and the initial project that Mexico did was about promoting
Chichen Itza to become a new wonder of the world, which it did back in 2007, I think, late
2007. And they wanted a musical soundtrack which evoked the spirit of the ancient Mayans.
Obviously, no one really knows what that music was like. So we had to kind of create a very
immersive sort of type of music that would evoke those types of feelings, without having
very much real reference material to go with.
So I think, in terms of the global aspect of it, which is interesting writing for Virtual Worlds,
and it’s very global, in this respect, in this project, it was very much aiming at everyone that
we could. We were trying to make it not specific to a particular type of music that some
people might get into and some people might not.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: Fascinating. Now you went even further off the traditional path
with what you call your gestural music project. What is gestural music?
DIZZY BANJO: Well, there’s a series of projects that I’ve done which, I suppose, try and
explore the more unusual aspects of writing for Virtual Worlds. And one of the key
differences when you’re writing music for, say, a video game, even something like World of
Warcraft and MMO, most of the time the music that you hear in those situations is
essentially a linear piece of music which you’re hearing on your own on your client site, a
piece of software that’s running; it’s just playing a piece of music based on what your
individual character is doing. There are some companies that are trying to develop systems
that move away from that and MMOs. This company called Slipgate Ironworks, which is
developing a big MMO at the moment, is trying to develop a dynamic music system. But, in
general, music for games is oriented around the behavior of a single individual, and so I
think some of the projects that I’ve tried to explore in Second Life have been about creating
music or altering the course of music as you hear it, based around the activities of a group
of people, which really taps into the social aspect of what Second Life is all about.
So gestural music was a set of these things which I kind of refer to as being nonlinear
soundtracks. They’re somewhere between a linear soundtrack and an instrument, and what
it did is, it gave you a series of objects that you could grab with your mouse and just kind of
drag around inside these glowing almost like pie menus, almost like the Second Life pie
menu. And when you get a series of avatars in there playing these things at once, it controls
the playback of a composition, but the people, who are involved in interacting with these
objects, are controlling the path that that piece of music goes in and changes the way that
you hear it each time, so it makes it a quite unique experience.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: You’re really handing control over then to the listener or
DIZZY BANJO: Yeah, definitely. I mean I think that another project that really tried to do
this, which--I’m very interested in ways of doing this necessarily using your interface, using
the technology of a computer in a standard way. So gestural music was about trying to
make you perform arm movements that were very physical and turning that into music.
Another project that I did with Eshi Otawara and Chase Marellan about a year ago now was
called PARSEC, which that was all oriented around taking the voice dynamics of a
conversation between seven avatars and then translating that into music really.
So what we did there is monitored how loud people’s voices were and then made the
loudness of their voices move prims around in the space. And then, as those prims moved,
they generated sound. And all it’s a kind of encouraged more social interaction. We put a
puzzle inside that so that basically it encouraged people to try and explore the music in
different ways and try and take the music to different states. So we actually basically
created a kind of wind state so that, if the group behaved in a certain way, they would steer
the music towards a certain type of sound, and then it would reveal this amazing kind of
solution object, which envelops the people as they’re in the space.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: Is it fair to say that this blurs the distinction between the
composer and the musician--or the performer and the listener?
DIZZY BANJO: Yeah. Well, I think that those are series of different ways that you can look
at this, in terms of how you put this type of stuff together, which I suppose some people
would see it as being destructive to the role of the composer or the musician or someone
that had that kind of--a position. Whereas, I see it as an interesting challenge in something
that’s amazingly, you know, it feels like the reflection of how amazing Virtual Worlds are,
and it sort of feels like something I would just really want to explore. So there are these kind
of, I suppose, sliding scales of where you can place yourself between being the musician or
the listener and where your work is along that scale.
And it also relates to the idea of whether it’s a kind of recorded piece or it’s like this
ephemeral nonlinear piece of music that is changing almost like folk music used to. And
whether, like I said before, it’s like a recording which is a static thing or whether you give
them an instrument which contains all of the possible notes, I mean, that’s what a musical
instrument is. I’d say that my work is kind of in the middle there, and the middle zone is the
sort of interesting area.
And also, I suppose these types of projects can be geared towards individuals, and there’s
quite a lot of work that’s going on at the moment in creating interactive music applications
that are geared towards individuals. One example of that is a rock band which is massively
successful. Or there are things like, you know, similar things they’re being developed on the
iPhone at the moment.
Brian Eno just did an application called Bloom, which is a kind of individual nonlinear piece
of music really. I’d say that my stuff is kind of much more towards the social end of the
spectrum so it’s, in a sense, doing similar things, but not just doing it on your iPhone screen
or doing it in a kind of iPod type mentality, which is all very individualistic. I think a lot of my
stuff tries to do it on a global scale and make it very social.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: When you talk about blurring all these distinctions, there’s been a
lot of talk lately about musicians protecting their intellectual property, and I’m just trying to
figure out exactly what it is of what you are doing [AUDIO GLITCH]
DIZZY BANJO: I lost the end of your voice there, Beyers. I think basically there’s a series of
different trends that relate to all of this work, which, in some ways, I suppose they drive it
and other ways are just interesting. I mean I see that one trend is there’s kind of a massive
shift, obviously like you’re saying, towards illegal downloading of music. There’s this one
figure recently that Chris Hocquard, from Dominion Law--it’s a major music law firm--said
that 85 percent of all music transactions are no longer paid for. That includes all the _____
And there’s this other trend, which is kind of an increased fragmentation of the way that we
consume music, and this sort of leads somewhere; we’re not sure where it goes, I suppose.
This is talking about going from the idea of an album or a symphony to a song, and then
where does it go after that. Basically, does it become something that’s more granular than a
song, which is quite interesting. And then, obviously, we all know that--
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: Oh, I’m back.
DIZZY BANJO: Welcome back.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: Thank you. Well, I’ll have to listen to--I’m sure you gave a
wonderful answer, which I will hear in the archive. But I guess my last question before we go
on to the main panel is: What’s next for you? Where do you see yourself heading over the
next six months or a year?
DIZZY BANJO: I think that a lot of these trends they kind of reveal lots of possibilities really.
There’s lots of challenges that go with them, and I kind of want to continue exploring them in
projects. I’d love to do something that takes some of these projects and try to
cross-reference them or link them in and out of Virtual Worlds so there are kind of local and
global versions simultaneously. So I’d love to do some kind of iPhone application or a
location-based application. I’d love to continue all of this work which is quite experimental,
but then I’m also doing lots of other work which is a lot more straightforward, like a Wii game
at the moment, Nintendo game, so that’s kind of what the future holds for me at the
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: Okay, great. Well, it sounds fascinating. I wish you the best of
luck. Thank you so much, Dizzy Banjo, for joining us on Metanomics.
DIZZY BANJO: Thanks for having me.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: Okay. Now we turn to our main event. We’re joined by a number
of headliners in the music scene today. First, Grace McDunnough is an artist, musician and
a Virtual World experience developer. She’s the creator of Musimmersion, founder of the
Millpond Folk Festival and performs regularly as a live musician in Second Life.
Dann Numbers, his music is a little alt, a little classic, a smidge country and all rock. He is a
singer/songwriter with radio-ready original songs, and I’m told a live show so electric, you’ll
be amazed it’s just acoustic.
Cylindrian Rutabaga is the virtual representation of Atlanta singer/songwriter Grace Buford,
who has been writing songs and performing in Second Life and the regional southeastern
United States with her unique blend of folk, pop, blues and soul. Wrapped up into the
phrase “modern acoustic folk.”
Doubledown Tandino owns and operates the Virtual World event and production company
Ravelong Productions, specializes in music and promotion and is now working in Second
Life full time, focusing on live music, DJ-ing and promotion. And, by the way, if you don’t
think being a DJ makes you a live performer, you haven’t heard Doubledown. And those are
We’re going to hear from them first, but then we’ll be bringing in two venue owners.
JenzZa Misfit is a full time entrepreneur in Second Life. Thousands of Second Life residents
know her as the co-owner of RDV Animations that she runs with business partner,
Valradica Vale. They are the maker of the popular Rendezvous Animator. And people who
watch Metanomics know JenzZa as our avateer, using RDV Animations’ tools for
avateering. So I actually saw in the backchat a number of comments saying, “Wow! Dizzy
looks so real!” And that’s JenzZa’s avateering. JenzZa also has a five-island Muse Isle
connection, which provides Dusan Rider’s Remedy Communications with a destination for
enterprise users who want to understand the resident experience in Second Life.
Finally, we have Ham Rambler, a professional airline pilot and company director who found
Second Life in 2005 and was enthralled by the possibilities of social networking and
community building. Ham became involved in music in Second Life when he opened the
Blarney Stone Bar in 2005. They celebrated opening Dublin a year later, with a 12-hour live
music festival. Now Ham has seven music venues in Dublin, spread over three Sims. So
welcome, all of you, to Metanomics.
Grace McDunnough, I’d like to start with you. Can you just give us a sense of what got you
started performing in Second Life and where it’s taken you?
GRACE McDUNNOUGH: Sure. And thanks for having me, to begin with here. It’s great to
be here. I got started in Second Life in about 2006, maybe eight or so months after I rezzed.
And the reason I started playing was because, in real life, I have very genuine stage fright. I
was following the live music scene here, wishing very much I could be a part of it, and
someone said, “It’s stand in your living room, and give this a shot, and see if you can
overcome a real physical constraint that I have being a musician. And so I gave it a shot,
and I’ve been hooked ever since.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: You’ve been performing very regularly. Has it helped you with
your stage fright in real life?
GRACE McDUNNOUGH: Actually, no. But what I decided was that it actually probably
provided me a way to study these emerging economies that we talk about often here on
Metanomics, which is, I intend to be able to cut a single, cut a CD, something, entirely in the
Virtual World. So without playing in real life, how far can we push this option of virtual
identity, and can you be a virtual performer?
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: Well, I guess, for myself, I’d have to answer yes, since I am only
a virtual talk-show host. It takes people from all over the world to make this show happen,
but it all does take place in Second Life.
Cylindrian Rutabaga, you do a lot of real life performance. Is that right?
CYLINDRIAN RUTABAGA: Yes. I do it as much as I possibly can.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: So what took you into Second Life for performance?
CYLINDRIAN RUTABAGA: Me? Well, I was involved in another chat program, and some
friends of mine had told me about Second Life in January of 2006, and so I thought that
might be a good option. So I created my avatar and logged in, and about the same thing as
Grace, I’ve been hooked ever since.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: I have a question. Since you do so much live performance, and I
actually see in the backchat someone is pointing out that I actually did one live music
performance in Second Life. To me, it was such a different experience. Especially I guess,
to me, it felt like there was a much greater distance between me and the audience. They
can’t actually “see” me and so on. So I’m wondering how do you deal with that and make
the Second Life live performance successful?
CYLINDRIAN RUTABAGA: Well, Second Life is a more intimate venue because, even
though you may feel like you’re far away from your audience, you can communicate with
them more intimately because you can read chat and answer them back, sometimes to the
detriment of the performer because you get sidetracked. But when performing onstage, you
really can’t have a direct conversation during a performance or it becomes disruptive. And
Second Life people can carry on conversations amongst themselves and the artist, and it’s
not as disruptive because the listener is tuned in to the artist with headphones or their
computer, wherever they are, and it’s really very personal between the performer and the
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: And, Dann Numbers, welcome, and thanks for joining us. I’m
wondering, again, just a little bit about your take, I guess, on these two issues: What brought
you in here? What are you getting out of performing here? And how do you make the
performances themselves successful?
DANN NUMBERS: I guess--2006 seems like we all showed up at the same time. My
daughter was born, and I realized that staying out until 2:00 in the morning [AUDIO GLITCH]
so I [AUDIO GLITCH] music [AUDIO GLITCH]
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: I’m sorry, Dann. I’m sorry that your voice is cutting out. We’re
having difficulty getting you. Maybe if you disconnect and reconnect, we’ll be able to bring
you back into this conversation. So I apologize. Doubledown Tandino, welcome to
DOUBLEDOWN TANDINO: Hello, hello.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: Hey, Doubledown, welcome. You’re in a pretty different situation.
You’re not just doing a live performance. You’re doing, in part, it’s DJ-ing, but you’re also
doing promotion. Can you tell us, I guess, a little bit about that side of what you’re doing, not
just playing venues, gigs, parties, but actually working the music scene? What are you doing
DOUBLEDOWN TANDINO: Sure. I just want to thank you for having me, and I want to say
hello and thank you to all the wonderful people that are up here onstage with me. We all
kind of grew up together, as Dann said, Class of 2006. So yeah, when I was in the real life a
couple years ago, I was doing everything that I do in Second Life now, promotion-wise,
marketing, graphic design in relation to events. And I was doing that for ten to fifteen years
nonstop, seven days a week. I was just getting stressed and burnt out, and, wham! that’s
when Second Life hit me. The second that I discovered it, I just got more and more and
more involved to the point where the Second Life career started to take over, and I’ve just
made adjustments in the real life to make this Second Life, I guess, entrepreneurship work
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: I want to point out you mentioned traveling and the hard life in
real life for people involved in the music scene. I see, in the backchat, Dirk Talamasca says,
“Even before you piped up with that,” he says, “no more lugging those amps in the rain 45
miles from home at 3:00 A.M,” and that sounds a lot--go ahead.
DOUBLEDOWN TANDINO: Yeah. There’s so many reasons as to why performing in
Second Life is more fun, more engaging and easier, if you’re going to try to compare it to
real life performing. But, yeah, my day currently consists of just waking up and maybe I have
a planned gig, maybe I don’t, and I can kind of just roll out of bed and walk right over to my
DJ system and start performing for people all over the world. That never happens in real life.
You can’t just walk out of your house and just walk down to the coffee shop and start setting
up your DJ equipment, and there’s your show. So there’s just so many reasons why, when
Second Life came into existence and when we all kind of got involved, how this music scene
and the whole just Second Life community scene came together at the right time and made
what happened, why we are where we are today.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: I’m looking in the backchat, and Charlie Gearbox is asking a
question close to my accounting professor’s heart: How do they monetize a Second Life
music career? Actually, I guess, Doubledown, we’ll stick with you for a sec. How do you
actually monetize this?
DOUBLEDOWN TANDINO: I would say it’s tough, especially in the current
depression/economic state. I mean the real life is falling apart economically as well, so it’s
not like we’re in much of a different boat. However, yes, in Second Life Lindens and Second
Life money, it doesn’t translate to a real live living. So when I was in the real life, I had a
savings, and it was just sort of the right time to put a project and myself into Second Life.
And, since then, yeah, I’ve made plenty of cutbacks.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: Cylindrian, how about you?
CYLINDRIAN RUTABAGA: Well, for me, the Second Life economy and earning, I guess, is
more supplemental. I’m a music teacher in the Real World so I teach private music lessons.
The economy has hit me pretty hard too, but Second Life gives me an opportunity to market
CDs and play performances for residential communities that hire me to come in and play or
private parties or weddings, things like that, when people want a musician. I have incredible
fans that are just very supportive of me being a single mom and musician trying to get by in
this world. So, yahoo, to my fans. I love you all.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: I see Dusan Writer in the backchat is making fun of business
buzzwords like “monetize,” but I’ll use another one, which is “loss leader.” So it sounds like
maybe, for a musician in Second Life, it’s somewhere between a loss leader, something you
do to build buzz, to get a following and maybe a hobby.
Grace, just on sort of the revenue side, are you bringing in money as well through music, or
is it really just for performance?
GRACE McDUNNOUGH: I do bring in money. I play for fees and tips and have been very
fortunate toward that end. It keeps my streaming server paid for and various things that you
need, to be a musician. But I would say that most of what I’m doing now, based on what I
told you earlier, is considered a loss leader. But I actually had someone show up in Second
Life, who said they heard one of my songs out on the web, and that’s why they came into
Second Life was to hear me. So I know that’s got reach, and I know it’s working. So, for me,
that’s what I’m counting on.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: Okay, great. Dann Numbers, do we have you back?
DANN NUMBERS: Am I back?
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: You are back. You are back. Sound great. Actually, maybe just
give us a sense of what you’re doing in Second Life and your view on this same question.
Of course, musicians never really do it for the money, but it’s nice if there is money.
DANN NUMBERS: That’s not true. Yeah. Go ahead.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: No, no. You’re the guest. People want to hear you.
DANN NUMBERS: Sorry. I guess it’s a weird thing because it’s a total mix. It’s an
opportunity to play at 7:00 in the morning in Boston, for people who are in the UK or in other
countries that have become my biggest and most devoted fans. And it’s really, really
awesome that I have my coffee and my ‘jamas. And I’m able to play my music [AUDIO
GLITCH] are fantastic and definitely a plus. It’s getting the music out there to everybody.
That’s the really big draw.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: I must say that sound to me was a little unusual. Sometimes it’s
better for SLCN, but it sounded like you said everything twice, which was an interesting
effect. Maybe you have you reverb on too high from your concert settings, something like
that. But we’ll try to come back. Okay, so I see some people are hearing it just fine.
I’d like to actually move on to our venue owners, and let’s start with Ham Rambler and get
your take on the music scene in Second Life. Ham, welcome to Metanomics.
HAM RAMBLER: Thank you. It’s an awesome pleasure to be here.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: It’s great to hear your voice, and I understand your accent does
not actually match where you are today. Tell us where you are today.
HAM RAMBLER: Okay. Today I’m coming to you from the 21st floor of the Hilton Hotel in
Sao Paulo, where I’m working with the rock group, Iron Maiden. I’m actually flying their tour
aircraft, which we want to see a picture up on wall, I think, of their tour aircraft, on their world
tour. So we’re in Sao Paulo today, and tomorrow we head up to Belo Horizonte, and we
spend the next three weeks touring around South America and finally ending up in
Fort Lauderdale, I think, for the last gig of the tour.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: Okay. So you get a good look at the real life music scene, as well
as the Second Life music scene. It sounds different in Second Life to say you’re a club
owner since that has some different associations, but you’re basically booking musicians.
You’ve got a bunch of Sims. That’s definitely a fair bit of money out-of-pocket every month.
Do you make money off that? Let me just ask that first.
HAM RAMBLER: Sure. Yes, it’s always a question that comes up is how do you either
make money or even just cover your costs in Second Life. And, in my case, I’m running
three Dublin Sims, but I also own and run a San Diego Sim, so I have four Sims I’m running
with. The interesting aspect of it I’ve discovered is, as soon as you take what I would call a
city build, you can go out and market that to real businesses, and, in my case, real Dublin
businesses or Irish businesses, from a marketing point of view, at a very reasonable level.
So I actually have quite a reasonable level of income from real Dublin business sponsorship
that more than cover my Second Life costs. And I won’t say I necessarily make money out
of it yet, but I think there’s something on the horizon that might change that. Luckily I’m in a
position where, of course, my main job of flying airplanes more than covers any of my other
So for me, there’s two elements to the live music scene as far as I’m concerned. One is for
me to have venues that I can get musicians into and get them performing and get them
playing to a worldwide audience. But also, from my point of view, it’s linking the Real World
and Second Life venues, which I do a fair amount of, of simulcasting from real life venues.
In fact, right now this week, we’re actually simulcasting four shows from the Southwest
Music Festival in Texas into the Blarney Stone. So it is one of those lovely benefits for me,
not only to work within the music industry as I am doing now, slightly, even as a technical
bus driver, but to be able to link to Second Life music scene and the real life music scene so
effectively and to have my costs covered by real businesses who just want their branding or
their names in my Sims.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: Actually, let’s bring in our last guest JenzZa Misfit. JenzZa,
welcome again to Metanomics.
JENZZA MISFIT: Hey, Beyers, thanks for having me. Can you hear me okay?
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: Yeah. You sound great. You’ve got what, five or six Sims now?
JENZZA MISFIT: Five Sims.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: And you’ve got concerts all the time. Are they bringing in money
JENZZA MISFIT: Well, first, I’d like to say hi to my fellow panelists as well, because I notice
we are all Class of 2006, except for Grandpa Ham, who is 2005, and we’re not worthy,
Ham Rambler. Ham has blazed a trail for all of us. Who just hung up?
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: That’s Dann.
JENZZA MISFIT: Okay. I actually acquired Muse Isle when it was about ten months old,
and the original owner had a business that was supporting it, paying the tier on the island
and what have you. I came in as just a private citizen with a big vision, and, to be honest, I
present live music because I have a love of music. I have a love of the people who present
music. And, in answer to the question does it generate any revenue for me, the answer is an
absolute no. So having said that, I’ve been successful in other ways, and that allows me to
continue the work that I love doing, which is the live music.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: Okay. Dann may be back. Dann, do we have you back?
DANN NUMBERS: I might be. Am I back?
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: That sounds pretty good. Maybe you can last longer than you did
last time. But, at this point, I’d like to throw it open a little bit. First let me just make an
observation. What I’m hearing now is basically Second Life is a great place for musicians
who just want a chance to perform and getting a chance for a little more exposure or just for
their own personal benefit, that they like to perform. Venue owners are again getting some
exposure. It seems like, at best, everyone’s hoping just to cover their costs. I guess I’m
wondering: Do you guys all see this as a sustainable model? Is the music scene going to be
able to thrive in this model? And, Dann, as long as I’ve got your voice, what do you think?
DANN NUMBERS: I think it totally depends on the fans. It depends on people actually
being able to, you know, people who are interested in Second Life coming to shows and that
kind of thing. It’s a little more difficult for original musicians, as it is in any real life or Second
Life, any world, to have people who consistently come back and come see you play day in
and day out. I guess it’s sustainable as long as the talent’s there, which it is, and that people
know about it, I guess. I wish there was a way to get more publicity, I guess.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: That actually leads to a question I’d also like to hear people’s
thoughts on, which is: What could make this a better place for music? Are there things
Linden Lab could do? I often hear from small business owners Linden Lab could do a better
job of helping promote, and it sounds like that’s what you’re calling for. Grace, do you have
any thoughts on this?
GRACE McDUNNOUGH: Yeah. I agree with Dann. Publicity and awareness are huge
issues. Right? Fundamentally, I have frustrations with the event system and generally a lack
of an integrated what I’ll call an advertising system where it’s not billboards and posts on the
mainland, cutting things to bits, which we’re overcoming now, which is great. But a real way
to get the word out without having to rely on groups and, even to some extent,
Subscribomatic, right, because those are people who have already expressed an interest.
And, more often than not, we’re trying to reach an audience that is unaware. And so it’s
allowing us to reach out to people who may have not joined a group and never heard of live
music before, but nine times out of ten, if I tell someone there’s live music in Second Life,
they say, “Really? How do you do that?” And there’s a lot of interest, but we’re struggling
with awareness, I think, right now.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: Really? Now that’s interesting. Cylindrian, is that your take as
CYLINDRIAN RUTABAGA: Yeah, I think a lot of it has to do with the artist getting the word
out about themselves too. I mean I’ve been very happy and pleased with taking on a
promotions company to help me out with that so I can be free to teach more during the day
and not spend so much time doing a lot of marketing myself on various websites. I think
trying to incorporate other social media platforms has been really helpful to me and just
encouraging the folks that like the music that I play to tell their friends and have it be more of
a word-of-mouth kind of thing.
I’m a very personal artist and write music that’s very personal, and so I’m quite happy and
content being in the position that I’m in, playing for people that just like that intimate kind of
music, and I don’t mind that. And also, when places get too packed it cuts down on the--the
listener in Second Life has problems with lag and technical issues. And also when you have
a very full Sim, the tips go down because people can’t find tip jars, and something like that,
those technical issues end up happening. So having 30, 40 people in Second Life at a show
is just fine for me, unless there’s some way that we can, like you guys, do tie-ins to a bunch
of different Sims, if we can get the word out about shows. But there’s a lot of people online
that we’re not tapped into yet, but I guess one day we can educate everybody.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: I’m wondering if any of you would be willing to talk a little bit
about the listener experience or, really, not just listener, but someone who’s attending a
concert. We can all listen to music through recorded media, the radio or whatever, but
certainly, in real life, people go to concerts for specific reasons, and it’s different from
recorded music. How much of that, from the audience perspective, are we capturing through
Second Life music? Anyone who wants to speak to that, just pipe up. We’ll hear from Dann
and then Ham.
DANN NUMBERS: Sure. Actually, I fall victim very often to hysterics because I read chat
too much as I’m playing. And often I’ve even forgotten lyrics to my own songs. And the other
fun thing about that too is, it’s a super interactive experience when somebody sends me a
note card with lyrics on it. And, all of a sudden, I’ve learned Greensleeves, a fifteenth
century English folksong. I play it all the time now. It’s great, so much fun.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: And Ham?
HAM RAMBLER: Yes. I started off probably like many other people on the panel. I just
started off as a resident of Second Life, and I was brought along to a Frogg Marlowe
concert, and that was the first live music event I went to in Second Life. I was completely
blown away by a lot of things that Cylindrian mentioned, the intimacy of it, the fact that you
do generate a rapport with the artist. You get a feeling of your being in a small, intimate
venue. And this was on the mainland so we were restricted to 50 people then. I think I was
so impressed by the whole experience, I wanted to go out and basically build something so I
could have it for myself so I could have my own artists coming in and playing so I just enjoy
And, in terms of getting the message out there and getting a broader appeal to it, I’m always
amazed when I go to real life music venues and I arrange simulcasting of their events, quite
often the musicians there are impressed by learning there’s another way for them to get an
audience. But also the number of people who have never heard of Second Life in that
context, and that is something that certainly we need to get the message out there. I’m
working with one of the main newspapers in real life Dublin, who have offered to list the
Second Life music events in the What’s On In Dublin section in their newspaper. So you’ll
have the real life Dublin events on one page and the Second Life music events on the other
page. And it’s just finding a way to do that and get more exposure and get more people
aware that Second Life music events are unique. They’re good. There’s some incredible
artistry out there, and they deserved to be listened to.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: Good luck with the real life press there. That’s a great idea. I’m
wondering since you’re in Europe so you’re a number of hours ahead of Second Life Time,
I’m wondering there are definitely challenges. I saw a little discussion in the backchat about
the challenges of the time zones. And so I’m wondering, do you schedule concerts sort of
24/7 so that you can reach different audiences, or are you primarily going for a local Dublin
HAM RAMBLER: The number of Dublin people who actually visit Second Life Dublin is
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: Right.
HAM RAMBLER: Dublin, in Second life, to me, is an international venue, and therefore, we
stage concerts’ time zones to suit our broad range of residents and people who come and
visit the place. We have concerts all around the clock in Second Life time, depending on
what audience we want to attract.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: Cylindrian and Grace, you’re both, and actually Dann, all three of
you are individual performers. Are you usually doing concerts at times that would be--do you
shift them around to different times to suit different audiences?
CYLINDRIAN RUTABAGA: I try to. I do my best to.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: That’s Cylindrian. Is that right?
DOUBLEDOWN TANDINO: Yeah.
DOUBLEDOWN TANDINO: I’m Doubledown.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: Yeah, Doubledown?
DOUBLEDOWN TANDINO: I personally enjoy doing the off-hours stuff, 3:00 in the morning
for Australians or European midday. Whenever I feel like playing is when I want to do it.
GRACE McDUNNOUGH: For me, one of the most humbling experiences I think is
interacting with a crowd and knowing that someone is somewhere, and it’s 4:00 A.M., and
they’re there listening to you. It’s a remarkable feeling, and it’s quite humbling. So I try to
play around the clock, if I can get a gig in earlier hours. But I got to tell you, the people who
come to live music are just simply amazing in their dedication. It’s a remarkable experience.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: I should just mention here I see in the backchat--I’m not sure I’m
pronouncing this correctly--Bourque Rau says, “I have an experiment this month where I’m
bringing 20 gigs to large groups of people in Second Life, who gather for reasons other than
music, getting musicians playing tips-only gigs. They’ve done nine so far in twelve days.”
And he believes about a hundred people in ten days have heard Second Life live music for
the first time. So, Bourque Rau, all power to you, and I hope that works out well.
I know, just for our own part, with Metanomics--and actually, JenzZa, maybe I’ll bring you
into this as well--I’ve been talking with JenzZa for a long time about, of course, my interest is
bringing enterprise users into Second Life, primarily for enterprise, but it’s essential to get
them to understand the Second Life experience and find the culture here as well. And so it’s
great to link up with the Muse Isle connection. JenzZa, what’s your thought on how
successful that’s going to end up being?
JENZZA MISFIT: Well, Beyers, I’m really excited about the future, and I echo what Grace
just said. I am always amazed, for example, Dann Numbers, speaking of Dann Numbers,
performs at a three-artist event that I have every other Monday, called ROCK THE ARENA.
It’s tonight, folks, 5:00 P.M. Three hours of live music. And there are people, in other time
zones, that go to bed and set their clock to get up because it’s 4:00 A.M. in the morning for
them. But they do that because they want to be able to come and hear whatever favorite
artist. And so it is a real humbling and a real personal feeling, this different dynamic of
audience and artist interaction. And the dedication of the patrons is simply amazing.
I’m really looking forward to the future. I believe there are a lot enterprise users that would
only come in for business meetings if they didn’t know that there was something else to
glean from all of this. I’m happy to be working with you and with Dusan Writer and
Metanomics and Remedy, to be part of all of that for the future. So, come on to Muse isle.
Of course, I’m going to say that.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: Well, I should mention that I brought in one enterprise user, a
colleague of mine who’s at the Financial Accounting Standards Board this year. It’s all work
and research and stuff like that, but it turns out he was also my accompanist when I sang
those jazz standards at the party in January. So he’s now becoming part of the music
JENZZA MISFIT: Professor Ray will be doing a series of concerts. Stay tuned.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: I see some more comments. We’re just at the end, unfortunately,
of what is always a very brief discussion. This is going back to what Linden Lab could do.
We’ve got Valiant Westland saying the calendar issue is huge. And Dizzy Banjo talking
about Linden Lab could have a live video or music stream for music gigs going on right now
on the front page of the website. And Dizzy mentions right now they do have those current
videos and those photos of basically flirting. I wonder, do you think that’s something that
Linden Lab would be responsive to? And this is an alternative: Do you think that there’s
some opportunity for an event-oriented version of a Second Life exchange? I don’t know if
any of you have a reaction to that.
DOUBLEDOWN TANDINO: Yeah, I’ll take a Second Life version of the exchange. That
DANN NUMBERS: Any kind of publicity to bring people into Second Life, that know what’s
going on in Second Life, even if they just listen to the streaming, it’s a great, great, great
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: What I find is that it’s much easier to find items for sale than to
find information about events. I don’t know if that’s also your experience. Is that
DOUBLEDOWN TANDINO: Yeah. Just the other thing. I mean obviously, products and
objects, they stay there forever, and events happen. They happen once. And plus,
everybody’s always pumping out nonstop events all the time. So at the same time, I
definitely agree with all the panel that everything event-related in the search and in groups
could be better. It’s really hard to miss a music event. All you got to is open search “live
music,” and you’ll see what’s happening.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: Okay. Great. I’m afraid we’re basically out of time. I do have a
bunch of announcements, just because our guests have all been kind enough to provide me
with some information about events that they personally have coming up. We’ve got a CD
release by Dann Numbers. And, Dann, tell me if I’m pronouncing this correctly: Paradiso
DANN NUMBERS: It’s Paradiso “uvioso.”
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: “Uvioso.” Okay. And that’s today from 5:00 to 8:00, Second Life
Time, at Muse Isle. Is that right.
DANN NUMBERS: I’m the 6:00 show.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: You are the 6:00 show. Okay. Great. And so before and after
that, JenzZa, you have some other things going on?
JENZZA MISFIT: Right. We have three artists every other Monday for ROCK THE ARENA,
and tonight we’re going to combine Dann’s CD release party. So at 5:00, we have
Andreas Gustafson; 6:00, Dann Numbers; and, 7:00, Dale Katscher. And it’s always a great
time so we hope folks will stop over. We’re also kicking off our involvement in Relay For
Life. Dirk Talamasca and I are heading up a team, and the kiosks are out, so we invite
everybody to give your full support to that effort.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: Okay. Doubledown Tandino, you’ve got a couple things going on,
a bunch of things, but, every Thursday, 8:00 to 10:00 A.M., Second Life Time, new deep
jazzy world beat music? Can you tell us about that?
DOUBLEDOWN TANDINO: Yeah. It’s actually at Muse Isle, in front of the RDV Animation
shop. JenzZa found me and said I love what you do. Let’s do something, and I said, “Yes,
let’s do something.” And it turned out what we do is the Rendezvous on Thursdays, where I
get to play the music that I love. And the time I picked it’s ripe for that kind of music, that
new jazz. Hopefully, the Americans are at work, tuning in, in their office. The Europeans are
getting home and trying to relax. And, hopefully, it’s just hitting a niche market of the
opposite of any kind of music you would hear, and you get to find out that you like it.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: Okay. And, Ham, you mentioned that, on this Thursday, from
5:00 to 11:00, Second Life Time, the South By Southwest six-hour simulcast teleport? Can
you give us again just a brief description of what’s going to be happening?
HAM RAMBLER: Yes, of course. The background is, we do a regular simulcast from a
place called The Bedford in Balham, in South London, and they have moved out and
decamped to Austin, Texas, for the South by Southwest Festival. So every night at 6:00, UK
artists, performing live, simulcast at the Blarney Stone, featuring headline act of the
Proclaimers onstage in the Blarney Stone on the Friday night.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: Okay. And, Dann Numbers, you’re playing this coming Sunday,
and I see the time listed for that, if I have this right, is 4:00 to 5:00 A.M. Pacific time. Is that
DANN NUMBERS: That is true. That is absolutely correct: 7:00 in the morning in Boston.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: Okay. And you’re a school teacher? Do I have that right?
DANN NUMBERS: That’s true, yes.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: Well, you’re up early every day anyway. Who’s your audience for
that? Do you think there are people listening to you, on the east coast, early in the morning?
Or are you picking up people on the other side of the world?
DANN NUMBERS: Actually, I think some of my most fervent, ardent listeners and who have
been the most supportive are from the UK, from Ireland, from other countries. I’m playing,
and it’s practically tomorrow, where they’re three or four hours ahead of us. And I’m just
unbelievably lucky to have met some amazing people in Second Life, playing shows that
say, “Hey, play a show at noon for us, and we’ll get people there.” I’ve been really, really
blest that they do that. [AUDIO GLITCH]
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: Okay. And, Cylindrian, I know you have real life shows this week.
When are you in Second Life again performing?
CYLINDRIAN RUTABAGA: I was just about to consult my Google calendar. I think I have
something on the schedule for Thursday night. I believe it’s a rez day party for someone that
was originally scheduled for Wednesday. But, if there’s anybody in Atlanta that wants to
come out and see me at the Atlanta Room of Smith’s Old Bar, and you’re in the area, please
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: Okay. And, Grace, well, Grace, you’re in Atlanta. I don’t know if
I’m allowed to ask, in Second Life, have you two met in real life? You don’t have to answer
that if you don’t want to. But, Grace, you’re playing tomorrow at 5:00 P.M., Second Life
Time. Is that right?
GRACE McDUNNOUGH: Yes, west of Ireland, for Project Children as part of the festivities.
And [Grace?] and I have not met in real life yet. We have every intention to take over the
Atlanta music scene though, so we met you first.
CYLINDRIAN RUTABAGA: I’m recruiting my fellow friends in the Atlanta area. I’ve got a
few of them that have finally joined Second Life, so the lead singer of the band that I just
joined is now in Second Life. Though she’s going to get up and go on soon. She’s
broadcasted with me before, from my house, and me from her house. So it’s getting there.
DANN NUMBERS: Don’t forget our show in two weeks.
CYLINDRIAN RUTABAGA: We’ll have to have you in, Grace.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: Fantastic. Wait now, so Freestar Tammas says Cylindrian is
playing at 6:00 A.M. tomorrow morning at FSB Mountain State. Cylindrian, is that true?
CYLINDRIAN RUTABAGA: Yes. Yes. I knew I had something else on there, but it’s not in
the brain right now.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: Aren’t you glad you came on Metanomics so you could find out
that you have something, and what is that about 13 hours. Well, best of luck to all of you,
and thank you for coming on to Metanomics. And I wish I could say we’d have a big concert
immediately after, but we just weren’t able to pull that together. Thank you all for joining us.
HAM RAMBLER: Thank you.
CYLINDRIAN RUTABAGA: Thank you.
JENZZA MISFIT: Thanks, Beyers. Thanks so much.
GRACE McDUNNOUGH: Thanks.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: Bye bye. Now regular viewers know that we close Metanomics
with an opinion piece, Connecting The Dots. And today I have a couple announcements
following up on prior segments of Connecting The Dots. Two weeks ago, after a great
conversation with cultural anthropologist Tom Boellstorff and Celia Pearce, I made some
comments about the opportunities for experimental research in Virtual Worlds, to test
anthropological theory, using Virtual Worlds as laboratories or as some people heard it,
“Welcome, little avatars, to my laboratory, and let me vivisect you like real scientists would.”
Well, I exaggerate, but if you take a look at the 20-odd comments on Dusan Writer’s post
after the show, you’ll see that there’s a lot more to talk about than we could cover in one
hour. And Tom and Celia definitely wanted to follow up on my remarks. So follow it up we
Tom Boellstorff, Celia Pearce and I have arranged to have a panel discussion on the
following topic: What can qualitative and experimental methods tell us about Virtual worlds
and culture? We’ll be joined by another anthropologist, Thomas Mallaby, who is also an
active author on the academic blog Terra Nova. We don’t yet have a place, and we’re
looking now for a moderator, but we do have a date and time. It’s going to be Monday,
March 30th, 11:00 A.M., Second Life Time. So this should be a pretty interesting
conversation, and we will make sure that you know more details as they become available.
Now, second, last week on Connecting The Dots, I talked at some length on what someone
called the creepiness factor in Second Life, and the next thing I know Linden Lab
announces sweeping new policies governing what is arguably one of the creepier parts of
Second Life: adult content. Well, that’s certainly worth some discussion, and we’re trying to
pull that off. We have an acceptance from one of the premier names in Second Life adult
entertainment, Stroker Serpentine, and we’re waiting on confirmation from someone to
represent Linden Lab and someone to represent the enterprise community. And we’re
hoping to pull something off as soon as we can.
My guess is, it’s going to be tough to get a Linden, since I know they are going to want to
manage this conversation very carefully, but I think that we can have a pretty constructive
discussion to try to understand what this new policy means for the long-term future of
Second Life and what some of the difficulties in the transition are likely to be. So, again, as
soon as we have details, we’ll let you know.
Finally, join us next week when we get a look at one of the key people behind the cameras
at our broadcaster, SLCN. We’re going to hear from Gary Wisniewski, Wiz Nordberg in
Second Life, who is the CEO of SLCN, who will be telling us what SLCN has been up to for
the past couple years or so, with their many, many shows. Metanomics is only one. And
we’ll also get a look at what is ahead as they open up their new venture, Treet TV.
So I hope to see you next week. Bye bye.
Transcribed by: http://www.hiredhand.com
Second Life Avatar: Transcriptionist Writer