Angelbaby Owner Hume Lands $11.7 Million For Virtual Music ‘Metastars’

Hume, the tech and music company behind virtual “metastar” angelbaby, said it has raised $11.7 million to create and finance more Web3-based musical artists.

Angelbaby, which Hume previously acquired from FLUF.World’s array of digital NFT characters, is somewhat like the improbably popular virtual social-media star LilMiquela, but with significant sci-fi backstory and a clutch of songs created by hit-making producer/songwriters who previously worked with prominent real-world artists such as Grammy winners Selena Gomez, Dua Lipa and Demi Lovato.

Among the artists involved with Hume as investors and advisors are Aloe Blacc and G Money. The funding round was led by TCG Crypto, with participation from Collaboration Currency, Winklevoss Capital, the Gemini Frontier Fund, Flamingo DAO, Noise DAO, Distributed Global, and Coopahtroopa.

Hume is using Web3 and the virtual characters it creates or acquires to shortcut some of the music industry’s limitations, while leveraging fan connections and financing potential created with blockchain-based technologies. That means “metastar” characters that live in online virtual worlds of the Metaverse, supported by the kind of musical talent that helps actual human singers assemble their hit songs.

“Today’s record labels are not designed for a digital world and the industry is filled with bureaucracy and politics that limit the connection between artists and fans,” said Hume cofounder and CEO David Beiner. “We created Hume to build a world of metaverse-native virtual artists and build a platform that harnesses NFTs to redefine the fan-to-artists relationship so that the community can actively participate in the creative process.”

Crypto buyers can acquire a stake in an up-and-coming character from Hume by purchasing a non-fungible token that gives them a piece of the intellectual property. That can provide them a stake as well in the songs associated with that character and other revenues should it become popular.

“Virtual money is here, virtual people are next,” said Hume cofounder Jay Stolar. “For me, the metaverse and the ability to be part of metastars unlocks creativity in ways that we could never do before. I know a lot of songwriters who are unbelievable performers but don’t want to perform onstage.”

Unlike most of the existing music business, Hume pays its songwriters and producers upfront for their time working on a project, and gives the creators a share of resulting song royalties and an NFT of the song, which in turn could be sold.

“The web3 music space isn’t just introducing new monetization models, it’s introducing entirely new genres and experiences,” said TCG Crypto partner Jarrod Dicker in a release.” Through this, fans will become more deeply connected with their favorite artists and the moments that propel that passion. We believe that Hume’s approach will be the driving force in this next evolution of the music business.”

Stolar and Beiner acknowledge the approach they’re using works great in the Web3 virtual world, but represent a different approach from most of what passes as normal in the traditional music industry, including the idea of ​​paying songwriters upfront for their contributions.

“It’s one of the great challenges,” Beiner said. “The traditional world still works a lot differently than the new one. There’s Ethereum sent directly to us (from sales of character NFTs and songs), and writers get paid out based on percentages of that. In the real world, (song royalties will) work on Spotify the way it already works. We’re not here to solve that system.”

But the approach allows the most ardent fans to become investors upfront in the success of a creative talent or group of talents, financing the development process and then profiting from resulting sales. That also turns those fans into ambassadors for a metastar and their music, while providing near-global access for creative talent to find audiences and support.

“This is not meant to be a streaming platform, but a new kind of fan relationship with artists,” Stolar said. “We’re only doing virtual artists. Say a kid in Tulum (Mexico) or Bordeaux (France) and wants a place to interact with their friends.”

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