Meet Amari, the first virtual artist signed to Dr. Luke’s new metaverse label Player Zero. The imprint — a joint venture with Web3 collective Digital Arts & Sciences — will develop a roster of virtual artists and metaverse experiences.
Amari’s debut single, “Deeper” is the type of chart-friendly, electro-pop track that you’d expect from the Dr. Luke hit-making machine. The Doja Cat producer put together a team of the industry’s leading pop songwriters to pen the first single, with credits spanning Demi Lovato, Zara Larsson, Tove Stryke, Fergie, One Republic, Lany and more. Dr. Luke is expected to produce future records for the label.
The first artist, Amari, emerges from Player Zero’s futuristic virtual world, where characters and bands will release records, play virtual concerts and release NFT drops. Lawrence Vavra, founder of Digital Arts & Science and decade-long Blink-182 manager, says the label will gradually introduce more virtual characters and ramp up its metaverse experiences in 2023.
With its roots in Web3, Player Zero’s Amari isn’t just an animation, she’s an NFT. Amari is a character from the CyberBrokers project — a collection of 10,001 NFTs created by respected Web3 artist Josie Bellini. Similar to how Universal Music Group launched KINGSHIP with characters from the Bored Ape Yacht Club, Player Zero is using the commercial rights to its CyberBroker to create a pop singer.
Granting commercial rights to holders so they can monetize their NFT opens up a world of creativity, says Bellini. “I’ll never stop being excited when I see a new project spinning out from our collection. We set out from the very beginning to be very permissive in our licensing … we recognize that it strengthens the Cyber Brokers IP, and it uplifts the entire community and universe we are building together.”
Vavra says the record label chose a CyberBroker because of the strength of the community, storytelling and character development. The CyberBrokers universe is centered around a futuristic metaverse with a sci-fi storyline. Says Vavra, “It meshed well with bringing a virtual artist to life in the Player Zero universe.”
Player Zero has also launched a Founder’s Pass NFT collection to the public. After completing an initial presale, the remaining 50 NFTs will be released through a daily auction, each complete with artwork from another renowned crypto artist, FVCKRENDER. The pass will grant holders access to all future drops and metaverse experiences, as well as access to a private Discord server where holders can have a say in the future of the label. If a Player Zero record goes platinum, holders may even be able to claim an IRL plaque.
Virtual artists are not a new phenomenon (remember Gorillaz?) but there’s been a resurgence lately due to hype around the metaverse and NFTs. However, it’s not without controversy. Virtual rapper FN Meka was dropped by Capitol Records in August due to backlash over racial stereotypes. The executive involved stepped down.
Labels need to tread carefully, but Amari’s creators are confident that virtual artists are the next big thing. Vavra says the artist is just one piece of the puzzle and the label is also keen to highlight the team and community contributions. “We believe the world is ready to support the people behind the artist as much as the actual artist itself.”
Amari’s debut single “Deeper,” produced and chiefly written by Sean Myer, is available to stream now across various DSPs.