Sunday, February 26, 2006

Second Life: U2 Concert Report

Here's a report from today's in-game concert by the U2 in SL band. The concept in brief: players stream a soundtrack into the world and create character animations for the performance itself. The major problem was the number of avatars the server could accept without the latency becoming too noticeable. Otherwise, a truly fantastic performance with every detail thoroughly worked out.

UPDATE: I wrote about it before, but for clarity am reiterating here: the U2 in SL is a fan-made performance and should be discussed as such.

The vending machine gave away free tickets.

Every self-respecting concert has a swag stand. All t-shirts and buttons were free.

Free snacks and drinks from the "official sponsors". The other stand "sold" beer (Sam Adams included). UPDATE: One of the players behind the band asked me to point out that there are no "official sponsors" behind the event. Quote: We have no sponsors official or otherwise. We do it all for free. We sell nothing. HOWEVER, to correct any misconceptions such as the one stated publicly in your blog, we are taking down the food and drink booths. They were merely provided to give a more "real world" concert setting. No copyright infringement was ever intended. Again, we sell nothing--no show, no food, no drinks, no souvenirs--all is offered for free. "

The entire show was controlled from this director's stand.

The concert gathered a crowd of about 50.

Besides the artists, the show also employed a significant number of staff and security to keep the fans off the stage (the stage was protected by an invisible wall just in case). The security also made sure the fans weren't wearing anything lag-inducing, such as fancy hair or body attachements. UPDATE: One of the players behind the band asked me to point out that "employed" is not a correct word. Quote: "In any event, no one is employed or gets any monetary gain from these endeavors--again, all for free."

The server was streaming the soundtrack of the U2's recent concert in Boston.

Each song seemed to have original animation scripts and light settings.

The band avatars are controlled by an elaborate set of animation scripts.

Bono talks about making poverty history.

After the show, the band departed into their band room near the stage...

...only to come out later and give out autographs.

A happy grouppie poses on the stage after the show.


  1. WOW THE EVENT LOOKS noted in my email to you earlier today (prior to your updates) my major concerns as a Hollywood media consultant include *copyright violation of Interscope Records and U2 rights --the event 'replayed' U2's Boston concert (no mention is made of permission to replay that concert). Interesting to see that they group is taking down the pix showing signage from 'sponsors' Coke, Pepsi & others. Made me chuckle when I first saw that Coke & Pepsi were both included in RL one of the two would certainly have demanded a 'category exclusive'. Lessig talked recently about copyright in SL. I have not seen a cease and desist order by a brand aimed at a SL or other community member but I do see that the American Red Cross issued a statement saying that it is a FEDERAL offence to use their symbol's likeness and they site the regulation. Yep, control -- it's so 20th Century but that's what makes SL so interesting as it collides with RL. I know the group in SL says it is a 'tribute band' but they play U2's own music, not their own version. No doubt some celebrity is going to sue someone about the unauthorized use of their likeness soon if they haven't done it already...and the beat goes on...SL collides with RL.

  2. Ms Schwarz, you seem to be somebody who doesn't know alot about U2, their music, their causes, their attitude towards passionate fans.

    Do a websearch and you'll find interviews with band members and with Paul McGuinness, where they state clearly that they DO NOT mind people recording their concerts as long as those recordings are not sold or used in any way to make money off them.

    The recordings U2 in SL uses will NEVER be sold by them, will never be used to make any money. Heck, they didn't even burn it on a CD yet, not even for a personal backup!

    Do yourself and U2 and U2 in SL a favor and get the facts straight!

  3. This seems to be rolling into a great discussion. Secret Lair's blog also picked up on the questions I had. Is replay of a major band's concert fair use when you do it without the band's permission. Is it okay for a 'tribute band' to lipsync not play the music. Does the poster for a U2 tribute band concert say "tribute band' or is okay for he uninformed outside of SL to think that U2 made an appearance. Once again I bet if the SL U2 tribute band had asked permission they would have gotten it from U2 -- but my guess is noone even asked. I think the production was awesome and any concern could have been mitigated by an official okay from U2. Heck is my guess that Edge who believes in Napster according to reports might have even done an introduction to the evening. It's a brave new world out there.

  4. *Imagines what's to come when Ilya gets around to documenting all the pron video and Hollywood first release movies being shown inside SL.*

  5. Which is not a bad idea at all, by the way.

  6. The author is completely misled. This article has no bearing on advertising in games. Second Life is not a game. U2 aren't advertising in games either.

    What this article is about is advertising in virtual worlds. As a note, it reached 50 people.