“If I could get some bubbles, I’d be forever indebted,” singer Craig Lyons tells the packed house at his Monday night gig. The crowd promptly complies, filling the room with bubbles while Lyons plays his tune “Under Water.”
Two nights earlier, the audience made it snow as he strummed the chords to his song “Winter.” Strangely enough, the Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter has come to expect this type of supernatural behavior at his shows, which take place several times a week in Second Life, the virtual online world that allows users to interact with one another as avatars.
Despite declining media coverage after a few years of overexposure, Second Life lives on, and within its virtual borders a music scene has been thriving, with independent artists such as Lyons leading the charge. These artists are earning livings, promoting their music and supporting causes they believe in by performing in this virtual space, which has approximately 1 million users each month.
A fascinating article from Laura Ferreiro in the L.A. Times – Second Life’s thriving music scene — brought my attention to something I knew existed, Second Life (a virtual community where you can create a second life as an avatar) but had dismissed as trivial and as pitiful a way to spend your time as Dungeons and Dragons and other role-playing games that I thought had run their course and disappeared. They haven’t and Second Life seems like role-playing with balls (and all the other virtual viscera an avatar needs).
What I had no idea about was the music scene in Second Life. A few major acts have performed there, including Ben Folds and Suzanne Vega, but what is more astounding is that artists, such as singer-songwriter Craig Lyons have begun a career there that has taken them into non-avatar-driven virtual spaces and even non-virtual space. Fascinating!