Aiming to build an on-ramp to the metaverse for its 250 million users, iHeartMedia says it will create events and experiences for listeners and music fans on the online gaming platform Roblox.
The metaverse is defined by Time magazine as “a centralized virtual world, a ‘place’ parallel to the physical world” – specifically VR worlds and immersive environments. It has quickly become the top buzzword of 2022, as advertisers and media companies look to seize on the buzz and tap into its potential.
“In the same way in which we believed in and committed to digital radio and podcasting – and became the strong number one in both – we are big believers in the incredible potential of web3,” said Conal Byrne, President of the iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group. “We have already stepped into the metaverse with NFTs and have much more to come. iHeart’s place in this ecosystem – giving fans extraordinary access to the special events and influencers we provide every day of the year – is what we’re focused on building out as we work with key partners and develop an easy-to-use ramp to the metaverse and web3 for the mass market.”
So what exactly is iHeart planning to do in this brave new virtual world? The company says it will bring “immersive musical moments” to the 47 million daily active users on the Roblox platform. It also plans to build a new token that will incentivize and reward the iHeart creator community and give fans unique access to offerings across its multiple platforms. This includes a series of collectible non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which are unique and non-interchangeable units of data stored on a blockchain, a form of digital ledger. It first delved into the exploding NFT world last fall when it launched iHeartRadio Music Festival NFTs in partnership with Green NFT platform OneOf.
Bob Pittman, CEO of iHeartMedia, sees an opportunity to educate the audio giant’s millions of users about the metaverse and web3 to create the demand necessary to bring new platforms to the mass market.
“Although there are a number of great new products for the metaverse and web3 from a wide array of creators, with our unparalleled audience reach, multiple platforms, and our trusted broadcast and podcast hosts, iHeartMedia is uniquely positioned to build the consumer awareness, understanding and demand necessary for those new products and platforms from both us and others to succeed,” said Pittman in the announcement. “We see this as a unique opportunity to serve our listeners’ needs, provide an important new layer of growth for the company, and help develop the advertising and consumer potential for the metaverse and web3.”