Science & Technology

Universal Music is forming a band, made up of very expensive virtual apes

Universal Music Group today said it’s starting a music group made up of four virtual apes that are nonfungible tokens, or NFTs.

The band, called Kingship, looks very much like what the musician Damon Albarn came up with in the 1990s as a side project to his band Blur. That project was Gorillaz, although unlike Kingship, Gorillaz was actually made up of musicians. Kingship is more like a brand, part of a metaverse, according to Universal.

Universal said that over time, these four apes will all develop their own backstories but will in time play music, although it’s not certain who will create the music. Kingship is part of a collection of NFTs that belong to a very successful NFT project, the Bored Ape Yacht Club. Celine Joshua, the founder of the Web3 label, 10:22PM, later took the four apes and founded the group.

NFTs are cryptographically unique tokens linked to digital and sometimes physical content, using blockchain to provide proof of ownership. Some have sold for tens of millions of dollars.

“Creating Kingship has been incredibly fun and imaginative,” Joshua said in a statement. “I started 10:22PM to push the boundaries of innovation in the music industry and with Kingship, we’re literally inventing what’s possible in real-time. Just as we would with any artist or creator, my team and I will work with Kingship to sharpen their vision and develop their unique sound.”

Many of the 10,000 apes belonging to Bored Ape Yacht Club are insanely expensive. Two of the apes in Kingship are valued at around $125,000 each. Just one ape from the club sold in October for a staggering $3.4 million, making multimillionaires out of the people that formed the club. Apparently, their fun project started when they were all working regular jobs.

Joshua said that the band will create musical experiences, but also will appear in videogames as well as put on virtual-reality appearances. As part of the metaverse, Joshua said Kingship will come to life by “building communities and utility, and entertaining audiences around the world.” Before any of that happens, she said, quite a bit of world-building has to take place.

Photo: 10:22/Universal

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