MBW is pretty good with stats. We’re not typically known for being good at A&R.
There is one major label signing we spotted fairly early, though.
In April last year, we told you about a robot rapper called FN Meka. The virtual artist’s creator (who we’ll come back to later) told us ( attr(href) ) at the time that Meka has been created using thousands of data points compiled from video games and social media.
Capitol claims that FN Meka, who has over a billion views on TikTok, is the No.1 "virtual being" on the video platform, as well as the world’s "first AR artist" to sign with a major label.
His debut major label single, Florida Water – a collaboration with Billboard ( attr(href) ) chart-topper Gunna and professional Fortnite player Clix – is out today (Friday, August 12).
It was produced by Turbo (Travis Scott ( attr(href) ), Young Thug, Lil Baby) and executive produced by DJ Holiday (Gucci Mane, Nicki Minaj).
Ryan Ruden, Capitol Music Group’s Executive Vice President of Experiential Marketing & Business Development, tells MBW that the project "meets at the intersection of music, technology and gaming culture" and "is just a preview of what’s to come".
"The song Florida Water meets at the intersection of music, technology and gaming culture… [it’s] just a preview of what’s to come"
Ryan Ruden, Capitol Music Group
Added Ruden: "This latest project with FN Meka and Clix, while a first of its kind, is only an evolution of Capitol Records 80-year history of innovation."
The move marks one of Capitol’s boldest yet under the leadership of Michelle Jubelirer, who was named Chair & CEO ( attr(href) ) of Capitol Music Group in December 2021.
As MBW explained last year ( attr(href) ): "Technically speaking FN Meka is voiced by a human. But everything else about him – from his lyrics to the chords and tempo underpinning his music – is based on AI."
Alongside the release of Florida Water to streaming platforms, Capitol has also inked what it calls "a unique partnership" with royalty-free music startup Slip.stream.
As a result, Florida Water is being made available to creators to use the music on YouTube ( attr(href) ) and Twitch "without monetization or takedowns".
Martini also happens to be the co-founder of Factory New, the ‘virtual’ record label that first ‘signed’ FN Meka.
In an interview ( attr(href) ) with MBW last year, Martini told us that the company "developed proprietary AI technology that analyzes certain popular songs of a specified genre and generates recommendations for the various elements of song construction: lyrical content, chords, melody, tempo, sounds, etc. We then combine these elements to create the song".
He added: "As of now, a human voice performs the vocals, but we are working towards the ability to have a computer come up with and perform its own words – and even collaborate with other computers as ‘co-writers’."
Further prominent players in the virtual artist space include Spirit Bomb, ( attr(href) ) whose virtual artists include Xen, SUBI and AntiFragile. The music performed by these avatars is created with/by human musicians and producers.
He added: "It requires spending time scouring the internet, traveling to shows, flying to meetings, expending resources all in search of the magic combination of qualities that just might translate into a superstar act."Music Business Worldwide