In a deal that raised $3M, the novel music tech & XR (Extended Reality) company, Volta, has closed its initial funding round, bringing in support from major players in the music and tech industries.
Volta is a free, self-service XR creation platform that allows creators to construct and broadcast metaverse-reaching immersive experiences to an audience.
Its backers include Pixelynx (Joel Zimmerman, aka Deadmau5, & Richie Hawtin), Christopher Leacock (Jillionaire/Major Lazer), Techstars Music, Boost Capital, 7percent Ventures, Dave Wu (Maveron), Fores VC, Acequia Capital, Robb McDaniels (CEO of Beatport), Dave Edwards (Senior Vice President of Audiomack), Supernode Global, Austin Rosen’s Electric Feel Ventures and Courtney Stewart (Right Hand).
“We’re excited about what Volta is building and the unprecedented access it opens to artists and creators across the board. Major artists can afford the production costs that come with building a virtual performance space, but it’s cost-prohibitive to anyone without heavy financial support. The introduction of a tool that cuts hundreds of thousands of dollars for every use is a game-changer for us. As an early adopter of new tech, I am all in on Volta and am looking forward to integrating this tool into my arsenal”, said Joel Zimmerman aka Deadmau5, Co-Founder Pixelynx.
Metaverse events are the next big thing
The growth of virtual or augmented reality 3D universes that can be accessed either via VR headsets on smartphones or computers, dubbed Metaverses, led innovators to rush to integrate aspects of our lives into these metaverses.
With this in mind, and as dystopian as it may sound, it stands to reason that digital metaverse events such as concerts and festivals could become entirely new sources of revenue for artists. Moreover, considering subpar payouts of streaming services, as well as the sustained impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on live music events, the upside remains vastly untapped.
A key merit of Metaverse events to artists is their ease of setting up, which can take as little as 10 minutes, whereas real live events would take hours, even days. They also save on setup costs and can help drive e-commerce merchandising. These events aren’t geographically restrictive and can tap into global market pools as opposed to traditional regional touring.
Enabling artists to tap into the Metaverse
Volta has continued to demonstrate its dedication to democratising extended reality (XR) experiences. The company has a goal of creating viable revenue streams for artists who are otherwise unable to engage in new platforms due to a lack of resources or experience.
Volta allows live streaming artists to use audio sources such as desktop audio output, midi controllers, metadata, DAWS like Ableton Live or Logic Pro, etc., to automate various world visual effects, in sync with their music in real-time, the first-ever initiative of its kind.
A new world-building functionality greatly expands creators’ capacity to generate custom world and artistic experiences built around performers’ from scratch, with little to no experience required. Creators can choose from a variety of Lego-like 3D assets, wrap any 2D media on them, as well as other modification options, and drop them into their spaces to create unique performance settings.
A recognized enabler
Founded in 2019 by Alex Kane, Mitchell Bayer-Goldman, Will Dixon, Yuli Levtov, Volta got its legs through the industry-shaping Techstars Music program based in Los Angeles. The company garnered early support and partnerships with major industry players, a quality expressed by its investor list.
Volta was named in TIME Magazine’s esteemed 100 Best Inventions of 2021 list, back in December. The company has also teamed up with the online music marketplace, Beatport, and live music session broadcaster, Boiler Room, for official live-streamed performances.
The company also closely worked with British singer/producer Imogen Heap to shoot, record, render and stream her new music video live in real-time. The shoot takes were streamed live, and between each take, fans gave inputs on effects they wanted to see more or less of. The final produced video was a collaborative effort between Volta, the artist, and the fans.
“We at Volta don’t think anyone has gotten extended reality entertainment right yet. The only way this will happen is when enough artists have access to the tools. If a paintbrush cost $500k, then an artist would optimise their art to be about the money instead of the artistic expression – we aim to democratise these new tools so extended reality as an entertainment medium has true artistic merit.” shared Volta CEO, Alex Kane.