13.10.2021 — our work

Why Music Needs the Metaverse

What inspired our founder, Jonathan Belolo, to start us on this journey.

Jonathan Belolo, Founder and CEO

At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, like millions around the world, I was suffering from the loss of live music in my life—no pulse of bass in my chest, no mind-blowing creative visions played out before my eyes, no euphoric moments of communion with a thousand-strong crowd.

This hit me especially hard. Music has always been a huge part of my life thanks to my father, Henri, who went to America in the 1970s and created the Village People, before returning to France and founding Scorpio Music, one of the country’s landmark independent labels, where I worked full-time for 12 years learning the ins and outs of the industry.

My other passion was always technology. I was a geek and a gamer as a kid, and then at the age of 28, following a decade dedicated to the music industry, I decided to teach myself to code, mastering every programming language I could find. I was starting to think that technology could be the key to building a more transparent, fair and fulfilling future.

Our Founder Jonathan Belolo and performer Salif Gueye on set preparing for our first live tech demo

I had long been dreaming of how I might combine these two passions. After the revolutionary combination of song and drama in musical theatre, and a similar upheaval when audio met film at the dawn of the music videos, what would be the next frontier of music in the virtual world? Could I help to build it? 

For a long time it seemed the technology was not sufficiently advanced to realise this dream. Slowly it started to emerge: the development of mixed reality technology, a new generation of powerful gaming consoles and the widespread adoption of mobile platforms. The pieces were falling into place. Then finally, witnessing the losses caused by the pandemic, both for the global live music audience and the musicians cut off from their fans, I realized that the time had finally come. The world was ready.

And so Stage11 was born. I assembled a team of talented artists, writers and engineers to help envision the future of digital performances. We watched artists experiment with live streams and virtual gigs throughout the pandemic, but they often fell flat—they didn’t feel real. They enhanced our isolation rather than our community. What were they missing?

The answer, we realised, was interactivity. Stage11 will harness gaming technology to deliver music experiences that are cinematic, playable and social. Audiences will be able to explore the creative minds of their favourite artists and live inside their favourite songs, to get closer than ever to the musicians they love. They will discover interactive NFT collectibles which they can use to create unique content—alone or collaboratively with friends—reimagining iconic performances and even placing themselves onstage alongside their favourite artists. We will reimagine music for the metaverse.

Some of my favourite musicians share our vision: we now have established partnerships with Martin Garrix, David Guetta and Snoop Dogg, and are in conversation with other musical visionaries around the world. 

As we are working towards our launch in 2022 I feel this is just the beginning. I can’t wait to see how our stage will grow and change with the brilliant ideas of our team, the visionary artists we work with and their legions of creative fans. We are going to create an entirely new way to experience music—and we’ll do it together.

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