NYT Article about MTV’s Virtual Lower East Side (VLES). VLES is an interesting response to the independent music scene on MySpace and other social sites (which seem to be faltering big time!). In VLES, and its accompanying social network site, bands and fans meet up to support their favorite music, vote for up and coming groups, watch those groups in virtual clubs with the hope that enough popularity will get them gigs in the real versions and maybe even (gasp!) a spot on MTV.
So, being the nutsy person that I am, I couldn’t help but run off and download the VLES software and make myself an avatar. It was, needless to say, very interesting. I had the choice of about five haircuts in five natural colors (so disappointing for us pink-haired folks), about a hundred clothing options, skin color, and the choice of five celebrity faces. I chose “The Portman” because “The Ricci” had anime-sized eyes. I could choose my height but there was no slider for body shape. Everyone is eating-disorder-skinny in VLES.
Here’s my avatar in her Herby Hancock tank top and red Joan Jett haircut.
She’s “like sooo New York! OMG!” When I logged in I was surprised to see that VLES was announcing that CSS (that Brazilian band who sings the song about music on the new Ipod commercials) would be playing.
Log-in screen with concert announcement and menu for choosing the club you’d like to pop in to.
It’s grungy; it’s emo; it’s an opportunity to market to a self-selected audience of people who like virtual worlds, socializing, and new music. In my opinion, VLES is a pretty good idea. But will it work?