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Stage11 has raised $5.77 million in seed funding to reimagine music for the metaverse by combining music, games, mixed reality, and digital collectibles.

The Paris-founded startup has created partnerships with music artists including Martin Garrix, David Guetta, Snoop Dogg, Ne-Yo, Akon, Salif Gueye, and the fashion house Institut Français de la Mode. And it will help those artists monetize their work through nonfungible tokens (NFTs), which can authenticate one-of-a-kind digital items. NFTs use the transparent and secure digital ledger of blockchain to authenticate collectibles. NFTs are hot, but they are just one of the stepping stones to the metaverse, the universe of virtual worlds that are all interconnected, like in novels such as Snow Crash and Ready Player One.

The immersive music experience startup Stage11 was started by CEO Jonathan Belolo, a music industry veteran and the co-owner of Scorpio Music with a track record of 45 years of success in music from The Village People to Mi Gente by J Balvin & Beyoncé.

Otium Capital, a European venture capital fund, led the round. Stage11 will use the funds to bring aboard strategic hires, sign key artist and brand partnerships, and build its technology platform.

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“As a gamer and sci-fi nerd, It feels like I’ve been dreaming about the metaverse my entire life,” said Belolo in a statement. “Now that as a society we’re on the cusp of making it real, I find myself blessed to be part of an incredible team setting out to explore the new frontier. Building immersive music events and experiences is just the first step. We are on a journey together to reimagine the way artists and brands connect, even co-create, with their fans and audiences. We are combining genres, realities, and cultures to build something bold, thrilling, and timeless — yet accessible and fun.”

Above: Stage11 is doing mocap with artists like Salif Gueye.

Image Credit: Stage11

Stage11 plans to build a new creative canvas for artists, allowing them to invite fans to live, play, and create inside their performances and musical worlds.

These worlds combine immersive gameplay sequences, lifelike performances, cinematic narratives, and exclusive digital collectibles. Fans can not only discover and collect, but they can actually use these interactive NFTs to create and share unique, personalized content and even perform with their favorite artists.

This forms the core of a music metaverse that gives artists, brands, influencers, and fans the tools to co-create unique digital experiences, collectibles, and content unlocking new revenue streams for all by tapping into today’s fastest-growing markets — gaming, augmented reality, virtual reality, virtual events, and digital goods.

“I’m super excited to partner up with Stage11 and work on amazing virtual experiences together. We’re currently working on my first virtual show with Stage11 and I can’t wait to share more about this very soon,’’ said DJ Martin Garrix, in a statement.

Above: NeYo prepares for mocap scene with Stage11.

Image Credit: Stage11

Stage11 can be accessed on desktop and mobile. While desktop offers a more interactive high-definition experience, mobile focuses on mixed reality experiences and content creation as well as social interaction. Both platforms merge into one seamless user experience.

Belolo’s cofounders are Jean-Philippe Braud; Gregory Dhonner, the cofounder and director of business development for Profirst, a leading luxury event agency; and Mani Nordine, the president of American Artists Company.

They are supported by a team of experts in gaming, technology, entertainment, and business that have previously worked on games including  Assassin’s Creed, Marvel Avengers, Star Wars: Battlefront, animated hit Happy Feet, and leading technologies and brands Facebook Oculus, Microsoft Kinect, Warner Music, Ferrari, Nike, and Virgin.

Stage11’s first music experience is set to debut in 2022.

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