How has the emergence of XR Technology in the music industry affected how a Generation Z audience consumes a musical artists work and how did a global pandemic accelerate this change. (Draft 1–24/4/22)


In March 2020 — The global music industry had to cease all live music events due to the Covid-19 global pandemic. This created disruption and a paradigm shift in how an audience consumes a musical artists work. More specifically how a Generation Z audience consumes a musical artists work.

Generation Z had already began to explore new ways of connecting with musical artists, discovering work and experiencing live and immersive music events several years before the pandemic struck.

The pandemic gave technology companies such as Epic Games, Facebook (Meta) , Tik Tok and many more a strategic opportunity to affect how Generation Z consume a musical artists work and invent a new highly profitable market place.

Generation Z are the worlds first truly digital native generation, who’s lives are intertwined with a myriad of XR Technology. Generation Z are consuming and experiencing musical content in new and radical ways, which are completely different to the Millennial generation which came before them.

This once in a generation paradigm shift enabled a new market for immersive music based content to be launched with concerts taking place in virtual video game worlds such as Travis Scott in Fortnite, and for companies such as Facebook, one of the most valuable companies in the world to re-brand as Meta, such was the magnitude of the change in the market place — The age of the Metaverse has arrived.

Whilst the Metaverse and the role of the music industry within it is an evolving and yet to be clearly defined market place for the music industry. This evolving nature means that their is limited academic research available, and so this thesis explores focused aspects of the wide and varied research field.

Using a Netnographical exploration of the XR music scene as a core methodology for capturing research, the reader will be presented with first hand and experienced accounts into consuming music through XR technology and through first hand experience of attending immersive live music events in the Metaverse.

The findings of this Netnographical exploration are presented in this thesis so that we can better understand the cultural and social shift that is happening with Generation Z and how they consume a musical artists work and why they do it this way.

The way music is consumed will affect future generations to come, and will also impact Millennial, Generation X and Baby Boomer music consumers.

As a by-product of new market forces and new performance spaces in the metaverse arriving, a new kind of digital and music based artist appears.

Represented as a digital avatar, across multiple social networks and 3D worlds (Metaverse) this new artists musical talent and ways of working can only be achieved by creating in a virtual off world space, and who’s fan base will only exist inside the Metaverse, and who’s existence is communicated by media that exists only to be shared within the Metaverse space, and as generation Z are the worlds first true digital native generation, it will be this generation that is the primary creative force here.

I present examples of ‘Metaverse first’ music artists discovered via the Netnographical exploration of the VRchat Rave scene, which demonstrates that a community with its own culture and shared creative musical scene is being both created and consumed inside a Metaverse space, in a way not seen before in human history.

The age of the metaverse has arrived.

WIP — Index to Thesis

Narrative notes

To My supervisor team

The narrative will be split into 3 sections

Section 1 —

Firstly an introduction to the research in the field — Gen Z, XR, Music Industry past and present and the arrival of the Metaverse.

Looking at milestones that have happened within this researchers time zone — which will be Pre covid Lockdown 1 (before March 2020) — Then March 2020 to March 2022.

My main focus will be on looking at the available research in the time period of March 2020 and March 2022 and presenting my opinions and arguments on them — I will explain why I have chosen this time frame and why I have created a focused thesis.

Section 2 —

Netnography — during the period March 2020 and March 2022 I have undergone a variety of virtual field trips and documented them using the Netnographical methodology — I will take the reader through this research and present my findings

Section 3

I present examples of ‘Metaverse first’ music artists discovered via the Netnographical exploration of the VRchat Rave scene, which demonstrates that a community with its own culture and shared creative musical scene is being both created and consumed inside a Metaverse space and was born out of the pandemic to some extent, in a way not seen before in human history — my opinion and ideas raised here will call for future research but will be novel and new to this field of study — contributing to the academic knowledge.

Narrative focus notes —

Focus and time frame — context will be to onboard the reader with a clear understanding to who Generation Z are — with the argument being, its a state of mind, not an age thing — this will give me an angle on my narrative about building new worlds, experiments and adapting — this is clear to see with the Gen Z mindset in the pandemic and also companies which are led by this mind set or are chasing the Gen Z market — the role of the video games and social networking industries are very important here.

I will also dedicate chapters to XR technology and a chapter on the evolution of the music industry — as recorded music and its myraid of formats has always evolved with the new hardware and systems to play them on / which has now evolved to be interactive and immersive — lots of cases with music industry catch up — but this time, they seem to lead.

The time frame for the Netnography will be March 2020 to March 2022 — this two year time period of field trips and looking at available literature will ground the work inside the pandemic time-line, and so will in future generation, perhaps have use for someone looking at this time.

I have discovered a new culture developing around VRchat Rave communities, this sits outside the corporate spaces which Facebook / Meta and Epic games are creating — and its this counter culture which I will conclude my comments on and dedicate section 3 to

— there are 633 results on google scholar for a VRCHAT search —

and having looked through 10 pages, non deal with my subject matter :)




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Mark Ashmore

Mark Ashmore


Mark Ashmore is a Ph.D Researcher at LJMU and founder of Future Artists - He writes about Computer Science, the Arts and Entertainment - He is also Dyslexic