Social Music Recommendation Goes Virtual

It seems like an obvious progression, but San Francisco’s Doppelganger has created a music-oriented virtual world that takes the music discovery aspects of sites like and combines them with the visual depth of online worlds such as Second Life…

The new contender is called Vside, and boasts more fluid character animations and greater visual detail in urban environments than other online offerings. The world is centered around virual concert venues, nightclubs and house parties, where lucky participants can get to meet virtual avatars of real-world rock and pop stars (well, that’s the plan at least – I’m not sure how much time Iggy Pop would spend in here, for example).

Although the basic concept is decent enough, Vside seems to be aiming for the more image-conscious social preeners rather than serious music lovers who just want to listen to great tunes and share their interests with other like-minded individuals. To wit, this description of Vside from an article by Dean Takahashi:

The world is built around partying with live music and interacting with a lot of real-world celebrities and cool youth brands. At any given time, 40 different Internet radio stations are blaring music at various nightclubs in the densely packed city that recreates the vibrancy of places like the Sunset Strip or Times Square. Inhabitants of the world create their own avatars and buy stylish fashions with virtual currency, dubbed “creds,” that they use real money to buy. They’re rated on their stylishness by other players. If they earn enough points the players can climb the social ladder and gain access to VIP parties and nightclub areas.

The three-year-old company has garnered $25 million in VC funding, and hopes to break into a market that is full of well-established social networks. With this sort of capital behind it, one would imagine that it is bound to succeed – unless this is part of the Web 2.0 rush of investing in online projects which ended so burstingly in the corresponding cycle of Web 1.0. Hopefully not; Vside may actually become (yet another) a useful way for fledgling acts to keep in touch with, and develop, their fanbase.


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