Duran Duran Create Virtual Universe

All press / news


World’s first artists to stage ‘in-world’ live concerts; fans to join band avatars on Duran Duran luxury island

British rock stars Duran Duran will make Internet history once again with the creation of their own 'virtual universe' inside the leading online virtual world, Second Life (Second Life).

Second Life is a privately-owned, partly subscription-based 3-D virtual world, made publicly available in 2003 by San Francisco-based Linden Lab - a company that was founded by former RealNetworks CTO Philip Rosedale. Now with a community of more than 350,000 'residents' (that is growing rapidly by the day), Second Life offers a truly collaborative, immersive and open-ended entertainment experience, where together people create and inhabit a virtual world of their own design. The Second Life client program provides its users with tools to view and modify the Second Life world and participate in its economy.

Although details are yet to be unveiled, the five original band members [Simon Le Bon, John Taylor, Roger Taylor, Andy Taylor and Nick Rhodes] announced today that they have commissioned their own custom-designed avatars who will live out a genuine 'second life' on a fantasy, luxury island, with 'in-world' concerts and media appearances taking place alongside the band's media, public and live engagements in the real world.

Currently in the middle of recording their next album, keyboardist Nick Rhodes said of the project: “Second Life has brought a third dimension to the internet; it is the new frontier where dreams have become reality. Whatever you can imagine is now possible. When the video revolution began we instantly saw the opportunity to experiment and explore a new form of expression to enhance the musical experience. Second Life is the future right now, offering endless possibilities for artists. Our community will be able to help develop the island into a fully functional, futuristic utopia, where you can never be quite sure what to expect. Duran Duran are thrilled to be the first band to become citizens of Second Life and are rehearsing now for our first concert there in the coming months. I think I can safely say that it will be filled with surprises.”

Duran Duran will become the first major band in the world to have a virtual world presence, and the group will make history in a few weeks with the first live concert by a pop avatar band performed by the group's actual members.

The band members have appointed London virtual world designers Rivers Run Red to create the five Duran Duran avatars and the band's bespoke universe. Creative Director Justin Bovington said: “This heralds a new era in how branded content is being developed. For the first time a major international band is using a virtual world as a branded, immersive experience. We're working directly with the band members to ensure fans get the ultimate Duran Duran experience.”

The project, which launches officially later this month, is the centre-piece of a new online strategy for the band designed by the London-based 3003 Group, Duran Duran's strategic marketing agency, which will also include a one-stop, global mobile downloads shop and a new, state-of-the-art band website, in the run-up to the release of their upcoming Epic Record's album in the New Year.

“No artist has ever done anything like this before” said 3003 Group President Peter Wells-Thorpe. “The five members of Duran Duran will actually live a second life 'in-world', controlling their own avatars live and doing things ordinary pop stars can only dream about in the real world. We're asking each of the G8 embassies in London if they will officially recognise the band's new dual nationality and second passports and are hopeful of a positive outcome, at least from the UK, USA and Japan, in the next few weeks.”

The Duran Duran virtual world project is just the latest in a series of pioneering uses by the band of revolutionary new technologies throughout their real world career, including being the first group to shoot a music video on location ['Save A Prayer', 'Hungry Like The Wolf', 'Lonely In Your Nightmare] with director Russell Mulcahy, in 1982; the first band to use live video cameras and videoscreens in their concerts, on their 1984 US tour; the first artists to make a song available for digital download on the web ['Electric Barbarella'] in 1997; and the first band to produce a pop video made entirely using Macromedia Flash software.