What the entertainment industry can learn from the bankruptcy of FN Mecha


Hello and welcome to Protocol Entertainment. A guide to business in the games and media industry. This Thursday, we explore what went wrong with Capitol Records’ first AI rapper, and how “House of the Dragon” was received by audiences. Also, Zuckerberg transforms.

virtual pop star problem

15 Minutes of Fame Talk: Earlier this month, Capitol Records signed the first virtual entity as an artist. FN Meka has been hailed as a virtual rap star on TikTok where he has over 10 million followers.

FN mecha also had a track record of using the N word In the lyrics, the character is portrayed as a victim of police brutality.

  • Industry Blackout, an entertainment industry activist group, wrote, “We believe there is a problem with the lack of awareness of how offensive this caricature is.” on Twitter. “This is a direct insult to the black community and our culture.”
  • Industry Blackout challenged what it called “a fusion of crude stereotypes” and “appropriate mannerisms.”
  • Capitol Records responded quickly, releasing FN Meka a few hours later.
  • “We deeply apologize for our insensitivity in signing this project,” the label said. in an official statement.

The FN mecha is Factory New’s creation. The company, which calls itself a virtual record label, defended the CGI rapper after all the fuss.

  • Company founder Anthony Martini told The New York Times that the entire controversy was due to “a blog that got caught in a clickbait headline and created this story.”
  • He also said the team behind Meka was “one of the most diverse” and the only white male involved.
  • Martini didn’t reveal details about that team, but claimed that Mecha was actually an avatar of an unnamed human rapper, adding, “He’s black.”

It is clearly different from how to draw mecha so far. When the virtual rapper first hit the headlines earlier this year, Martini told Music Business Worldwide that he was very much the product of artificial intelligence.

  • “He was created using thousands of data points gleaned from video games and social media,” Martini told the publication at the time.
  • Martini acknowledged that there was human involvement. “Right now, a human voice is playing the vocals, but we’re working on having the computer come up with and play its own words,” he said.
  • Genius.com’s Jacques Morel did a lot of research to find out who the mystery rapper behind FN Meka is, and repeatedly asked Factory New executives for answers.
  • Result: According to Morrell, FN Meka’s lyrics are performed by Kyle the Hooligan.

Anonymous artists are nothing new. There is a long history of artists performing in masks and disguises such as Deadmau5, Daft Punk and Gorillaz.

  • And Vtubers, animated avatars often using motion capture, have spawned a whole new cast of anonymous creators who play characters on Twitch and other platforms.
  • Using AR and advanced real-time animation as a similar cape is a logical next step for recording artists.
  • However, FN Meka isn’t Kyle’s alter ego the hooligan, he’s a star in his own right, and things get dicey, especially due to the lack of transparency behind the project.
  • Even if FN mecha didn’t drop the N word or wasn’t designed to portray black rappers, it was true.
  • Virtual beings do not operate in a cultural vacuum. The people behind it need to be transparent about their involvement and intentions.
  • Dudley Nevill-Spencer of the Virtual Influencer Agency said in an interview with Morrell: real problem. ”

The moral here: Technology cannot be an excuse for ignorance. Especially when the tech isn’t really that impressive, like music tech blogger Cherie Hu. It was pointed out on Twitter this week. “Let’s be clear: FN Meka was never an ‘AI’ rapper,” Hu wrote. “Persona’s creative direction is still a manual process, with clearly biased humans working behind the scenes who believe that behind the cover of an ‘AI wrapper’ they can absolve themselves of responsibility for algorithms. would have been.”

— Janko Roettgers

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Dragons work for HBO

According to both the network itself and third-party data, the premiere of the Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragons has been a huge success for HBO.

  • Nearly 10 million people watched the show’s first episode, according to WarnerMedia statistics.
  • This makes it the largest series premiere in network history.
  • Part of this is due to the fact that “Game of Thrones” has grown in popularity over time. The show’s most popular episode to date — the Season 8 premiere — was watched by nearly 18 million people.
  • However, “House of the Dragon” also benefits from HBO Max’s growing international footprint. The streaming service is currently available in 61 countries and regions, including most of Europe.
  • Warner Bros. Discovery stopped breaking down HBO subscribers when it released its first earnings report as the newly merged company earlier this month, but HBO and HBO Max combined at 76.8 million earlier this year. had subscribers.

US viewers also love dragons. We don’t know how much the new international subscribers contributed to the show’s success, but Samba’s data showed that the premiere was a huge hit with domestic audiences as well.

  • The episode was watched in U.S. homes by 2.6 million households on cable and streaming within the first six hours of its premiere, making it the most popular premiere of any show this year, according to Samba.
  • That’s more than double the number of viewers Netflix got with the season 4 premiere of Stranger Things. According to Samba, the show was watched by his 1.2 million households in the United States within 24 hours of his arrival.
  • Samba CEO Ashwin Navin said:

— Janko Roettgers

in other news

Microsoft paid a substantial amount for the Game Pass deal. In a Polish regulatory filing spotted by Twisted Voxel, Microsoft reportedly paid $600,000 to bring developer Big Cheese Studio’s Cooking Simulator to the Xbox Game Pass subscription platform.

YouTube Shorts come to smart TVs. YouTube wants to challenge TikTok in your living room. This Chinese video service has been slow to find an audience.

Bungie’s live service epic Destiny is coming to an end. Bungie detailed the game’s penultimate expansion on Tuesday, bringing the nearly decade-old franchise one step closer to its narrative conclusion.

Plex has been hacked. A media center app maker forced all users to reset their passwords after hackers gained access to their servers.

Phil Spencer claims limited editions are fading. The CEO of Microsoft Gaming told Bloomberg earlier this week that he was “feeling good” about the progress of his deal with Activision. He also said that console exclusivity “will become less and less.”

Why YouTube Is Making Its Own Chip. Every video we upload to YouTube every day is converted by the service’s own VCU chipset.

Sony’s next VR headset will be released in early 2023. The bad news: you won’t be able to buy a PSVR2 in time for the holiday season. The good news: it will take a few more months to get the PS5 you need to use PSVR2.

NBC shows moved from Hulu to Peacock. Starting next month, new episodes of shows like “Law & Order” and “The Voice” will be available on Peacock the day after they air on NBC.

Zack 2.0

Remember all the fuss about Mark Zuckerberg’s VR avatar? After posting a selfie from Meta’s Horizon Worlds service, Zuckerberg certainly looked a bit like a Mii character, and the online backlash was inevitable. But Meta’s CEO is back with a much more detailed statement.As Nick pointed out earlier this week, the redo didn’t exactly appease Meta’s critics.

Still, I’m not the only one wondering about the backstory behind Zuck 2.0. Luckily, one of his employees shared the inside story on LinkedIn this week. make clear It took 4 weeks and 40 iterations to create a new Zuckerberg avatar. “Mark liked it enough to post it! Couldn’t be more excited,” wrote the character artist behind the creation. I don’t think it was a common feeling. Perhaps we’ll get the behind-the-scenes story of Zuck 3.0?

— Janko Roettgers

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Thoughts, Questions, Hints? Send them to [email protected]. Enjoy your day, see you tomorrow.





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