Learn more about the metaverse and where Endlesss fits into this transformation of how we interact online
The metaverse is dawning, a new context for our online lives that mirrors our ‘real’ lives.
Until now, ‘online’ has mostly consisted of a network of services for documenting and coordinating our lives in the real world. The metaverse describes a new reality where ‘online’ becomes an extension of our real lives, a destination in itself that shares the spatial, relational and cultural characteristics of our ‘real’ world.
Like in ‘real’ life, what happens when we come together in spaces in the metaverse will build the cultural value and status of those places and the people that frequent them. The metaverse will transform creativity from today’s content production process to a co-present social interaction where everyone participates in the creation of culture and value.
At Endlesss, we’re building metaverse-ready infrastructure which reframes creativity as a real-time, co-present interaction building historical and cultural value. We’re currently focussed on solving for music creation, but what we’re building is fundamentally relevant to bringing metaverse creativity to any medium.
Being invested in the spaces where we gather is a key theme to the metaverse, so our first step is to give our community an opportunity to own a stake in the business we’re building. We’re currently running a crowd equity funding campaign to fund building features which help creators form relationships, and find out when others are on Endlesss and where they are.
Beyond this, we’re preparing to expand and open our technology to provide a powerful, flexible operating system for metaverse creativity. As the promise of the metaverse is realised in the coming years, trillions of dollars of cultural economic activity will be brought into this new world. We want to play our part in building the root-level infrastructure for this.
What is the Metaverse?
Today, our online lives play out on apps or sites where we go to share, discover and respond to content. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter and TikTok serve as a living document of our ‘real’ lives. They thrive on standout viral content which pulls us back to consume yet more content, capturing our valuable attention. However, they’re not places to ‘be’ in the same way as the places we live and gather in the ‘real’ world.
Conversely, the metaverse describes an extension of our tangible world where our online lives play out in spaces that function more like real-world spaces. While the attraction of today’s social media thrives on content that generates attention, the metaverse thrives on co-presence and interaction that builds cultural value. When we show up in the metaverse to interact in real-time, we co-create the spaces we come together in, increasing their cultural richness and driving value which we participate in as co-owners.
Most commonly, the metaverse is thought of as a combination of VR and multiplayer gaming. These technologies are the closest to delivering compelling experiences of co-presence in virtual spaces – one of the main promises of the metaverse. Games like Fortnite and Roblox and platforms like AltSpace and VRChat are beginning to transcend gaming to offer cultural and creative experiences as well. But if the metaverse is to be truly parallel to our real world, the technology will need to go further.
The real world is made up of a huge variety of spaces owned by individuals and collectives, connected by a commons. Ownership of or membership in spaces such as homes, shops or places of worship allows us to build and invest in individual and collective identities. As we go between these interconnected spaces we’re free to take our identity and possessions with us. Our ability to take things we’ve created or acquired in one space to another allows culture to cross-pollinate, mutate and replicate, keeping the macro cultural landscape vibrant, healthy and cohesive.
If the metaverse is to deliver on its promise of a truly parallel reality, it will require more than just a compelling experience of co-presence. It will also require (co-)ownership, portability and interoperability, as well as tools and infrastructure to build the cultural value of the spaces we show up in.
Creativity, Content and the Metaverse
“When you go to a restaurant, you don’t consume the decor as content, you experience the decor as the container.”
Today, the digital creative process is largely constrained to monolithic, asynchronous, solo tools: digital audio workstations like Pro Tools, image editors like Adobe Photoshop or video editors like Adobe Premiere. These perfectly serve the social media platform age, where content creators need powerful professional tools to optimise their content and break through the noise. But learning curves are steep, required skill levels are high, production times are long and any collaboration that takes place is strategic, selective and managed.
In the metaverse, creativity will be something we participate in when we show up in virtual spaces with one another in real time. It will be one of many aspects of our interaction in the metaverse, alongside conversation, game-play and financial transactions. This doesn’t mean the metaverse will be devoid of content, rather our relationship to media in the metaverse will be the inverse, as the container.
As a concrete example, if you go to a restaurant, you don’t consume the decor as content, you experience the decor as the container. If you go to Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London, you enter into a relationship with its rich history, the space and its decor, and the evening’s performers. You and the rest of the audience experience the music as a ritual, amplified and focussed by the ambience of the venue. The venue is decorated with visible autographed portraits of the performers who have played there, and the invisible storytelling and myth-making behind the Ronnie Scott’s brand.
In this way, Ronnie Scott’s is a living space: a container for us to gather in, constantly growing in richness, depth and value, constantly being refreshed and redecorated by new rituals. These rituals often generate media – audio recordings, images or videos. Aside from being collateral for their social media manager, the biggest impact of this media is to reinforce the container, the Ronnie Scott’s brand and venue.
In the metaverse, creativity will unfold as an ongoing sequence of co-present interactions, building an ever-expanding relational history of creativity that enriches the spaces we gather in. What we create and how, where we create it and with who, will all be essential metadata proving the relational value of our creativity and ascribing cultural status to the people we create with and the spaces we create in.
Rather than producing content to compete for attention, the outputs of our creativity in the metaverse will be symbols, narratives or experiences which encapsulate and communicate the value of the spaces we gather in and the status of the people that gather there.
Rebuilding the Creative Tool-Chain for the Metaverse
This needs a completely new approach to the creative tool-chain, moving away from today’s monolithic creativity tools that combine complex, multifaceted production processes for the production of a single, finite piece of ‘content’ with the goal of attracting as much attention as possible.
Creative tools for the metaverse will need to be atomic, interoperable and tightly integrated with a complete attributed history of what’s been created, including relational metadata capturing provenance and usage permissions. A space’s creative history will be its fundamental wealth, a resource for assembling narratives, symbols and experiences which can be (co-)owned and traded, amplifying and realising the value of the space and the status of the people who show up in it. The relationship between the creators, the tools and the space will be as important as what’s created in determining how it contributes value and status.
Jams, Rifffs and Journals
Jams on Endlesss function like spaces in the metaverse.
Collaborators on Endlesss start or are invited to join jams where they co-create, remix and iterate ‘Rifffs’ in real time, using built-in or third-party instruments to create an ever-expanding history of Rifffs.
Each Rifff is a remix of a previous Rifff, and is made up of multiple audio layers from different collaborators. Rifffs contain metadata about who created it, when and where it was created, which instrument it was created with, and how it should be played back. Together, all the Rifffs in a jam form a complete, attributed, relational history of creativity which can be browsed, listened back or remixed.
Like in metaverse spaces, Endlesss jams come alive when we show up to co-create, and they persist when we’re not there. The value of the jam itself builds up over time, based on who shows up and what they do while they’re there.
The Endlesss App and Tech Stack
Today, Endlesss is a unified iOS and MacOS/Windows app which integrates:
Basic Identity – username and profile pic
Public Jams – a list of jams anyone can access and co-create in
My Jams – a list of private jams which you have started or have accepted an invite to join
Basic Identity – jam name and header image
A ‘stage’ where collaborators can listen in and send chat messages
A browsable history of all Rifffs ever created in that jam
A ‘studio’ area for collaboratively creating new Rifffs and remixing old ones
References to audio media for each created layer
Level mixer settings for all layers
Tempo and key information
Tools used to create / remix any layers
Date and time created
The ‘studio’ features:
Built-in instruments and sound generators
Live input for creating with third-party instruments
Built-in remixing tools
In the coming months we will expand social identity and discovery features to make it easier to discover people and jams, build relationships, and get notified when and where the action is. We will also begin to experiment with curation tools which allow collaborators to sift, arrange and present Rifffs in new ways.
Currently we’re in an iterative stage of development, learning which features are most valuable to creative participants and the best organisational approach to building infrastructure and tools for metaverse creativity. In this phase we’re using S3-based centralised servers, but are keeping the codebase modular in order to be able to swap out for more decentralised infrastructure in future.
Unbundling Endlesss to Create a Universal Tech Stack for Metaverse Creativity
Unbundling what Endlesss provides in a more abstract form reveals a list of components which a metaverse creative operating system must include:
User Identity authentication
Social graph / discovery tools
Space (jam) access permissions
Space (jam) cartography / discovery tools
Real-time database of collaborative media and metadata
Real-time media creation tools (soundpacks, image creation)
Real-time media editing / remixing tools (Audio FX, filters, etc.)
Media browsing tools
Media arrangement / compositing tools
Media playback / display tools
Media curation / discovery tools
As with any metaverse project, this tech stack must provide ready-to-build functionality for anyone who wants to participate in the ecosystem and integrate it into their own projects. Endlesss’s role would be to promote adoption of the ecosystem, provide fast and reliable development tools suited to the skill-sets of those who want to build, and create compelling example use-cases.
Building an Economy around Creativity in the Metaverse
These development tools must be underpinned by a decentralised, secure, resilient and performant database of media and metadata which empowers real-time interactive co-creation, as well as a transaction infrastructure which will allow tokens to be issued and traded for access to tools, spaces or any other experiences and items which could be built on the infrastructure.
As an example in this model, our current subscription offering for expanded creative content would become a tokenised permission to use the Endlesss-authored creative content.
There are many examples of metaverse-oriented platforms which have built token-based economies, such as NFT platforms like Opensea and play-to-earn games like Axie Infinity. Currently the creative process itself remains something that happens outside the metaverse, but we’re truly excited by the possibility of building infrastructure to bring the entire creative tool-chain inside this bold, new, exciting world.
If you’re interested in learning more about how we’re building metaverse-ready infrastructure, reach out to email@example.com.
- Tim Exile
Footnote: I have avoided using the word “decentralisation’ in this post as much as possible. Decentralisation is the right technical standard to aim for when building for the metaverse, but isn’t a good north star when it comes to building culture. To establish culture is to establish central myths, symbols and rituals that help us come together as a community. I prefer ‘enfranchising’ as a north star for creating culture in the metaverse but others might disagree so I’ve avoided saying it wherever I can.