Jean-Michel Jarre and a French startup want to set up “the YouTube of the metaverse”

The VRrOOm company announced on Tuesday its ambitions for the coming months: after having created virtual reality shows with several companies and artists, including Jean-Michel Jarre, it wants to open this platform to all artists by the end of the year.

With the VRrOOm platform, Jean-Michel Jarre has already produced several concerts, like here for the 2020 music festival © Maxppp / LP/Olivier Arandel

The presentation takes place in the more than 100-year-old Palais des Mirages of the Grévin Museum, a sound and light show that reminds us that “all the technologies of today, we owe them to the electricity fairy“, says Louis Cacciuttolo, founder of the company VRrOOm, specializing in the creation of cultural events and virtual reality. At his side, Jean-Michel Jarre, whose last major concerts have precisely taken place in the heart of virtual universes: a Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral recreated (and repaired) for the transition to New Year 2021, and an imaginary city named Oxyville to accompany the Oxymore project – unveiled at the start of the year at the Maison de la Radio, and which will be released in its final version in the fall.

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Every day there are tens of millions of people who do not have access to shows – therefore tens of millions of euros lost for the cultural industry“, explains Louis Cacciuttolo, whose VRoOOm platform is intended to be a platform for creation, distribution and monetization. Company objective: to lay the foundations of the “metaverse YouTube” by the end of the year. “For this, we must give tools to creators“, explains Jean-Michel Jarre: “Thanks to technology, we were able to make music from our bedroom. Soon we will be able to do the same thing to create concerts, or exhibitions“.

“The virtual universe I’ve always dreamed of”

Concretely, what do these concerts look like in VR? These are virtual spaces in which each participant is embodied by an avatar, who can move freely in space, in front of a stage (or around), in a setting dressed by the artist for the occasion “and without any space or time constraint“. Jean-Michel Jarre, known for his giant concerts, says that virtual reality him “made it possible to create the virtual universe that I have always dreamed of“, where, he says, the public can fly in the middle of the room, where one can go beyond the two (sometimes three) dimensions of a usual performance stage.

Jean-Michel Jarre and Louis Cacciuttolo in the Palais des Mirages at the Grévin Museum
Jean-Michel Jarre and Louis Cacciuttolo in the Palais des Mirages at the Grévin Museum © Radio France / JB

As in YouTube you have artists who create content, with us there will be VRrOOmers, who will have no limits to create the worlds they dream of“, according to Louis Cacciuttolo. Concretely, we do not yet know what these tools will look like, which should allow everyone to create their own space in the metaverse, but the company promises it won’t require more than a PC (and possibly a VR headset) and will operate on a subscription model”like the Adobe suite [qui contient notamment Photoshop, ndlr]” or in a semi-free version, the platform in this case taking part of the income from the content created.

“Let’s not let VR slip away” into the hands of the United States

The other issue, at the other end of the chain, is that of distribution: “When we did the concert at Notre-Dame, we had to pay to be on an American platform, VRChat“, tells France Inter Jean-Michel Jarre, who underlines the problems that this can pose in terms of independence. We let everything slip away in the United States for the distribution of videos, let’s not let it do the same for virtual realityhe said, calling for political will, because “to develop a Franco-European metaverse, you need a Franco-European cloud – and for that, you need political decisions“.

The interest is obviously financial, recalls Louis Cacciuttolo: in a ten-minute concert on Fortnite, the American rapper Travis Scott generated 20 million dollarswhile on his tour he made $54 million in 56 dates“, he adds. But for Jean-Michel Jarre the challenge of developing such a platform in France goes much further: “It’s not a gadget, it’s not just a world of geeks, it’s something that will change our lives like electricity“, assures the musician. And assures him that this will not be at the expense of “real” concertsas at the beginning of the 20th century, cinema did not develop to the detriment of live performance.

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“In a year it will be too late”

But beyond the pious wish to create a “YouTube of the metaverse”, how to stand up to the American giants, and in particular Facebook, who are betting everything on these developments? Time is enemy number one, according to Jean-Michel Jarre: “In a year, it will be too late, it’s a matter of weeks, months.But the other factor, and obviously the sinews of war, is money. “We need money, investorsnotes the founder Louis Cacciuttolo, who announced Monday a fundraising of one and a half million euros, and a total budget of 50 million euros to launch the platform at the end of the year.

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For now, the metaverse is still a universe very much linked to virtual reality headsets – which, although increasingly accessible, remain an underdeveloped market. Thus the first version of the VRrOOm platform will be reserved for VR headsets. It will be necessary to wait next year so that the device also exists for desktop computers in the form of video games, and then as a smartphone app. “And from next yearconcludes Louis Cacciuttolo, “we will no longer wear helmets but mixed or augmented reality glasses which will be even lighter“, and which will open them, hope all the players in this market, to a wider audience.

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Jean-Michel Jarre and a French startup want to set up “the YouTube of the metaverse”


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