4/8/11 – Making Music in Second Life: SL and the 21st Century Musician (presented at TCF 2011)
“Isn’t Second Life dead?” – That was the question posed (somewhat sarcastically) by a woman who was still in the room from the previous workshop this past Saturday at the Trenton Computer Festival. I didn’t mind the question so much, but it got us off on a rocky start, and she didn’t even stick around to discuss the question.
Steorling Heron joined me live for the intro to demonstrate in-world voice chat. She just happened to be in The Netherlands visiting friends that she met in SL. We experienced some lag and choppiness with her voice, but things improved as the presentation continued. After discussing some of my key points about sound card and mixer setup, I returned to Steorling for a streaming audio demo using some prerecorded music.
One attendee was familiar with SL but hadn’t logged in for a while, which led to more discussion about whether or not SL is dead. One guy was an intellectual property lawyer who was curious about my comment that SL is very “Wild West” when it comes to performing rights. A few other people were familiar with SL, but not very much. Two people walked out midway. They said they came for music, and apparently there wasn’t enough to hold their interest. Admittedly, it was a somewhat technical talk, so I can’t blame them.
Near the end we talked about the silliness of shopping in SL, and the way buildings and objects are still tied to representations of objects in the physical world – even when they are unnecessary. (For example, having to “walk” to the second floor of a structure to buy an audio stream – see pictures below.) Steorling noted that this is necessary for some people in order to provide a familiar environment to interact. I don’t doubt that, but for shopping it is tedious at best.
During the final Q&A, I asked Steorling to answer the “SL dead?” question from her perspective. From what she sees, the answer is certainly “no”. There is still a lot of activity, but it is often among the hard-core users. She also pointed out that many technical issues remain, and Linden Labs has been slacking in terms of addressing them.
Any fascination or interest that I had with SL – and I’ve always been conflicted about it – more or less wore off this weekend. Between dealing with dishonest stream vendors, and people’s skepticism, I just do not have the energy to evangelize for the platform. It’s particularly difficult with all of the “real life” stuff I need to do. Few people I’ve ever met – unless they were in-world already – took SL seriously or understood its potential. So for now anyway, Thaylon will be on hiatus, and remains perhaps nothing more than a resume builder.
Here’s the handouts.
The presentation (along with others from TCF 2011) can be found here:
or directly: http://www.tcf-nj.org/proceedings/2011/dePrisco.pdf