FN Meka is the first virtual rapper signed by a major music label. This AI capable of writing rhymes and composing instrumentals has just joined Universal Music Group’s Capitol Records label. Find out everything you need to know about this new phenomenon…
At first glance, FN Meka does not seem different from other rappers. He drives a gold Rolls-Royce, a Tesla truck adorned with the Gucci logo, and a green Lamborghini. On TikTok, he has 10 million followers and more than a billion views. In his videos, he can be seen doused in $100 bills alongside sexy women.
The only difference with other rappers is that FN Meka is not real. It is a rapping robot, powered by artificial intelligence.
The texts are written by an AI, trained to write rhymes like a real MC. The voice is that of a human, but FN Meka will soon be able to rap himself.
This artificial intelligence was trained by analyzing popular songs of specific genres. Based on these songs, the technology generates suggestions for building blocks of new songs such as lyrics, chords, melodies or tempo.
Since 2019, this virtual rapper was already having some success with his songs “ Speed Demon », « Internet or his most popular track so far: Moonwalking “. His screaming style is not not unlike that of Teskashi69.
Now, FN Meka has just entered the big leagues by signing with Universal Music Group’s Capitol Records label. A dream that few human rappers manage to achieve…
The first virtual artist signed by a major label
Following his signing to Capitol Records in August 2022, FN Meka is now the first virtual artist signed by a major label. According to Ryan Ruden, vice president of experimental marketing at the record label, this project is ” at the intersection of music, technology and video game culture ».
According to him, it is not ” just a first glimpse of what’s to come ». According to him, this is a great first and a “ evolution of Capitol Records’ 80-year history of innovation ».
On August 12, 2022, FN Meka celebrated its signature with a bang by unveiling its single “ Florida Water » produced by Turbo and DJ Holiday. Previously, these producers worked with world famous rappers like Travis Scott, Young Thung or Lil Baby.
the rapper Gunna lends his voice, and video game streamer Cody “Clix” Conrod appears in the clip. Suffice to say that FN Meka is not surrounded by anonymous people.
“Florida Water” Ft. Gunna & Meka out now on all platforms 🙂 pic.twitter.com/B0tttvAYka
—Clix (@Clix) August 12, 2022
In this new song, FN Meka connects rhymes such as ” Tesla, Gucci, Cybertruck / I wreck that shit, don’t give a fuck » (to be translated as ” I break this *****, nothing to ****** “). These verses rich in modern poetry were generated by an AI, even though they are rapped by a real human being.
This song is royalty freeand can be used for free by creators on platforms like Twitch and YouTube without risking demonetization or removal by the label.
Indeed, Capitol tied a partnership with the startup Slip.streamwhich features a library of over 100,000 royalty-free songs and sound effects produced by real artists.
This signing by Capitol Records has great symbolic significance. Now it is clear that AI and virtual artists will play a major role in the music industry and the art world…
The origins of FN Meka
Behind FN Meka hides a whole team of real people. This AI rapper is created by Factory New: a label bringing together only virtual artists.
This company is co-founded by Anthony Martini, former founder of Commission Records and owning experience in traditional artist development. He has notably worked with rappers like Tyga, Lil Dicky or Madeintyo.
According to him, the concept of FN Meka is no different from that of older artists like DJ Marshmello, Gorillaz or even 50 Cent. According to him ” looking at any great human artist, the more fantastic you are, the more you embody a character. Any great artist has to sell some kind of story. It’s just the next level. There have been precedents in the past, even pseudo-virtual characters. Look at Gorillaz. Look at a guy like Marshmello: he’s not real either. He could also be a digital being and it wouldn’t make a difference to fans of his music. We try to erase the border even more and take everyone to the future “.
Florida Water out now!! Go stream that and drop a 🐍 💦 in the comments for Wunna❕ #FreeGunna
♬ Florida Water – FN Meka & Gunna & Clix
Co-founder and CEO of digital distribution platform Vydia, Roy LaManna, agrees with Martini. As another example, he quote controversial rapper Tekashi69 to demonstrate how the most famous artists are simply caricatures of themselves.
As he explains, ” I think this rapper is the perfect example of what we’re talking about here. He’s kind of like a meme. His music, mostly initially, was co-written or written by his producer. There are Daniel Hernandez, the real guy, and then there’s the character of Tekashi who is almost a cartoon character drawing people into his storytelling “.
Thus, according to Roy LaManna, the question is whether the character Daniel Hernandez’s Tekashi69 Could Exist In Virtual Spaceand I think Anthony and his team are proving that the answer is yes “.
Originally, FN Meka is not thought to be a rapper. Its creator Brandon Le comes from the field of video games, and created virtual objects and appearances for avatars. He had designed FN Meka to help him sell his designs.
Early in his musical career, FN Meka released other demos. However, they were removed to maintain a level of quality. His team insists that the content be of the highest quality, so that the robot rapper can be taken seriously. She wishes he could compete against any performer, human or virtual.
Are artists only characters?
In the eyes of Roy LaManna, the human element is perhaps less important than the narrative and content of an artist. He cites Britney Spears as an example: it is a personality. She wasn’t necessarily the best singer, and a lot of her music was written by other people. Then it went into a storytelling, she went out with Justin Timberlake, it was a whole thing and people got really invested in it“.
He asks himself, how much of it depends on the human factor? I think it’s a lot less than people realize, and it’s being tested today because the technology has reached a certain point where it’s a viable option. I think that we only see the beginnings of this thing “.
Likewise, Martini adds that the most modern artists have an image created by a label or a management team at least in the beginning, when you’re trying to develop a certain narrative and build a brand “.
Thus, he believes that ” we do the same, except we are not limited to the human world, or human form. We’re going to take that old idea of building a brand and creating a narrative behind artists and take it to the next level. “.
FN Meka on TikTok
OooooO I look good today 😳. #thirsttrap #buff #fit
♬ Goodbye (feat. Lyse) [Slow Version] – Feder
FN Meka mainly lives on TikTok, where his videos have been viewed over a billion times. Even though he also has an Instagram account, he only has 206,000 followers and users of this social network do not interact with him as much.
His fans come to see her personalized accessory designslike a PS5 paired with a Starbucks coffee machine, a Louis Vuitton stroller, an Apple Air Pods shotgun or a Gucci Batmobile.
The goal of Factory New and Vydia is to use FN Meka as a form of marketing test to gauge the public’s interest in this type of character. The aim is to check whether these virtual artists can be profitable in the music industry or even in the field of NFTs.
Like my setup in my car? #zerotwo #weeb #rollsroyce
♬ Hai phút hơn – marlene
According to LaManna, on TikTok, “ FN Meka has the ability to do market research on the virality of songs releasing little snippets of songs, asking people when he should release them, what songs, and what should be put in as components, if it’s an NFT, or some other kind of design who can accompany to help propel it “.
The team behind FN Meka then analyze the data to determine what works. This virtual artist is therefore the result of a symbiosis between Big Data, AI and digital communication.
Welcome to the era of virtual influencers
Major record companies are increasingly interested in virtual artists. Previously, Universal Music Group invested in this area via its 10:22PM label dedicated to Web3 with the NFT KingShip group composed of monkeys from the Bored Ape Yacht Club. In addition, UMG has established a partnership with Genies specializing in the creation of avatars for creating artists and digital props.
Similarly, Warner Records has partnered with K-Pop giant SM Entertainment and its “Metaverse Girl Group” composed of four human members and four virtual members. Meanwhile, Warner’s Asian label Whet Records has signed a deal with virtual artist Ha Jiang.
The Japanese of Sony Music have launched virtual versions of their artists on the Roblox platform. Other industry leaders include Space Bomb and its virtual artists Xen, SUBI and AntiFragile.
Beyond that, rapper FN Meka is part of a more general trend of virtual influencers. It can be compared with Miguela Sousa: an Instagram influencer computer generated, in partnership with brands like MINI and on the cover of several magazines. She has also participated in Fashion Week, and has also ventured into the field of music.
Thus, Martini is convinced that FN Meka has the potential to do a lot more music. According to him, he could become an ambassador for different companies. He explains that he was approached by “ a ton of brands, including several luxurious and prestigious fashion brands “.
In 2021, FN Meka also sold a drawing in the form of NFT for 6500 dollars on the SuperRare platform. According to Martini, there’s a lot of interest in this area for the type of things we do, but for Meka it’s really about finding things that fit naturally with their fan base, their brand image “.
The real hope of the creators of FN Meka is that this rapping AI will not be not just here for a few years, but forever in the way that “ the character of Batman transcends Adam West, Michael Keaton, Christian Bale and everyone else »…
And you, what do you think of virtual artists? Should we leave the art to humans, or can we let the AI create music as long as it manages to move us and make us dance? Give your opinion on this new phenomenon in the comments!
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