Start-Up Backed by James Murdoch Launches AI Platform for Virtual Artists

Authentic Artists and inset of James Murdoch
Courtesy of Jeff Nicholas; Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

A promo image from Authentic Artists (inset: James Murdoch).

With virtual concerts in 'Fortnite' drawing big audiences, the firm wants to enable "a new kind of gamified, co-creative musical experience" and has prototyped 12 "supernatural" artists – from a "lo-fi loving cyborg to a high-octane, half-iguana DJ."

With virtual concerts in online video game Fortnite and gaming destination Roblox drawing big audiences, Authentic Artists, a start-up whose investors include James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems, on Wednesday unveiled the launch of an artificial intelligence-powered virtual artist platform for music, gaming and streaming applications.

The "creative AI company" said the proprietary audio-visual production platform will enable "never-before-seen virtual music experiences designed to serve the evolving preferences, tastes and desires of fans searching for truly unique content and can deliver interactive artist experiences across the globe, 24 hours a day to all connected channels."

To provide "a new kind of gamified, co-creative musical experience," Authentic Artists said its product "instantly composes and produces fully-formed, high-quality songs performed by AI-powered virtual artists," adding that it has already prototyped 12 such "supernatural" artists – from a "lo-fi loving cyborg to a high-octane, half-iguana DJ." Fans are able to give each virtual artist input and then "experience the results almost instantly."

The product is "pushing past the boundaries of the traditional music industry, where original content is king, by creating unique, fresh, adaptive musical content at an unprecedented scale and speed," Authentic Artists said, explaining that its goal is to "address both the content requirements of high-growth channels and the needs of audiences whose expectations for music and entertainment have changed in the digital age." And it highlighted that "there are now billions of gamers globally for whom the traditional lines between music and gaming are blurred, or even non-existent."

Beyond Murdoch, the firm, led by founder and CEO Chris McGarry, also has other high-profile investors and advisors, including OVO Fund, Japan’s Mixi Group, Bill Silva Ventures, Linkin Park co-founder Mike Shinoda, Liberty Media senior vp Chad Hollingsworth, Brian Ruder, co-head of global technology at private equity firm Permira, Charlie Walker, co-founder of concert promoter C3 Presents, Craig Donato, chief business officer at online gaming destination Roblox, Liz Hamren, corporate vp of gaming engineering at Microsoft, and Young Guru, the audio engineer for Jay-Z, Drake, Rihanna and DJ Khaled.

"Virtual entertainment is the new cultural center of gravity, and today’s digital natives want agency over their worlds," said McGarry. "Our adaptive artists will give it to them, co-creating new shared musical experiences and making new art and culture with fans across every connected platform."

Added Lupa founder and CEO Murdoch, the former CEO of 21st Century Fox who has focused on investing in digital media and other companies: "We’re very pleased to support the early growth of Authentic Artists. As technology continues to transform creativity and experiences, the opportunities for new forms of highly scalable social entertainment will be substantial. We look forward to working with this impressive team that is well positioned to lead the space."

Shinoda said that "music today can be so much more than just an album release or a live show," adding: "The ability to interact and even collaborate with listeners in live channels offers some of the most exciting possibilities in music right now. I think Authentic Artists will play a big role evolving the relationship between music and audiences."