Rihanna, Migos and more are getting official metaverse avatars

Fans will be able to buy and sell NFT merchandise for virtual versions of Universal's artists.

Universal Music Group/Genies

Universal Music Group is hitching its wagon more firmly to the metaverse hype train. The record company teamed up with avatar company Genies to create digital versions of its artists, as well as non-fungible token (NFT) outfits and accessories, for use in virtual worlds.

The idea is to give Universal's artists official virtual identities for the metaverse. Some of the roster, including Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes, had already asked Genies to make avatars of them. Now, the plan is for Rihanna, Migos et al to be able to take those facsimiles into various metaverses, or use the avatars across social platforms. In the coming months, through an NFT marketplace run by Genies, fans will be able to buy and sell virtual merchandise for the avatars.

This isn't Universal Music Group's first foray into the metaverse. Last month, it announced a virtual band comprising four characters from the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection, a bit like Gorillaz.

Other prominent brands are looking to make waves in the metaverse, including Adidas, which seems to be working on its own NFTs, and Nike, which built a virtual playspace and a store for digital goods inside Roblox. That platform is one of several in the gaming space (including Fortnite) that helped pave the way for other companies and brands to venture into the metaverse.