Riding the wave of augmented-reality concerts that have flooded the music industry lately, The Weeknd announced Thursday that he will be the latest superstar to jump on the platform, debuting a new “music experience” to air exclusively on TikTok on August 7th in collaboration with X, Republic Records labels, and virtual entertainment company Wave.
“The Weeknd Experience” marks the first time TikTok is wading into augmented-reality content. Travis Scott set the bar for the new breed of concert with “Astronomical” on Fortnite, which drew in millions of viewers and helped boost the release of his new single “The Scotts” featuring Kid Cudi to a Number One debut, and artists such as Tinashe and John Legend have done similar style shows on Wave since the pandemic began. TikTok has helped set up traditional at-home livestreams from artists like Alicia Keys and Megan Thee Stallion, but the upcoming show is its first VR/AR play.
The Weeknd will use the show to fundraise for the Equal Justice Initiative and TikTok will match donations. Fans can donate directly in the app before the show airs, and proceeds for exclusive merchandise promoting the concert will also go to charity.
TikTok and The Weeknd are no strangers: The artist has seen several viral hits driven by the app, particularly “Blinding Lights,” one of the best-selling singles of 2020. That song has been featured in over 1.5 million TikTok videos, thanks largely to a dance trend, and topped the Rolling Stone Top 100 Songs chart. The Weeknd’s After Hours was also the best-selling album of the first half of 2020, racking up 1.3 million album unit sales in the U.S.
For the burgeoning streamer Wave, this is also one of the most high-profile events since the company was founded in 2016. After premiering shows with Legend and Tinashe, Wave recently closed a funding round with support from investors including Scooter Braun and Alex Rodriguez, and it struck a partnership with Warner Music Group and Roc Nation. The uptick in interest in Wave shows comes as artists and music companies scramble for new digital concert experiences that can surprise fans or add an element over flat, two-dimensional video livestreams.
“It reminds me that I’m trapped at home,” Wave CEO Adam Arrigo previously told Rolling Stone. “People are turning to livestreams to escape right now. Our innovation is making these shows interactive and participatory.”