Who is Noonoouri?

The latest virtual creator to make waves in music

Good morning. On a recent stream, Twitch gamer Perri Karyal played Halo using only mind control. How? She wore an electroencephalography (EEG) headset, which allowed her to play the game through electric activity in her brain without using her hands. New goal unlocked: write this newsletter hands-free.

Virtual Creator Signs with Warner Music

On August 22, AI singer Noonoouri announced representation with Warner Music / Noonoouri & FIVE Music

Virtual creator Noonoouri recently signed with Warner Music Group, making her the first “digital popstar” to sign with the music label. Her first single, “Dominoes,” was released last week.

Who is Noonoouri? A digital avatar with an “AI-powered” voice created by Munich-based art director Joerg Zuber. She’s been around since 2018, and like other virtual, AI-powered creators including Miquela, Noonoouri has modeled for major brands like Balenciaga, Dior, and Valentino.

  • Virtual creators are a lucrative industry—Brud, the agency that created and operates Miquela, has been valued at $125 million.

  • Miquela also signed with talent agency CAA in 2020 and released a song with R&B artist Teyana Taylor that same year.

Why is Warner signing Noonoouri now? Investment in virtual creators has been on the rise since 2019, but the music industry has shown a newfound interest in integrating AI into its offerings. In the last few months, Universal Music Group partnered with artificial intelligence group Endel to help artists make AI-assisted music and Intercept Music integrated AI into its promotional tools for artists.

But…a reality check worth keeping in mind: “Every few years, one of these virtual influencers makes headlines because they sign some insane deal with a big brand, only to never be heard from again,” culture writer Ryan Broderick said in his Garbage Day newsletter.

Tensions Escalate Ahead of Logan Paul-Dillon Danis Boxing Bout

Nina Adgal (left), who is engaged to Logan Paul (second from left), sues Dillon Danis (right) following online attacks against the couple / Logan Paul, Dillon Danis

Nina Agdal, a model and Logan Paul’s fiancé, filed a lawsuit against MMA fighter Dillon Danis on Wednesday, accusing Danis of violating revenge porn laws and invading her privacy by posting a nude photo of her without her consent and causing her reputational harm.

Context: Danis is set to fight Paul in a boxing match on October 14. To promote the fight, Danis has turned to posting NSFW photos and memes of Agdal across social media—driving over 2 billion impressions on Twitter in August, according to combat sports outlet Happy Punch.

Between the lines: Danis isn’t expected to receive a share of the pay-per-view (PPV) sales from the fight. So his incentive to participate in the fight appears to be gaining followers as quickly as possible.

  • “He craves attention…and will do his best to sell the fight, making my brother even wealthier in the process,” Jake Paul tweeted this week.

  • Danis gained over a million followers in August between his Twitter and Instagram, according to Social Blade.

Zoom out: Creator boxing has become very profitable—Jake Paul said his fight last month against Nate Diaz brought in over $30 million in PPV sales, though journalists have disputed his similar claims in the past. Still, some creators are questioning if the means of promotion justify the ends.

“With the TikTok-ification of everything, it's important we think about this new realm of public discourse we've entered,” digital culture commentator Jules Terpak said in a recent video.

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Platform Roundup: Pivots and Double Downs

Illustration by Moy Zhong

This week in platform feature news:

  • YouTube is removing ad controls, meaning Partner Program creators will only be able to toggle ads on/off for each individual video (though midroll placement will still be customizable).

  • TikTok is building enhanced social networking features, according to recent job listings.

  • Clubhouse is staging a comeback by pivoting to audio-only group chats with friends.

🔥 Press Worthy

📚️ Thank You For Pressing Publish

The content we’re looking forward to reading, watching, and listening to this weekend.

  • Read: Buoyed by TikTok fame and NIL sponsorships, twins Haley and Hanna Cavinder skipped their final year of college hoops eligibility to focus on their various business ventures. GQ profiled the sisters as they blaze a new path in the student-athlete playbook.

  • Watch: Does Roblox make money from child labor? That’s the question More Perfect Union investigates on their channel by talking to young game developers building on the $17 billion platform.

  • Listen: This American Life recently reached 800 episodes. To commemorate the milestone, they surveyed the Me Too movement five years later.

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