Makena Technologies, which runs a teen-friendly online virutal world called There.com, has signed a deal with Capitol Music Group. Under this deal, artists like The Beastie Boys and Korn will appear in a virtual nightclub called The Tower, where fans will be able to meet lookalike avatars and ask questions. When the musicians aren't present (i.e., most of the time), the club will contain wall-sized videos of various Capitol artists.
Unlike the better-known Second Life virtual world, There.com keeps pretty tight control over user-generated content, in an effort to make it relatively appropriate for teenagers. This control and the target demographic probably made There.com an attractive prospect for Capitol which, like the other major labels, needs to explore new ways to get consumers excited about and purchasing music. However, There.com might be the greater beneficiary--although the company hasn't recently published any subscriber numbers that I can find, statistics from a couple years ago don't show There.com enjoying the same kind of growth as Second Life.
Regardless, this sounds like a fun way for young music fans to interact with their favorite artists--a degree better than a live chat, at least.