On Thursday, the singer announced that he will be debuting a new “music experience” exclusively on TikTok on Aug. 7, where he’ll perform songs in digital-avatar form from his newest No. 1 album After Hours. The event is a collaboration between XO, Republic Records, and AR streaming company Wave.
“The Weeknd Experience” will be TikTok’s first run with augmented-reality content. The event will use 3D renderings, audience interaction, and picture-in-picture video to create an interactive and immersive livestream. TikTok users will be able to engage with the event in real time, a feature the platform makes available to all its livestreams.
The concert will raise money for the Equal Justice Initiative nonprofit, which supports racial equality. Fans can donate directly in the app before the show begins, and as it’s airing. Tiktok will match funds “up to a generous amount” and proceeds from exclusive merchandise will also go to charity.
The Weeknd’s album After Hours hugely benefited from TikTok. The singer's No. 1 single “Blinding Lights” led to the #BlindingLightsChallenge dance trend and to the song being featured in over 1.5 million videos on the platform. The song’s TikTok success also helped “Blinding Lights” reach the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100, with After Hours ultimately becoming the best-selling album of the first half of 2020.
This is a high-profile event for virtual concert startup Wave, which was founded in 2016. The company has since premiered shows with John Legend and Tinashe, secured funding support from Scooter Braun and Alex Rodriguez, and landed a partnership with Warner Music Group and Roc Nation. TikTok, for its part, has hosted traditional at-home livestreams before, with Alicia Keys and Megan Thee Stallion; however, the show with the Weekend is its first VR/AR event.
The Weeknd's virtual-concert livestream will premiere on Friday, Aug. 7 at 8:30 p.m. ET and will air several times afterward. Fans can RSVP for the Weeknd Experience here.