How Is VR Transforming The Music Industry By Hosting Virtual Concerts With Artists Like John Legend?
As COVID-19 continues its terror and disrupts the way we interact, live, conduct business, communicate, modern technologies are coming with a solution to help our plight. With companies across the globe turning to work from home, via the online medium amid the pandemic outbreak, the entertainment industry is also going virtual! As virtual reality is on the verge of making it mainstream, the current crisis has catapulted innovative applications that align with our needs. One of these ideas gaining momentum is virtual concerts.
Virtual reality is the computer-generated interface that replicates a real life-like yet stimulated world. Due to limited applications, scarce content, and non-budget friendly headset, this modern technology failed to draw substantial attention in the early years of the previous decade. Now, it is ready to go beyond its niche.
Jean-Michel Jarre, the French electronic music pioneer and former CISAC president, claims that many artists are looking for ways to go beyond the living room concerts, whether headset-bound virtual-reality experiences or more casual video-game-like shows. In an interview with Rolling Stone, he says, “When cinema first came, people thought it was a magic trick, like a circus. They didn’t think it could be art, and people didn’t understand it. I think VR is seeing the same phenomenon now.”
Now that virtual reality is on every industry’s radar, it is time brands explore the option of virtual shows, concerts, and conferences using it. Also, there’s no opportunity cost to trying to host a virtual concert now. Artists aren’t performing, touring, shooting videos, or even doing in-person sessions with songwriters during quarantine as much as a common man. These events not only shall entertain fans but also be a source of revenue and income for many artists and brands.
Jarre, best known for his 1976 album Oxygene, held a VR concert on 21st June, Sunday from inside a virtual universe created to mark the French world music day, Fete de la Musique. The VR concert entitled AloneTogetherdrew hundreds of thousands of views across both VR and non-VR streaming options like YouTube, allowed the fans who were using headsets to interact with one another through virtual avatars. The event featured classic fixtures of an electronic show: crazy beats, dazzling lights — and “pills” that made the screen change colors, taking concertgoers on a digital drug trip. In conclusion, the experience was as he promised, like the movie ‘Matrix.’ This concert show was built in collaboration with the VRrOOm platform, created by Louis Cacciuttolo. For the event,Cacciuttolo, brought together for the occasion, a team of innovative artists such as Pierre Friquet and Vincent Masson and technicians; who are experts in immersive technologies such as SoWhen?, Seekat, Antony Vitillo, or LapoGermasi.
“Virtual or augmented realities can be to the performing arts what the advent of cinema was to the theatre, an additional mode of expression made possible by new technologies at a given time,” predicts Jarre. He believes that with VR, he could create environments that could never be achieved in real life. Augmented Reality is already used during concerts. For instance, Korean Boy Band BTS experimented with augmented reality during their live stadium shows to amplify fan engagement.
Meanwhile, another music-VR startup, Wave, has raised a US$30 million Series B funding round from investors, including music firm Raised in Space, Alex Rodriguez, Scooter Braun, and Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin. It soon announced its “One Wave” series of virtual concerts featuring John Legend, Tinashe, and others. The company established a partnership with Warner Music Group and Roc Nation to get talent aboard its platform. Wave CEO Adam Arrigo says, “Five years from now, the best experience of electronic music is going to be in VR.”
Wave started as a “pure” virtual-reality company intent on getting users into physical headsets like Facebook’s Oculus devices. However, over the years, it has built up success in gamified animated concerts that don’t require VR equipment. One can download Wave is for free on SteamVR headsets via Steam and Oculus Rift via the Oculus Store. Also, one can watch the 17-minute lineup of John Legend at YouTube here.