First The NBA, What’s up Next for VR in The Music Industry?
VR is on the rise, with the NBA’s recent marketing deal with AT&T which is rumored to enhance NBA fans’ virtual reality experience. In addition to the already in place VR courtside league passes, with this deal there could be higher-def 4k VR come-up in the near future. So what does this have to do with the music industry?
For a few years now musicians and big-name labels have been experimenting by licensing VR projects and selling virtual tickets to shows across the United States. Companies like MelodyVR are taking over by allowing users to be transported into an intimate virtual world with their favorite artists. Whether it is a sold-out show or a studio session, Melody gives you an up-close and personal front-row seat right from your living room.
In addition to these virtual concerts, VR has put the pressure on the creativity of artists and their music videos ever since YouTube and Facebook enabled the 360-degree video capability in 2015. We’ve seen it with artist videos like the Weeknd’s “The Hills”, Run the Jewels’ “Crown”, and even virtual bands like the Gorillaz, making us wonder if it will become the future of the industry. This is an innovative enhanced experience for videos and even for live music to a certain extent, but will it come to a point where this could be a threat to the way we enjoy live music?
Startups like TheWaveVR, have been partnering with big artists like Imogen Heap to provide an even more intimate and immersive experience than your typical live VR concert. In Heap’s virtual concert back in August, audiences were transported into Heap’s childhood home where they were able to “mingle freely and explore,” according to the Oculus Blog. The concert was even equipped with a 3D hologram of the artist giving the attendees a rare opportunity to connect, an additive unique to this type of experience.
As the technology progresses, user’s are faced with a choice of whether or not they want to ride this “wave” (no pun intended) of replacing the real-life live music experience, and that’s only if they have access to the type of technology in the first place. For those looking for an immersive experience or for those who miss out on a concert, a realistic and engaging VR performance is definitely something we can get behind. We just aren’t sure if VR has the potential to completely alter the industry as fans will always prefer to say they have seen their favorite artists live and in person. Not to mention the use and access to this technology is not as universal as it would need to be if VR were to become a music industry forefront.
Quite honestly, who knows what the industry has in store for us. Guess we’ll have to sit back, strap on an oculus go, and watch what happens.