How Virtual Reality is shaking up the music industry
VR has been around for years but it was only in 2016 that it took traction ans started to make a wave. Unsurprisingly, it immediately had a substantial impact in the gaming and movie industry. Even though technology has already influenced several industries like fashion, education, healthcare. The music industry is still feeling its way around VR.
What exactly is Virtual Reality?
Virtual reality is a three-dimensional environment created by a mixture of computer software and hardware. Anyone entering the environment wearing sensory headgear and gloves can move objects around or otherwise cause an action. To the person immersed in this environment, objects are perceived by the senses as being real, even though without the special gear, they are not. VR technology extends beyond the basic senses to stimulate our sense of balance and other physiological factors so that our brains mediate the artificial environment as one where we are actually there.
Virtual Reality makes experiencing music better:
Nearly all of today’s consumers prefer to spend their money on experiences instead of objects. One study even revealed that 78% of millennial customers are even willing to pay more money on this. The caveat is that these experiences should provide real value to the user.
Virtual Reality has the ability to provide the same unique experience to music fans.
Take for example the collaboration Queen did with Enosis VR and Google Play several years ago. They worked together to develop a Virtual Reality rendition of the band’s groundbreaking hit, Bohemian Rhapsody. The interactive music video utilized 2D and 3D animations, ballerinas filmed using motion capture technology, and a Freddie Mercury decked in neon colors. The video aimed to immerse fans in the “subconscious mind” of the late great Mercury, with the narrative changing as the viewer moves the VR headset around.
According to Dylan Southard, the creative director of VR Playhouse, there is “a powerful sensation to watch something in 360 degrees”. He said that the Virtual Reality effect was far better than just viewing something on a flat screen since you feel like you are there. It makes things more “emotionally intense”.
Aside from offering music aficionados mesmerizing videos, VR can also push live music to greater heights. Music moguls understand that people are more than willing to pay for experiencing a concert in Virtual Reality. It could even be an important revenue generator in the future.
Ways the music industry can use VR:
There are lots of ways that musicians can put the Virtual Reality effect to good use.
√-Bring music closer to people: VR-enhanced music videos can help artists attract more followers by bringing their work closer to people. With this technology, music lovers won’t just be listening; they could even become part of the video itself. Consumers can also enjoy a more engaging experience since they watch the video using special glasses that would make it seem like the singer is right in front of you.
√-Innovative advertising: VR can be also a novel way to introduce a new artist or even to launch an album. The technology can make it possible for fans to search for exclusive content. This kind of innovation will certainly get people talking and can generate positive press.
√-Better listening & viewing experiences: Virtual Reality can also radically change how people will watch concerts in the future. For example, musicians can bring shows to their fans all over the world without even leaving their studio. Fans can connect their VR headsets to their laptop and log onto a specific site and voila! They are immediately transported to the concert venue.
√-Educating the next generation: VR and music education can also go hand in hand. One Japanese company has developed a hologram that teaches students how to play the piano. Imagine studios taking this one step further and developing programs wherein several of today’s premiere musicians will teach students. Think of Lady Gaga teaching you the piano or being shown how to play the guitar by Duff McKagan. It will be amazing!
What the future holds for VR and the music industry:
VR and AR technology are still relatively new, but the top brass in the music industry already sees the myriad possibilities it can bring. Bands and solo artists are going to be able to connect with their fans on a much deeper level. VR could even help music artists cut down on touring expenses while still being able to promote their songs worldwide.
But, there are still a few obstacles standing in the way of music aficionados genuinely receiving the full benefits of VR. First and foremost is the hardware. Most of the headgear out in the market now are still bulky and requires a power source. It’s also still pricey.
There is, in addition, the question of whether today’s artificial intelligence is enough to create a genuinely immersive music experience. The infrastructure or software to create a physical likeness of the musicians also needs to be refined.
One last thing:
Virtual Reality definitely fits the music industry’s exploratory nature. However, it’s a fact that VR experiences still have room to grow in order to be considered mainstream.
It’s going to be up to the artists, producers, and technologists to create opportunities for people to allow them to access different VR music experiences. Experts predict that the trend will be about artists letting fans into their own VR universe, rather than simply engaging with a single music video or concert.
With Virtual Reality, music can be more powerful, particularly for fans looking for a more immersive listening experience.