Virtual reality is not a new phenomenon. It’s been around for a long time, and many people are still trying to push it through as the next step in the evolution of entertainment. At one point, Ready Player One was going to be a movie that utilized virtual reality, and now the music business is hoping that virtual reality can help expand the new model music industry.
There are even reports about how virtual reality, or VR for short, can potentially open up the concert world. Now, wait a minute? Aren’t there enough fans that are spending too much time filming everything with their phones that aren’t in the moment? Could VR take them even further out? And is this a big step forward for the business, or is it just a bunch of hype?
The Next Step or No?
In a new article in Forbes, Simon Chandler writes that VR could actually be a “saving grace” for the biz. One thing that many have noticed is that Post Malone will be streaming a gig in VR through the Oculus Venues app. Several other bands and artists have recently done VR streaming, like Imagine Dragons, Panic! At the Disco, Imogen Heap, Liam Payne, and Billie Eilish.
One reason why VR could be a boon to fans is it can take you to an event, even if you can’t make it there. VR could also potentially take people back in time to concerts they weren’t able to attend.
As Forbes explains, VR “removes the limit on attendance for live concerts, reapplying indefinite mechanical reproduction to what had previously seemed all-too definite and limited in commercial scope. Now, in addition to those who pay to actually be present at a concert, the music industry can monetize everyone who couldn’t obtain tickets, or who doesn’t always feel like going out to see their favorite acts perform.”
So this raises another important question…will this make music fans more inward?
The Best of Both Worlds?
VR can also combine the live arena with incredible VR visuals that can potentially enhance the live experience in an innovative new way. This is not the live experience your parents grew up with, and it could help enhance it in a remarkable new way for today’s generation.
Now one of the problems with this is so many fans are filming concerts on their phones, and it’s taking them out of the moment. Could VR take them even further out? These questions have yet to be answered because this is all still in the beginning stages of everything, but it’s certainly a consideration if VR is going to be a big new step in the business.
A lot of bands have grown tired of looking out into audiences and seeing a sea of people staring into their phones, to the point where some have even banned phones from their shows. Should a VR concert be a special deal, or could it happen more regularly? Or should it?
One thing we do know is VR could open up a big potential revenue stream for artists. Headsets and apps, purchased by millions of fans, could bring a lot more money into the business. And as Forbes reports, one VR company “has signed deals with the three big major record labels, and it already boasts a large roster of shows and artists, indicating the interest the music industry has in exploiting VR.”
And it’s not just hip-hop artists who want to use VR in concerts. Classic ‘70’s rockers Kiss are also going to be utilizing virtual reality in their shows as well.
So it remains to be seen if VR will reshape the music business, or if it’s a passing fad, but it’s another new element we’ll certainly be watching closely.