The allure of attending a live concert has always been the fact that you can get up close and personal with the band and their music. You are a fan, and that immersive live-music experience far overshadows listening to digital download or album from your favorite artist. Times are changing, however. Binge watching Netflix or watching first-run movies from the comfort of your couch is becoming the new norm. No longer do you have to trudge to the theater just to buy highly overpriced tickets and snacks. This traditional business model no longer works (we can thank the millennials for that) and will become even less relevant when TVs technology becomes more advance and when we can use VR headsets to watch the latest and greatest movie or series.
The same phenomenon is headed in the direction of concerts and live music events. Of course, there will always be the “die hards” who will never want to do anything other than attend a concert in person - but how about all those people sitting 100 rows back where Twenty-One Pilots look like mere specs on a stage? Concert promoters often have to set up huge monitors in multiple locations just so that the entire crowd can feel like part of the experience.
Enter Virtual Reality (VR). VR has been defined as "a realistic and immersive simulation of a three-dimensional 360 degree environment, created using interactive software and hardware, and experienced or controlled by movement of the body" or as an "immersive, interactive experience generated by a computer". A recent Billboard.com article titled Front Row Seats From Your Couch: How VR Could Change Concerts, states that “Companies have more creative freedom than ever when it comes to developing music -- VR platforms”. The Chainsmokers, FatBoy Slim and other artists working with MelodyVR and Warner Music, will offer virtual reality access to shows in an unprecedented fashion. There will be a number of locations set up during the live event whereby a VR attendee can ‘move around’ the entire venue in real time. More and more influential creators are also getting involved in VR. Facebook and YouTube both now support 360-degree video. The opportunity for increased exposure and additional revenue growth is staggering.
During the latest SXSW event, VR was all the rage. CNET published an article that stated that music videos as well, may soon be transformed using VR. Chris Milk, the Founder and CEO of Within, a VR company explained that "It's (using VR) the closest thing to raw music I've ever found. Music and VR together will redefine what we understand a music video to be."
So, it stands to reason that VR holds the promise to be transformative and to reshape the future of every facet of visual entertainment, media and music consumption.
The loyal fan will always crave a tactile and personal connection with the band or entertainer. They will pay any price for the ticket, the T-Shirt and everything else they can get their hands on. However, delivering a life-like concert experience via VR to a much larger fan base may become the next frontier of concert engagement.