In the past couple of years, significant strides have been made in the intersection of extended reality and music. In this blog post, I’ll discuss some of the up-and-coming applications of XR in the music industry. As the music industry embraces the boundless possibilities offered by XR, the way we consume, create, and appreciate music is undergoing a revolutionary transformation. Continuing to explore the endless applications of XR in the music industry has made one thing certain – the future of music is not just heard; it’s experienced.
Immersive Concert Experiences:
Especially after the Pandemic, the way the world views live events has changed immensely. As venues began offering remote experiences, people have come to understand the value of being able to access content anywhere at any time. Fans, equipped with VR headsets, can teleport themselves to the front row of a live concert from the comfort of their homes, creating an unparalleled sense of presence. Furthermore, it makes music performance accessible to more people. Artists can now reach global audiences without physical boundaries through virtual concerts. Fans with disabilities are able to choose their seats freely, without the constraints of a physical concert venue. This not only expands the reach of musicians but also provides fans with a more immersive and intimate connection to their favorite artists. Many platforms have already had great success with this medium of performance. For example, Ariana Grande collaborated with Fortnite to create an immersive performance that integrated a mini game. Other musicians had previously performed in Fortnite, but Grande’s experience in particular stood out to fans because of the elements of interactivity that they wouldn’t have been able to get at an in-person concert (Deripaska).
Immersive Music Creation:
Behind the scenes, XR can empower musicians with more immersive music creation experiences. Virtual environments can enable artists to experiment with new sounds and compositions in a three-dimensional space. It is able to closely mimic real-life physical instrumental set-ups without taking up the space or costing as much money. The sound of live instruments has its own charm, of course. But, for people who don’t have access to a drum kit or a variety of different guitars, VR music creation tools can be a great alternative to purchasing all the instruments they want to try. Virtuoso, for example, is a “VR musical sandbox” that allows users to play around with all types of instruments, and share their creations with the world (Virtuoso VR). Beyond offering virtual versions of instruments ranging from drums to keyboard, this app allows musicians to create in a totally customizable environment to match their creative mood. They can play guitar in the middle of the ocean, or the organ in outer space. It offers a totally new, engaging mode of music creation that has never been seen before. Additionally, with strides in spatial audio, the sound quality in VR music creation experience is comparable to live music creation.
AR-enhanced Live Performances:
Augmented Reality is enriching the live concert experience by overlaying digital content onto the real-world environment. Imagine attending a concert where AR elements enhance the stage setup, displaying dynamic visualizations that directly synchronize with the music performance. AR glasses or smartphone apps can bring an extra layer of visual excitement to live performances, making concerts more visually engaging and memorable to audiences. Gorillaz is a band that is well-known for experimenting with digital representations of themselves. The band itself is technically made up of four “virtual” characters (of course backed by real voices and musicians). These personas have become the face of the band- allowing Gorillaz to really get creative with how they hold concerts and represent these digital band members in a live performance. Recently, they held concerts in New York and London, powered completely by AR technology. Using Google’s GeoSpatial API, screens in Times Square and Piccadilly Circus superimposed the Gorillaz band members onto the real world around them (Google Blog). Fans could also engage with their phones, creating a truly immersive, one-of-a-kind experience.