While Pokemon Go is dominating the world of augmented reality, people in the music industry are now trying to break into virtual reality. Virtual reality is paving the way for digital advertising of the future, after all. It has the ability to get fans in the same room as their favorite band without having to leave their home. For example, the popular artist Deadmau5 has released a virtual reality videogame with Absolut, called Absolut Deadmau5. This partnership, and the game itself, is spreading the artist’s reach by allowing him to entertain people from afar.
Virtual reality has been rising in popularity for a while. It is used to immerse people in experiences they may not otherwise have. Additionally, being in the music industry is all about connecting with fans. Every artist is constantly looking for ways to become more accessible to their audience, and virtual reality to them is the logical next step. Deadmau5 is not the only one dabbling in this new medium; even older artists like Duran Duran, and U2 have started to roll out interactive music videos, in which viewers are allowed a 360 degree scrolling view of the performance. It gives the viewer more of an inclusive video-watching experience, and was a first foray into virtual reality shows.
More eclectic singer-songwriters have jumped at the chance to utilize this new combination of art and technology. The famous Bjork, for example, is currently working on a series of videos with virtual reality incorporated throughout. There are even some shots from inside her mouth as she sings.
Popular labels are seizing this opportunity to team up with technology companies, even though their virtual reality projects are not being rolled out as quickly as they had initially hoped. iHeartMedia Entertainment Enterprises, for example, thought it would be able to have at least 6 virtual reality projects released by the end of the year. Now they have settled on having at least one virtual reality element incorporated into an upcoming Fall music festival. One of the main issues with distributing virtual reality experiences to the general public is, of course, the cost. Even the least expensive of virtual reality headsets are still hundreds of dollars a piece. This is too expensive for the average listener to afford.
Nonetheless, labels and technology companies are still producing virtual reality content in hopes that headsets will catch up soon. I can say with conviction that virtual reality is going to be the next big thing in popular music, if the prices of headsets can be lowered enough to be sold to more people. Virtual experiences of live shows, for example, can help fans feel like they are part of a performance without having to spend the money to go to one, and that is a powerful new way to build an audience.