How VR Is Impacting the Music Industry

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Think VR is just for moviegoers and gamers? Think again. Devices like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are taking VR to whole new levels, and massive investment will bring the virtual reality experience to more industries than we can possibly imagine.

One of the first to be radically altered by the VR revolution will be the music industry. In fact, it’s already begun. Apps like Soundstage let you make music using virtual instruments, and bands, like Run the Jewels, have already started making music videos in VR.

A huge number of virtual experiences for musicians and listeners are currently in development. Let’s take a look at some of the changes we can expect in the next few years.

For Listeners

The first shifts we’re likely to see will be based around products for listeners. Here are some innovations that are in the works.

  • Interactive Music Videos- We’ve seen this in the form of 360-degree music videos, but that’s just the beginning. Video content will shift from media that we observe to media that we interact with. Imagine being able to walk through the environment in a music video and interact with features within, all to the tune of your favorite song.
  • Virtual Concerts- You live in New York, your favorite band is playing in London and your best friend lives in LA. In a few years, you’ll be able to meet your friend in a virtual lounge before the show and enjoy the concert together with thousands or even millions of other fans. Companies like JauntVR are bringing the live experience to your VR headset and others like Sansar are looking to provide the social aspect of music to create real emotion and community.
  • Audio Games- Popular games like Rockband and Guitar Hero are about to take a backseat to mind-blowing and completely enveloping audio games of the future. Some games will offer extremely interactive experiences based on a preset track list, while others like Audioshield plan to let you use your own library to game to your favorite tunes. Take a look here.

For Players

Creating music in a virtual environment will offer plenty of benefits to musicians in terms of convenience and inspiration. Here’s how the way we play is about to change.

Virtual Studios and Concerts- Musicians know that studio time costs a ton and revenue comes mostly from live performance. VR will revolutionize both of these services and could even liberate many bands from the production labels that currently provide them. Virtual recording studios will provide unheard of access to high-quality recording and lower costs for musicians, while virtual concerts will allow bands to play more shows, set their own ticket prices and reach more fans.

Interactive Instruments- In VR, even the instruments themselves will become virtual. The Soundstage Music Sandbox already allows you to play virtual drums and keyboards, and new products will likely lead to new ways of creating music that we haven’t seen before. VR instruments will also save musicians time and money. Imagine having every instrument you could dream of at your fingertips? There will be no need to spend money on multiple instruments or on essential services like repairs and music equipment insurance.

Easy Collaboration- Some musicians succeed in collaborating without ever seeing one another, but this is a painstaking process of trial and error. In the future, virtual spaces will allow for constant collaboration between artists and may lead to a breakdown of the concept of the “band.”

Music lovers know how personal an experience music is. The feel of an instrument or the emotion of a live performance can’t be easily recreated. VR may succeed in recreating these experiences, but it will more likely lead to a new era of musical creation and consumption.

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