The pros and cons of VR in music

How VR is changing the music industry 

During in the 2000s, the music industry was in a decline. It couldn’t keep up with the innovation in technology and we saw physical album sales plummet to an all-time low. As a result of this, revenue streams for artists began to dry up and it was a time of uncertainty for many musicians. However, a new piece of technology could see the music industry set free of its financial restraints. This new technology is VR and it is slowly influencing a new wave of music consumption.  

VR means virtual reality and it is the experience of a world that doesn’t really exist. A 3D world, which is generated by a computer, in which you can explore, see and touch things that appear to be real – it is the trick of the mind, melded with technology. This is a scary revelation, considering the many applications it could have and it is now beginning to affect the world of music. However, the idea of a virtual reality concert has been around for quite some time. It was first introduced with virtual gigs on an online browser game, called Second Life, in the 2000s. As well as this, music has also crossed over into video games with Minecraft and their “Coalchella” event, a play on words of the popular Coachella festival in America.  

However, with recent evolutions in technology, the virtual reality we see today is the one of utmost importance. In recent times, various companies have cropped up, offering a virtual reality gig experience. Businesses such as: MelodyVRVisualise and NoysVR are all leading the way in the VR music scene. They use 360-degree video cameras and binaural audio to deliver a virtual music experience. These services may be of benefit to artists because of the following reasons. 

  1. It removes the limit on venue capacity and when live gigs are the main source of income for musicians – this could be a life saver. Allowing more people to experience your music and most importantly pay for your music could be incremental to the success of many artist’s careers. 
  1. It makes live shows infinitely reproducible and sellable. Have you ever played a live gig and thought that was the best thing in the world? Well now you can package that gig and sell it as its own stand-alone product. You may have been able to do this before, with tour DVD’s, but with the added value of VR, this makes it a viable product worth for your audience to buy. 

Although, with any change, comes some drawbacks.  

  1. Currently, VR headsets are incredibly expensive and without widespread commercial availability not that many people are using VR. However, many of the above services also work without VR, instead having a 360-degree video for you to view on your mobile or desktop device. 
  1. It creates the illusion of a live show and it isn’t the same. A lot can be said about the connection between the artist and their fans at a live show, especially an intimate one. It is a fear that VR may take away from that connection as you are still sat in your living room, not in an event hall. Artists cannot make that same connection to you as they would if you we’re right in-front of them. 

In conclusion, VR could be a way to release the music industry from its financial boundaries, but It could also change the landscape of music all together. It allows for another revenue stream for artists to gain a paycheck through, but it also limits the connection we have to our favorite musicians. It really seems like an eye-for-an-eye situation but only time will tell if VR will really take off in the music industry.  

What do you think of VR in music? Let me know your thoughts below. 


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