Virtual reality has been a revolution in the making for years. Billions of pounds have been spent creating headsets and software that allow users to feel fully immersed in a parallel world.
To date however, the technology has fallen short of expectations, as virtual reality is still principally used by hard-core video game fans.
This is set to change as the number of virtual reality devices soars worldwide, the technology improves and uses proliferate.
EVR Holdings, a young Aim company, is at the centre of this fast-changing industry. The shares are 6.125p and should increase materially, as virtual reality comes of age.
EVR devises virtual reality musical experiences, from concerts to festivals to studio sessions.
Over the past three years, the group has amassed the world’s largest library of virtual reality music, with more than 4,500 hours of songs, recording sessions and live events.
It has also signed agreements with record label giants Warner Music, Universal and Sony, under which it is licensed to create and distribute virtual reality content using these companies’ artists.
Through these agreements and others, EVR now works with more than 500 artists, including Bloc Party, Zara Larsson and even The Who.
In order to deliver all these hours of entertainment, EVR films concerts, festivals and recording sessions around the world, positioning cameras in a number of different places so that consumers can don their virtual reality headsets and imagine themselves on stage, in the audience, backstage or in the gods.
In the UK alone, the group is filming at Cumbria-based festival Kendal Calling later this month.
In August, they go to South West Four in London and in September, they will record Festival Number Six in Portmeirion, Wales.
EVR was founded by Anthony Matchett, an entrepreneur who has spent his career in the music industry, working with some of the best-known names and companies in the business.
His chief operations officer, Steven Hancock, has also been at EVR from the outset, having previously been commercial manager at Ibiza Rocks, building the hotel and music business into one the fastest growing youth brands in Europe.
Through their respective careers, Matchett and Hancock have built a wide network of contacts in the music industry, as well as a keen understanding of youth culture.
The duo now hope to use their experience to build EVR into a significant business, with a leading role in the virtual reality music sector.
The company has already devised an app, which will allow users to download festivals, recording sessions and such like on to their virtual reality headsets.
Payment will vary according to the event that users are downloading and the popularity of the artists involved. However, amounts will be broadly similar to iTunes, even though the experience will be much more immersive.
Despite having built a massive music library and worked out how best to deliver virtual reality music, Matchett and Hancock have not yet launched their app, under the brand name Melody VR.
Their reticence is not because they are still perfecting the technology. Instead, they are waiting until sufficient numbers of virtual reality headsets have been sold to ensure there is genuine demand from consumers.
The delay has caused some concern among investors and EVR shares have halved in the past six months – despite the firm having signed deals with major record companies and, last month, announcing a partnership with Microsoft under which the giant software group will adopt Melody VR on all Windows virtual reality devices.
Looking ahead, prospects are bright. In October 2016, there were a million virtual reality headsets worldwide. Today, there are 12 million and by Christmas, the number is expected to reach 30 million.
At this point, or shortly afterwards, the Melody VR app is likely to be launched and EVR will start to generate sales.
The app is principally aimed at 15 to 30-year-olds and research undertaken by EVR suggests that their response will be enthusiastic.
Music has a much broader appeal than video games, particularly among women and girls. EVR has been testing demand ahead of its official launch and users are keen.
Initially, revenue is likely to be ploughed back into the business but within a couple of years, the company should be profitable.
Matchett and Hancock are also highly motivated to succeed, owning 20 per cent and 17 per cent of the business respectively.
Midas verdict: There are many times when music fans would love to attend a concert, go to a festival or simply experience a recording session with their favourite artists. But the events are too far away, too expensive, sold out or inaccessible.
EVR will give fans access to the second-best thing – a virtual reality experience. The company is young and a pioneer in its field so these shares are not for the cautious.
However, the business could really soar in value when virtual reality technology finally takes off. An exciting punt for the adventurous investor.