YouVisit is a specialist studio that prides itself in merging “technology with creativity,” reaching over six million different users with its broad selection of VR offerings to date. It’s also identified the vast potential VR has in tandem with large festival experiences. At last year’s TomorrowWorld in Georgia, the studio partnered with international superstar DJ Armin Van Buuren to create The Armin Effect.
As its first dive into VR concert recordings, The Armin Effect offered viewers 360 degree movement from various camera angles during the world-renowned spinner’s set — from as far back as the peripheral campsite, all the way up to the DJ booth, and even smack bang behind the decks. At CES in January this year, YouVisit showcased the whole performance in 4D by setting users up in a chair that vibrated alongside the music. Although under wraps for now, the studio is said to be currently working with other artists and labels to deliver similar experiences.
Van Buuren's fellow countryman Hardwell is another dance dynasty who’s recently sized up the VR concert experience. At this year’s Miami Music Week at Nikki Beach, the 2013 World Number 1 DJ allowed his set to be streamed globally in full 360 degrees. With exclusive first person views — courtesy of a specialised camera equipped with two fish-eye lenses that can stitch footage together instantaneously — fans could watch on remotely at the hyped crowd, banging tunes and flashing lights via VR headsets, iOS, Android, Apple TV and the web.
Similarly, VR was an integral theme of the 2016 SXSW Interactive, Film and Music Festival earlier this year. The technology was thoroughly explored in panels and presentations, with some field experts proclaiming the medium as the future of both music videos and live performances. Attendees learned that although record sales continue to fall, VR is likely to help the music industry earn revenue. VR concerts might not be as far away as we think.Music festival Coachella recognized the growing appeal of VR this year by launching a new app and shipping Google Cardboard headsets to its attendees alongside their tickets. Debuting ahead of this year’s event, the Coachella VR app was designed to let Cardboard VR, Gear VR, Oculus, and Vive owners browse through 360 degree photos from previous festivals and watch interviews from this year’s lineup of artists. 3D virtual tours of the festival grounds let fans familiarize themselves with the layout before they even left the house. Eventually, the app may even let users live stream acts from their living rooms.
While you’d have to assume this form of concert “going” won’t replace the real thing any time soon, it would provide a less expensive and more accessible way of enjoying your favorite musicians live. Then again, if everyone were to attend gigs in this way, is it possible live performances of the future will take place in front of empty venues, with their attendees watching on from home?