|Over the years, the music industry has undergone so many changes that it’s enough to make anyone’s head spin / Photo by: The Austinot via Flickr|
Over the years, the music industry has undergone so many changes that it’s enough to make anyone’s head spin. Aside from the rise of streaming services making music more easily accessible to audiences, the industry has also seen a lot of changes in the background (more attention to the mental health crisis, more diversity, and representation in artists), as well as on the surface (streaming, new technology used in making more music). Recently, it has started to take advantage of technology and incorporate it into the works of artists.
So far, the buzz is that the music industry is thinking of banking on VR concerts. Already, some artists are testing out this trend. According to business news magazine Forbes, Post Malone tried it out back on October 3, 2019, during which he worked with the Oculus Venues app to bring his North Carolina concert to VR.
MelodyVR, Oculus Venues, NextVR, and the Music Industry’s VR Potential
Anyone attending concerts knows that it’s all about the experience. It’s all about being there. But for many, going to a concert is not easy. Whether it’s because someone resides in an area that is typically not considered for concerts, or it’s just not something people can fit into their budget, going to concerts can sometimes be a luxury.
This is the need that MelodyVR would like to fill. According to Forbes, MelodyVR aims to “deliver exclusive virtual reality music experiences and original content to music fans.” Much like content on YouTube—and because the money going into this will also be given to the artist—the service will be monetized and the MelodyVR platform says it will be working with “globally recognized international recording artists.”
Even though MelodyVR is still in its infancy, it seems that it already has a market. As of recent reports, MelodyVR is already valued at $288 million. John Gore Organization, a music firm investing in the service, has already expanded its funding by 8.4%.
In another report by Broadway World, a New York-based theater news website, it was said that MelodyVR is also thinking of celebrating Music Discovery Month, which it said “will shine a light on the most exciting new talent in a deeper, more connected way than ever before.”
MelodyVR further said that the added feature of VR will help bring fans to “locations that have played a significant role in the artists’ musical journeys to this point,” which is undeniably an amazing feature for fans who would like to really understand where their favorite artists are coming from.
Some artists that MelodyVR will be using this feature for will be up-and-coming indie people such as Ashnikko, who started her career on TikTok. She’s already got the look—the just-over-the-edge grunge that seems to be popular on the platform—and now she’s got backing to launch her career too.
Ashnikko said she views working with MelodyVR as a good opportunity for her since it will help her engage her fans in a new and innovative way.
As mentioned before, Facebook’s Oculus Venues also aims to work alongside the music industry to offer its services. After its start in 2018, Oculus Venues has since collected “a wide range of A-list artists” on the platform, like the aforementioned Post Malone, Tenacious D, and now Grammy award-winning Billie Eilish.
NextVR is also a VR service that is making its name in this industry intersection. NextVR has been working with LiveNation since 2017, and has since brought an “unprecedented concert experience.” They offer backstage access features to artists such as Imagine Dragons, A$AP Ferg, and Damien Marley.
VR is being eyed by the music industry for the sole reason that it has the potential to be lucrative.
For perspective, another Forbes report stated that MelodyVR is also attractive to financial bosses, having already collected $90 million in financial backing. For $7.99 to $14.99, anyone can avail of the services offered by the company.
It’s still just starting so there are no subscription rules just yet, but if MelodyVR is finally ready for it, Forbes wrote that this will likely help the app’s profitability immensely. Among the three aforementioned VR companies, though, only MelodyVR has gotten a hold of three big major record labels.
If consumers avail the services of the VR, they will be able to choose performances by Kiss, Wiz Khalifa, Sean Paul, Five Finger Death Punch, Lewis Capaldi, The Kooks, The Streets, Rudimental, Bullet for My Valentine, Fleet Foxes, Fall Out Boy, Jamiroquai, Kasabian, The Who, and many more.
Since the music industry landscape is recently plagued by dipping album sales, resorting to VR can also help artists who have resorted to more touring after album sales went down. VR might even be an important source of profit in the future of music and even help the image of pop music, which still dominates the charts right now despite its flaws.
|VR is being eyed by the music industry for the sole reason that it has the potential to be lucrative / Photo by: Anthony Quintano via Flickr|
Forbes said this is because VR might actually help continue the dominance of pop music in the music scene, seeing as how the genre is “largely defined not so much by the music itself but by its supply of images of personality, identity, authenticity, and presence.” VR positions itself as a way for fans to connect some more with their favorite artists and even with the biggest stars of music—an emblematic feature of pop music fandom.
Forbes added that it will be just what the music industry needs since “VR reinforces and extends this illusion of presence, providing us with the illusion that our favorite musicians are really there with us as they perform their songs, when in fact we’re just sitting or standing on our own in empty rooms.
“So even though VR-streaming might seem like an unusual or alien addition to the music industry’s arsenal of products, it’s in almost perfect continuity with what mass music has been for several decades now. It can make live shows infinitely reproducible and sellable, and it deepens the illusory sense of presence that we often feel towards pop stars.”
In short, VR may be basically just an illusion, but it’s still the next best thing to attending our favorite musician’s live concert.