Universal Music Group (UMG) has partnered with US radio and events giant iHeartMedia to create a series of virtual reality (VR) music experiences designed to ‘connect artists, music fans and brands and sponsors’.
Full shows from four individual UMG artists will be shot and distributed in VR later this year at the iHeartRadio VR Concert Series held at the iHeartRadio Theater in Los Angeles, with dates TBC.
Many tech experts believe 2016 will see the mainstream maturation of VR headsets, which last saw popularity in the mid-’90s when video game giants released primitive arcade devices such as Sega’s VR-1.
This year’s crop are rather more sophisticated.
Facebook paid $2bn (yes, two billion dollars) for headset maker Oculus VR in 2014. Its Oculus Rift (pictured) will launch in 20 countries on March 28, retailing for $599.
A rival product, the Vive, has been developed by HTC in conjunction with video games developer and download portal Steam.
In addition to recording the full shows, UMG has pledged to unveil at least six one-off VR experiences across iHeartMedia events throughout 2016.
Its first attempt at doing so will arrive at the iHeartRadio Music Awards on April 3, 2016.
Whatever and whoever this showcase involves, it will broadcast live on iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide and on television channels TBS, TNT and truTV.
Other events featuring UMG’s VR showcases, with dates to be confirmed, will include:
- The iHeartRadio Country Festival
- The iHeartRadio Summer Pool Party
- The iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina
- The iHeartRadio Music Festival
- The iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour
Although details are light on how these VR packages will be accessed by consumers, we know one thing: iHeartMedia reaches a heck of a lot of eyeballs and earholes.
Across its radio network, iHeartMedia attracts 245 million monthly broadcast listeners, while online it attracts nearly 90 million digital unique users.
Universal launching Virtual Reality concerts this year - Will you "attend"?
I found this "tweet" on LinkedIn.
Here's what some people have to say:
Adrienne Grieve Definitely NOT attending. This defeats the purpose of an "experience".
Fabio C Colturri I would love to attend. There are great opportunities such as new revenue streams, virtual productions for the shows and even a greater audience reached.
Ulrich Petereit I AM interested. Not EVERY show worldwide can be attended, certainly not AT THE SAME TIME. Thanks, keep me posted.
julie panebianco I think we have to approach it like another experience entirely, not to make concerts a thing of the past, but something else I would absolutely attend
Andy Wain I think it would be better than watching a concert on a flat screen, it would be more immersive, for the gigs that you can't get to ;-)
Martin Blackmore Having been involved in the early days of immersive VR in 1993, very interested!