It was 4:30pm last Tuesday when I got a call that I was getting free VIP tickets to the Coldplay Head of Dreams Show at 8pm. I felt like I won one of those radio contests without having to call in. It was glorious. I'm not one of those people that will line up for tickets, but I did give best effort to get reasonably priced tickets to this show, so this meant a lot to me.
Coldplay tickets were 7,000-25,000 PHP (140 - 500 USD). I think there was a one tier that was lower than 7K but it was so far from the stage you were better off watching from the elevated parking lot nearby. 7-25K is really expensive. Obscene actually, given that the average monthly salary here is about 25,000 PHP. Imagine paying a month's salary for a concert ticket. Crazy right?
This post is a focused on companies that allow you to go to concerts in VR, It's early in the VR concert battleground, so here are a just a few early party goers that might take the crown: NextVR, VRLIVE, Napter VR, and VRTIFY
NextVR is partnered with ticketing company LiveNation to live stream concerts. While Beyonce isn't on the schedule yet, they do have a lot of cool shows and seem to be the most high profile. Sadly for me, it's only available on Google Daydream View or Samsung GearVR. NextVR also has a partnership with NBA League Pass.
VRLIVE has a lot of big name content (Coldplay, Biebs, 5 Seconds of Summer, Demi Lovato. etc. though contrary to what the name might suggest, they are not live. I will check out the Coldplay concert and get back to you.
Napster VR. To be honest when I found out about this, the sensation was like seeing your childhood best friend after 15-20 years. I had this weird excitement, awe, and sense of instant brand alliance. The logo is even the same- the cat with headphones that looks like a DJ. Most notable artist on there for me is Talib Kweli. Their tagline is exclusive performances in VR. Should I search for Kazaa or Limeire VR? Haha :)
VRTIFY. Make your own concert or bring the concert to you. Experience music in mixed reality. You can set up your own music station with mixer, speakers and music library. As a side note, the music library is a carousel of CD's. Not sure why you wouldn't just have a search box for it- having to physically search for a CD is not a 90's memory I would bring back. This is a really cool program for people that are looking to get creative. You can even set a scenic background to your tunes and pretend like you're in Ibiza. It's like that sound mixing program Fruity Loops on Red Bull. I hope you have a large white wall for projection.
Post Game Analysis
Will these Replace Live Concerts? Unlikely.
I don't think live concerts will ever be replaced. There's a special allure that comes with overpriced beers, long lines, and sweaty neighbors screaming out of tune. It's the price you pay to experience greatness. Chris Martin live was greatness. It was inspiring. He loved what he was doing so much that you loved what he was doing. He radiated a warmth and aura that made you want to drop everything and dedicate your life to something and be a better person.
Going the Way of Netflix
Whoever has the best capacity to produce a full sound, body, and mind experience will attract the best music and capture all the best content. Think Netflix. They didn't have the best content in the beginning, but they had a means of distribution that addressed what users really wanted - convenience. So in VR concert case, IMHO, users want a mind blowing experience. If sound and visuals are just marginally better, they'll just stick to YouTube or whatever they currently use.
Even though I think VR concerts won't displace live concerts ever, they will allow wonderful experiences to be accessible to more people and that's awesome. I think the winner is going to whoever can make the sound experience the best, followed by experience. Part of the experience is visuals but now concerts are getting more interactive. Coldplay blasted us with confetti and giant balloons. It was brilliant!
What do you think?
If you went to a VR concert, what's most important to you? Would you pay for a ticket? How much?And wait a minute, I just forgot - how am I supposed to buy my souvenirs?!
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VR & AR are for everyone.