Right now, VR is getting a lot of attention and hype, especially in the music world. Artists like Run the Jewels
, and U2
are already getting their feet wet with the still-developing tech, creating 360-degree music videos and musical experiences. There's a lot of talk about how VR could potentially change the game in terms of live music and festivals, with publications like Noisey
noting that festivals seem to be "gearing up for an arms race in VR experiences." People are considering possibilities from enhanced, 360-degree concert streaming, to allowing more fans to view the show from the first row, to even allowing fans to "perform" on stage along with their favorite artists, all through VR. So far, my only experiences with VR have been at either mall kiosks or contemporary art museums. Obviously VR, especially high-quality VR, isn't the most accessible way of consuming content at the moment, but if it becomes more accessible, it has potential to totally shake up the way we consume and interact with music.
Personally, I'm super excited by the thought of VR - it's right up there next to 3D printers on my list of cool new things. For some reason, I always think of the Sims
games when I think about VR - something about being able to act in a different world makes both things really appealing, which is only amplified with VR.
The only thing I fear from VR (aside from the Ray Bradbury's conception of it in "The Veldt,") is that it could go the same way as 3D movies and TV. For a little while back in 2010, 3D was pretty much hyped up as much as VR is right now. Avatar
was huge because people were curious to see the cutting-edge 3D technology. The novelty quickly wore off though, and the negative aspects of 3D prevented it from living up to the hype; it was more difficult and expensive to set up and use a 3D TV in the average household, and even people who bought 3D TVs generally ended up never using the function anyway.
One of the most important things that will determine whether VR will live up to its potential, aside from whether its technical issues can be solved, will be the value of the content. I don't know about anybody else, but I don't think I'd go out and buy a VR system just because I can watch a concert "from the front row" with it. The only real difference between that and watching a regular old 2D video of the concert is that you can turn around and look everywhere, which kind of seems like a novelty that would be cool at first but quickly wear off. People who create content for VR need to figure out how to make things that actually can't be done with just video, because otherwise why would anyone go to the trouble after it's no longer novel? Interactivity will need to be a part of it.
Of course, I don't really have a specific idea about what the future of VR in music should be - otherwise, I'd probably be trying to make it happen right now, because VR is such a cool concept that I feel like whatever that special, undiscovered possibility is, I need
it in my life. With so much potential to be revolutionary, I just hope VR is treated like the new and exciting thing it is, rather than an upgrade to video and live music experiences.