Virtual Reality technology and music… How could they be used together ? 

Virtual Reality (VR) is becoming more and more popular these days… Big companies such as Facebook, Apple or Sony are investing in their own VR headset and this is giving more and more credibility to the technology, meaning that developers can have more confidence in the commercial potential of the applications they can build for it!

With the unfortunate sanitary crisis of covid-19, VR is currently one of the few industries that has seen an important economic growth in the last two years. It has quickly become a serious candidate to change current social/professional activities by coping with the issue of social distancing. As an example, VR is now used for visiting houses, learning, assisting at conferences, practising meditation, playing video games and sport, …

I personally believe that VR, as a technology, will become as essential as the internet has become over the last 20 years, and one of the main applications that I want to contribute to develop is music performance!

Virtual concerts

The first time I heard of a virtual concert was in April 2020, when Travis Scott, a very notorious US rapper, performed a show inside the video game Fortnite

When I watched the replay on Youtube of the concert, I was blown away by the innovative interactions between the artist and the audience, that a virtual environment could allow, in comparison to the real world. Sometimes the artist would have the size of a skyscraper, sometimes the audience was transported into space and floated in a zero gravity environment.

I was just imagining myself: what if instead of watching this on a PC screen, I had a VR headset ? YES! This has definitely too much potential to be missed!

I discovered that some companies have already started to work on the idea: 

  • In Europe, one important company is MelodyVR. They are building 360° videos of live music performance, and they are already working with famous artists, such as Cypress Hill, Wiz Khalifa, Imagine Dragons, Macklemore…
The Weeknd concert,

  • In the US, a company called WaveXR, is focused on building entire virtual performances, with artists incarnated as avatars. They have been working with artists such as The Weeknd, John Legend or Lindsey Stirling.
  • Personally hyped about Haywyre concert on the 22th of July 🙂

    More companies are emerging and integrating VR with music production or performance:

    Virtual studios

    Some companies have also integrated VR into the development of the workflow of music production ! 

    • Modulia Studio is a French company that has built a new interface for Digital Audio Workstations (DAW), and that is mainly developed to work with Ableton Live. It can also be used standalone.
    Modulia Studio,

  • Volta XR is an English company that has also adapted a virtual environment using game-engine mechanics to interact with sound.
  • The current Abbey VRoad Studios project is following the same concept; the objective is to build an audiovisual system allowing musicians to rehearse and record inside a virtual environment, using spatial audio and VR headsets to be immersed in the experience.

    If you want to stay informed on the project progress, you will find new information in the project page around the end of September 2021. In the meantime, if you want, you can always contact me and I will be happy to have a discussion on the subject.

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