Over the past few years, we’ve seen technology change the entertainment landscape in ways we could never imagine.
Whether it’s been augmented reality giving new life to Pokémon fever, deceased celebrities taking the stage once more in hologram form, or the recent exponential increase in accessibility to our favorite artists, the way we consume media is changing by the day.
In music, streaming services have nearly rendered physical releases a thing of the past, while drones and virtual reality technology have continued to revolutionize the visual experience. More recently, underground music staple Boiler Room has announced a move that could change the concert experience forever.
In a recent press release, Boiler Room has announced a partnership with the virtual reality entertainment company Inception to create the first ever virtual reality music venue.
In recent years, BR has been instrumental in furthering the trend of live-streaming performances from their headquarters with artists like Clams Casino, A-Trak, Black Milk and more, but with their latest announcement the London-based venue plans to change the game completely.
Most of Boiler Room's audience is made up of global online users who tune in to watch music events they can’t attend in person. We’ve always been driven by using technology to showcase the music we care about in the most authentic way we can. - Boiler Room
While this news is certainly exciting (who wouldn’t want the ability to attend a live show in London from the couch in their living room?), the implications of a virtual-reality centered touring market have just as much potential to diminish the concert experience as it does to enhance it.
As far as accessibility, virtual reality concerts would be revolutionary, and could feasibly offer a huge addition to the amount of revenue a tour is able to generate. Imagine if the surrounding areas of major city tour stops—or really, anywhere—could also chip in a few dollars and attend the concert from the comfort of their homes.
From the perspective of someone living in a city that gets passed over more often than not, the prospect of seeing Kanye killing shit in Chicago while sitting in my underwear in Kansas City is definitely a plus.
On the flip side, however, an integral part of the concert experience is, you know, being there. The sense of community, the mosh pits, the liberation of shouting your favorite lyrics at the top of your lungs knowing that no one can hear how tone-deaf you are—these are the things that make concerts great. (Not to mention the overpriced food and drinks, claustrophobia-inducing crowds, rampant body odor, obnoxiously drunk underage kids... wait, maybe this is a good idea?).
A large part of the appeal is also being mere feet away from the artists that we idolize, watching their art manifest energetically in real-time. Nothing can replace those feelings, although Boiler Room seems intent on at least attempting to.
We’ve always been driven by using technology to showcase the music we care about and give fans all around the world an authentic experience of the events and scenes they can’t be part of in person. Building the first ever music venue born for VR is a big evolution of that, creating immersive online experiences that bring people even closer to what it’s like being at a sweaty rave or an amazing concert half-way across the world. - Boiler Room Founder Blaise Bellville, Business Wire
While the prospect of gaining access to live shows across the world with the simple application of a headset is certainly exciting, there’s a long way to go before virtual reality will be able to come close to matching the experience one is subjected to by actually stepping foot in a venue and becoming part of the experience.
While we await the future of virtual concert-going, for now, I’m personally more than happy bumping shoulders with a few hundred like-minded folks and belting out lyrics in unison.
By Brent Bradley. Follow him on Twitter.
Photo Credit: YouTube