Concerts Are Back– And you Don’t Even Have to Leave your Bedroom
In January of 2020, I had about 6 different sets of concert tickets burning a hole in my pocket. My entire summer was booked, and I could not be happier. Then overnight, everything changed. In the blink of an eye, an entire industry collapsed, all my tickets were refunded, and all my plans were shattered.
This is the universal story of just about every music fan’s pandemic experience. Let’s face it, concerts are just fun, and losing them was never going to be anything short of devastating.
But every catastrophe carries silver linings, and the music industry is no different. Almost as quickly as live music vanished, the industry, in Darwinian fashion, adapted. From record labels to social media companies, from pay-per-view shows to free Instagram live sessions, artists began to find new ways to bring music back to their fans worldwide.
But no live stream, no matter how realistic, could ever recreate the deafening audio, voracious crowds, and auditory intoxication that only live music can produce. That is, until now.
In a groundbreaking partnership with Sony Music and Verizon, Epic Records pop artist Madison Beer has responded to customer demand by creating a concert experience, in Virtual Reality.
According to a Sony Music press release “The immersive experience will take place in a meticulous recreation of the Sony Hall concert venue in New York City and will feature dazzling special effects that capture Madison Beer’s artistic vision in full. The set will include an electrifying performance of her latest single “BOYSH*T” that highlights the new opportunities for artists to push the boundaries of their imagination and creativity within virtual spaces”
Fans will have access to the VR experience through Playstation VR or Oculus VR consoles. There will also be a 2D version that will stream on all music video sharing platforms, for those who do not own Sony Consoles. Although the exact debut date is unknown, Sony states that the experience should be ready later this winter.
In the same press release, Beer stated that “I love creating visuals, so it was really exciting for me to get involved in the process and make something special for my fans. We’re all disappointed we can’t go out and experience these songs on tour together, so creating a performance like this one feels like a true gift.”
The goal of Beer, Sony, and Verizon, is to bring new technologies to consumers in a way that reconnects them to the artists they love in a way that has never been done before.
BOUNDLES by Sony
The question everyone is asking is, can VR ever replace the real thing. Even Beer herself admits that the answer is no. But with COVID-19 still very much at large, and with concerts not expected to return until late 2021 and 2022, Beer, Sony, and Verizon have found a way to at least keep music alive in a way that feels just about as real as a virtual concert can ever feel.
If there is any silver lining hidden within the devastation of the pandemic, it’s that artists are forced to innovate, get creative, and change what it means to listen to music and go to a concert. I expect many other artists to follow in Beer’s wake, as fan outreach becomes increasingly necessary to stay afloat. That being said, I can safely say that everyone is looking forward to the return of music in the way it was meant to be heard: live, loud, and larger than life.
Arie Likhtman is a double major in music industry studies and Critical Communication and Media Studies with a minor in philosophy at Butler University. Originally from St.Louis Missouri, he has played music since the age of 4, studying everything from classical piano to ballroom dance to saxophone. He is deeply passionate about all aspects of music from the hot 100 charts to underground indie rock. He hopes to use his voice as a writer to bring new artists to the forefront of the conversation, and to offer new perspectives on music, culture, and society as a whole