Virtual reality could put the business back in music

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The digital era has not been kind to the music industry. Widespread downloading, copying and sharing of music have cost musicians millions in lost revenue. Several aspects of virtual reality (VR) technology promise to turn things around and put money back into the pockets of original artists.

The development of fully immersive VR music concerts will provide fans with new exciting ways to experience music that they won’t be able to create for themselves.

Companies are emerging that are creating completely new ways of experiencing music. Universal Music Group (UMG) and iHeartMedia have partnered to create a series of fully immersive music performances that will ‘connect artists, music fans and brands and sponsors’.

Through cutting-edge VR technology this partnership will provide music fans with fully immersive music concert experiences. Beginning in April 2016 with the iHeartRadio Music Awards, all of iHeartRadio’s live events, including the iHeartRadio Country Festival, iHeartRadio Summer Pool Party, iHeartRadio Music Festival, iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina and the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour, will include a VR experience. In addition the two companies will work together on the iHeartRadio VR Concert Series - four shows by four individual artists, shot and distributed in their entirety in VR at the iHeartRadio Theater in Los Angeles, California.

In addition, the two companies are involving brands in developing and distributing these entertainment experiences, creating an interactive, direct connection between brands, artists and music fans.

Where digitization and file sharing have led to a decline in revenues from the sale of CDs resulting in stagnating music industry revenues, VR technology may prove to be a boon to the music industry.

The technology that made it possible for music fans to copy and share music will not be applicable to immersive VR experiences. The technology necessary to record music in virtual reality is expensive. The high cost of production will act as a protection for original content creators against all and sundry copying and redistributing their original content.

On the other hand, companies that leverage virtual technology will be able to give customers unique, totally immersive experiences that sponsors will be eager to support, the scope for marketing being virtually limitless.

VRTIFY is another company that is poised to disrupt the music industry in a way that makes business sense. VRTIFY uses its proprietary technology to create, aggregate and distribute immersive musical content. Users will be able to download VRTIFY's app and with the help of VR headsets will be transported to one of the many VRTIFY virtual worlds where they can enjoy their music. Described as the first of its kind virtual reality (VR) music platform, VRTIFY is currently in private Beta and is inviting interested parties to test their prototype.

Investors seem keen on the idea of a virtual reality music platform. VRTIFY has already received a seed round of $3.2 million from Angel Ventures VC and private investors and is currently raising a Series A round of funding.

The music and entertainment industries, like so many others are about to be turned upside down by VR technology. This time, it looks as if, at least initially, content creators - the musicians and the creators of virtual reality experiences - will retain financial benefit as it won’t be so easy to erode copyright to their content this time around.

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