360˚ VR Live Streams: An Opportunity For The Music Industry

28th April 2021

2020’s pandemic catapulted live streams into the limelight. With no events on, it allowed music fans around the world to stay connected to their favourite artists, whilst musicians were able to continue promoting their work and perform to their audiences - albeit with the challenge of not leaving their house. Cue an enormous number of live streams from bedrooms, gardens, kitchens and home studios: where people were able to do a livestream, they did. But there is a problem presented by these virtual performances: it’s incredibly difficult for artists to make money from them. If they ticket them, they run the risk of less people watching them (for a variety of reasons, predominantly though because most of the public are not accustomed to paying for YouTube-like media), however if they don’t ticket them, they are providing a service for free - a gesture we wouldn’t expect from any other industry. So, we ask the question: will music live streams outlive the pandemic or are they just a temporary fill while the events industry can’t operate?


We think they do have a purpose in the post-pandemic world.


Not only have artists become closer with their fans and more open to sharing their creative process, but live music suddenly became accessible to anyone around the world. There is indeed a demand for this. However, we are the digital generation and to stay tied to the limited and boxy format of flat live streams would be a crime against technological development. We believe the music industry will turn to 360˚ live streams: true-to-life media that presents 3D, 360˚ of footage with integrated spatial audio. 

Kate Stapley The Music Trip LiveStream.jpg

Make no mistake, 360˚ live streams cannot - and will not - replace live music; this argument is tired and if 2020 has taught us anything it is that we need social interaction and physical events. They do, however, offer a key features that make them an excellent supporting tool for real-life gigs as we move forward beyond this nightmare of a year. We believe, and hope, events will start offering virtual tickets as well as traditional tickets (known as hybrid events), as not only have we now found a format up to scratch for accurately broadcasting gigs, but it also presents a host of benefits to the artists, promoters and labels who host these events. Here's our top 4.



1. Global Audiences

With every musician having their own engaging, content-rich and highly stylised online profile, they now thrive off having a global audience. Via the unlimited reach of the internet, many artists have a lot of fans in different countries - and in fluctuating numbers - making touring, and indeed strengthening these relationships, a difficult organisational task. How can you satisfy all these fans and give them authentic, fun and personal experiences without playing 300 live shows to various sized audiences in the deepest ends of the Earth? You guessed it - a true-to-life live stream. The reason we emphasise 360˚ live streams though is because having a 16:9 screen perfectly positioned, pointed at an artist, hgihly edited and moving around out of the viewers control, isn’t a real gig experience and people know that. 360˚ live streams mean that viewers across the globe get a realistic gig experience with views they can control: they can look around and hear the whole environment at their leisure; they can feel there with the audience, and they can be up close to the artist. They’re getting the next best thing to an actual gig, and though not the same, multi-sensory experiences still create deep connections with fans and encourage loyalty to artists. Then, when an artist does play a show that’s within reach of them, they’ll be even more likely to make the effort to come.


Live Stream 360˚

2. Larger Income for Artists

Hybrid events mean artists can sell tickets to their physical gig as well as tickets to the 360˚ live stream of the same gig. This can be useful if you’re charging a lot of money for tickets, if your event is sold out, or if you’re wanting a one-off show to reach as many people as possible.  What’s more, 360˚ productions save time and money by not needing camera men shuttling around the stage trying to get the best shots! 360˚ cameras are static and capture everything - which can make for incredibly entertaining experiences. On top of this, by giving your audience something immersive, exclusive and fresh, you’re increasing their chances of spending money to reach that content. You could give your audience a standard live stream, but then you’d be giving everyone the same visual experience. We value music because we all have different and personal connections to it, and therefore a live stream should do it’s best to emulate this. With 360˚ live streams, musicians can give each viewer their very own experience, and there’s an unlimited number of tickets to go round. 


3. Creative Freedom for Event Experiences

360˚ footage is just like traditional footage in that it can incorporate CGI and animation into the live action. Using augmented reality or green screen technology, 360˚ live streams can be anything an artist wants it to be, and their audience will be part of it. Express your individuality, communicate your world and fill up 360˚ of space with your unique concept. Leave no doubt in your viewers mind that they are existing in your world. What's more, as VR and 360˚ technology and production techniques develop, the possibilities and resolution of what can be created will only grow. Viewers will get more and more excited about what will come next, and virtual experiences could end up being on the same level as physical experiences in terms of what they can offer people.



Virtual Reality Live Streams

4. Accessibility to a World-Wide Audience

We can’t all afford to go to multiple gigs a month costing upwards of £150 - but this shouldn’t stop us from getting to experience impressive stage shows. Ticket prices for major artists rose because the shows were getting more expensive to produce and labels and touring companies had to make money. But if you have more tickets to sell, across a larger (world-wide) market, you can lower these prices creating a win-win-win situation: gig-goers get cheaper tickets; virtual attendees get access to a great show for an affordable price; labels and artists have an unlimited number of tickets to sell and therefore uncapped income. 

Live streams importantly allow an artist’s whole audience to access their show, and they don’t have to have a VR headset to enjoy this immersive media. To make the most of spatial sound, all you need are headphones. To look around the 360˚ environment you can get yourself a phone VR headset (ranging from £9.99 to £89.99), or you can simply watch on your laptop or desktop using the arrows to move your view.

Our growing tiredness of not being able to go to venues to see live gigs means we are wishing away the live stream. However at The Music Trip, we're confident that post-pandemic, people will still see the value of them - especially ones that incorporate new and experimental technology to give online viewers the best experience. The pandemic has changed us, and suddenly everyone around the world is experiencing the same restrictions and inability to reach gigs. It’s this shared experience that we hope will make artists, labels and promoters aware of the importance of offering audiences around the world an equally accessible, affordable and exciting live performance experience.


Thinking about creating a 360˚ live stream? Whether it’s streaming a show you have planned, or from a studio using green screen, unreal engine, or augmented reality technology, get in touch with us at hello@themusictrip.co.uk and we can get started straight away. We have access to some of the best studios in the UK, and our portable 360˚ live streaming rig means we can also travel to any venue of your choice.

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