iHeartRadio and Universal Media Group announced today that they would be teaming up to bring virtual reality to several concerts in 2016. The companies say the partnership will make live music-based "immersive VR experiences" accessible to large US audiences for the first time.
Expect some branding with your VR concert
There are two different ways iHeartRadio and UMG plan to integrate VR into live shows. First, there will be a virtual reality "experience" tied to one UMG artist at every "major marquee iHeartMedia event" like the iHeartRadio Music Awards, the iHeartRadio Music Festival, and the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour. These experiences could occur pre-show, post-show, or during a single set, but will not be an entire VR concert. Then, there will be an iHeartRadio VR Concert Series in Los Angeles, which will feature complete concerts from individual artists shot and distributed in VR.
While VR concerts could be a step toward making live music more accessible for people who can't afford to see big artists like Adele and Lady Gaga at massive arenas, it will also require access to a VR platform. UMG and iHeart also said that brands will help develop and produce these shows, so marketing is probably a big reason for this partnership. That means you can almost definitely expect some form of product integration to go with your VR concert.
This is not the first time virtual reality has been a part of live music
This is not the first time virtual reality has found its way to live music. In 2014, NextVR streamed a Coldplay concert in virtual reality. That same year, Jaunt launched a virtual reality app for Google Cardboard that featured Jack White playing several of his songs.
UMG is still in the middle of booking artists to take part in the concerts, Fortune reports. The first VR music series will take place at the iHeartRadio Music Awards on April 3rd, 2016.