How VR will mark the next step in the electronic music revolution

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Since EDM hit the mainstream in a huge way around the start of this past decade, the electronic music bubble has seemingly grown to a size that is bigger than anything any expert could have predicted. But with technologies constantly changing, one of the key areas that many DJs and producers look to is what the future holds. How can artists get a step ahead of their rivals in their careers? How can they utilise new features to appear innovative, or offer fans a brand new experience? One of the key features of such questions may rest within the realm of Virtual Reality. This comes after the recent news that The Glitch Mob partnered with TheWaveVR to create an insane visual experience for their album ‘See Without Eyes’.

What is a VR music experience?

Launching the full VR experience on June 21st, fans of The Glitch Mob were able to completely immerse themselves in the electronic album, marking the world’s first social virtual reality (VR) music platform. ‘See Without Eyes’ takes users on a VR odyssey of shifting dreamscapes choreographed to a 20-minute custom mix of the album. As users fly through several environments, they can interact with each other as well as become part of the visuals. The show – available to any Oculus Rift or HTC Vive VR headset owner through TheWaveVR’s free app – Was made available globally on the Oculus Store and Steam, and was broadcast live on TheWaveVR Facebook page. Fans were also able to go into a looped version of the experience at their leisure via TheWaveVR app once the live version of the show was complete.

Who are The Glitch Mob?

The globally renowned trio, Boreta (Justin Boreta), edIT (Ed Ma) and Ooah (Joshua Mayer) – alias The Glitch Mob – are no strangers to creating new and innovative sounds that depict their musical evolution. Ever since the release of their 2011 debut album ‘Drink The Sea’, The Glitch Mob have continuously proven to be masters of their craft. Their signature glitch-electronica sound expanded the guidelines of electronic music production and pegged them as one of the most unique acts in the dance music realm. 2018 has been a massive year for the LA-based bandmates. Their profound passion for combining visual art, technology and music led them to design a custom stage that merged the three into one instrument, the Blade 2.0. Their third studio album, ‘See Without Eyes’, landed them the #1 spot on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums chart for two consecutive weeks.

What was the idea behind the project?

“TheWaveVR and Strangeloop Studios have masterfully crafted a new dimension to the album, and we’re beyond excited for people to take the ride. ‘See Without Eyes VR’ is an entirely new way to experience the music as a full-body immersive journey,” said The Glitch Mob.

Bringing a visual component to their music and utilizing technology to engage with fans, the VR journey unlocks an entirely new medium of creative expression for fans to experience and engage with the album and is one of the key ways fans will experience a musician or band’s visual inspiration in the future. “This show expands upon what we’ve learned from doing several others, but goes much deeper into environmental storytelling and interactive design,” said Adam Arrigo, TheWaveVR CEO and co-founder. “Part film, part concert and part art installation, the show explores themes fundamental to immersive technology, such as the relationship between isolation and social interaction in the digital world. It’s far and away our most ambitious endeavor to date.”
TheWaveVR recently closed a $6 million Series A funding round and also had a successful collaboration with Warner Bros that brought to life the dance club scene from Steven Spielberg’s new action adventure ‘Ready Player One.’

How will this move impact the future of electronic music?

Ryan Pulliam, CEO of Specular Theory, offers his take on the situation, adding: “The traditional tools and ways of thinking about storytelling simply don’t apply to VR. It’s is a whole new medium and language of storytelling that requires new tools, techniques, understandings and processes—creative and technical—for the way we tell stories. If what you’re trying to do can also be done in 2D, it probably won’t make for a great story in 360. We strive to let the storytelling drive the piece and adapt the approach to the given narrative. The story needs to be custom-tailored to the medium, so creators must approach the concept with a full 360-degree viewpoint in mind to enhance the story, not simply enlarge it. In traditional media forms and at live events, there has always been a space between the audience and the content. When you strap a VR headset to someone’s face, they are immediately engaged and immersed in your story. We’re no longer spectating; we’re experiencing. Good content means allowing the viewer to feel truly transported by an experience, which comes down to attention to detail on all fronts: creative concept, resolution, audio and movement.”

With so many DJs and producers now riding the wave of this technological movement, Ryan’s points are indeed, valid. In order to preserve your career, to stay relevant in an ever-changing musical landscape, and push the boundaries you work with everyday, artists need to embrace, and introduce it into your work. Doing so, will bring your fans close to you, as you offer them a personal, and unique intimate experience, and will build your fanbase in the process.