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BBC invests in immersive live events firm

The BBC’s investment arm BBC Ventures has invested £500,000 (€590,263) in Bristol-based immersive live events specialist Condense.

Over the past year, BBC Radio 1’s New Music Show with Jack Saunders has worked in partnership with Condense to host a series of immersive live gigs with artists such as Gardna, Charlotte Plank and Sam Tompkins.

The concerts have taken place in a virtual venue called The New Music Portal, where artists’ performances are captured and live-streamed as “true-to-life” video, and fans can join as an avatar on their mobile or laptop and move around the venue like a video game.

“The New Music Portal enables the BBC to bring the best of our performances to younger audiences who are increasingly spending time in these sorts of game-like online environments,” says Jeremy Walker, head of BBC Ventures.

“In fact, they’ve already seen massively popular music events in spaces like Fortnite – young people in their millions have gone to online concerts from megastars like Travis Scott, Billie Eilish and Ariana Grande.”

“The New Music Portal enables the BBC to bring the best of our performances to younger audiences”

The BBC says that, by using Condense’s technology, it can give artists access to this technology at a much earlier stage of their career.

Sam Tompkins, whose performance in The New Music Portal was his first in a virtual environment, said: “The more that this technology moves on, the more we’re going to get closer to that live experience and I think that’s so special. This is a much more accessible way for people to hear live music and I’m all for that.”

BBC Ventures is planning to explore other ways to use Condense technology to bring live and immersive experiences to audiences in areas such as sport, education and news.

Nick Fellingham, Condense CEO, adds: “This partnership positions BBC audiences at the very forefront of the evolution of what it means to be a music fan in an age where people all over the world can now come together in-game to experience live music. You can attend a gig with your cousin who lives hundreds of miles away and share a real moment with your favourite artist through the New Music Portal.”

Founded in 2019, Condense technology is powered by volumetric video, allowing clients to create 3D content instantly and live-stream to mobile, PC, web, consoles, VR and AR.

The firm has previously partnered with telecommunications company BT, Crack Magazine and brand builder Diageo.


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