fbpx

PROFILE

MY SUBSCRIPTION

LOGOUT

x

The latest industry news to your inbox.

    

I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities

    

I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

F8: Facebook unveils Oculus Venues for VR live streaming

Facebook execs yesterday took the wraps off Oculus Venues, a new social events app which will deliver virtual-reality (VR) live events, including concerts and sporting events, to users of its Oculus Go and Gear VR headsets.

Oculus Venues – developed in partnership with NextVR, Live Nation’s VR company of choice – combines live social engagement with the VR event experience, allowing fans to watch live music, sports and comedy along with their friends and potentially “thousands of other people” in virtual reality. The app launches on Oculus Go and Gear VR on 30 May.

In addition to Live Nation, NextVR’s other content partners include several top-level sports leagues and companies, including the National Basketball Association (NBA), World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), the National Football League (NFL) and the National Hockey League (NHL).

Launch partnerships for Oculus Venues include New York’s famed Gotham Comedy Club; School Night, a club night at Bardot Hollywood showcasing up-and-coming artists; and International Champions Cup, the global football competition.

“Oculus Venues is a bold move to provide profound social VR engagement”

“Oculus Venues is a bold move to provide profound social VR engagement, and we are honoured to deliver such an important part of this new product release from Oculus,” says David Cole, NextVR’s co-founder and CEO.

“NextVR has built a passionate fan base around leading VR content experiences. Venues will satisfy our fans who want to enjoy this type of content on a massively social scale.”

Facebook has owned Oculus since 2014, when it acquired the VR hardware platform for a reported US$3bn.

According to VR Scout, the first Oculus Venues show will be a performance by Vance Joy, in partnership with AEG.

A short video released by Road to VR (via Oculus) shows the platform in action at a football match:

Other innovations unveiled at Facebook’s annual developer conference, F8, which kicked off yesterday morning, include a dating feature, FaceDate, video chat for Instagram, a ‘clear history’ function and Oculus TV, which allows Oculus users to watch television inside their headsets.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

UMG launches own VR app with A7X show

Though its previously announced partnership with iHeartMedia has apparently yet to bear fruit, Universal Music Group (UMG) is upping its experiments with virtual reality (VR) with the launch of a dedicated app, VRTGO, in partnership with its subsidiary Capitol Records and VR production company VRLive.

The new platform will launch officially tomorrow (27 October) with a live-streamed VR performance by Capitol artists Avenged Sevenfold. The show will be shot by Nokia OZO VR cameras, which also record 3D/spatial audio.

“VRTGO is a truly immersive and creative platform for our artists to tell their stories and invite their fans around the world to experience live performances and music videos like never before,” says Deborah Hyacinth, UMG’s senior vice-president of digital marketing innovation. “We’ve employed state-of-the-art technology to make VRTGO a cross-device platform and home to some of the world’s best VR content.”

“Virtual reality is destined to change the media landscape, which will enable users to not just view entertainment – rather, it allows them to experience it”

VRLive’s CEO’s, Heiner Lippman, adds: “We are excited about our partnership with Universal Music Group, as it gives us the opportunity to provide the viewing audience with unprecedented levels of access. Virtual reality is destined to change the media landscape, which will enable users to not just view entertainment – rather, it allows them to experience it, and VRLive will continue to transform how people view and interact with the world around them.”

Live Nation signed a similar agreement with NextVR in May that will be see select shows shot and distributed in virtual reality. A Nielsen study earlier this month revealed that early adopters of VR are big consumers of live music, outspending the average concertgoer by 195%.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

VR users are big spenders on concerts

Virtual reality (VR) is a major opportunity for concert promoters, with early adopters of the technology outspending the average American by almost 2:1 on live events.

While much has been made of VR’s potential to transform the concert business, conceivably growing massively the audience for live music by enabling those unable to attend to still experience a show, a new study by Nielsen is the first to focus on VR enthusiasts’ spending habits.

Nielsen surveyed more than 8,000 consumers aged 18–54, dividing those interested in VR into two pun-tastic categories: PaVRs (pronounced “pavers”), who make up roughly 24% of the US population between 18 and 54, say it’s “likely that they will use or even possibly purchase VR technology in the next year”, while ConVRts (“converts”), who represent around 20% of US 18–54 population, “aren’t the most likely to try VR on their own, [but] exposure to even just a little information about the technology and applications boosts their interest levels”.

The market research firm found that PaVRs outspend the average consumer on tickets to concerts and live events by 195%, as well as on fast food by 179% and alcoholic beverages by 170%.

“PaVRs are triple-A consumers. They appreciate premium quality, and are willing to pay a premium price”

“Advertisers will be pleased to find that PaVRs are triple-A consumers,” says Nielsen’s director of lab research. “They adopt new products and service, they advocate for the brands they love and they appreciate premium quality – and are willing to pay a premium price.”

2016 has so far seen a host of new live music-related VR projects as the technology gains ground in the industry, including joint ventures between VFX studio Digital Domain and Warner Music Taiwan, Universal Music and iHeartMedia and Live Nation and NextVR.

VR headsets were also handed out at AEG Live’s Coachella festival in April, Eindhoven venue Effenaar earlier this month announced plans to transform itself into a high-tech VR hub during the early-week lull and Wacken Open Air was filmed in VR to create “rock’s first narrative VR experience”.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Live Nation buys YouTube MCN InDMusic

Though much has been made in recent weeks of Live Nation’s move into virtual-reality (VR) streaming via a partnership with previously sports-focused VR capture outfit NextVR, the world’s leading concert promoter and ticketer has also acquired YouTube rights-management company and multi-channel network (MCN) InDMusic as it continues to seek new opportunities in video.

“Live Nation has one of the largest digital platforms in the music space, but due to the transactional nature of our traffic we’ve been historically underserved in video and have not had a central place to service our portfolio of leading music brands or artist partners,” Live Nation Entertainment chief strategy officer Jordan Zachary (pictured) tells VideoInk‘s Jocelyn Johnson. “The InDMusic team has been in the trenches building the foundations of an artist-forward administration business specific to the new UGC [user-generated content] ecosystems, like YouTube, which differ greatly from other streaming platforms, such as Spotify.”

“We’ve been historically underserved in video and have not had a central place to service our portfolio of leading music brands or artist partners”

As part of the tie-up, Live Nation has relaunched its YouTube channel and hopes to find new ways to monetise and distribute content on behalf of its artist and label partners. It will also revive its Live Nation Studios division, launched in 2006, to develop and produce a number of music-related video projects.

InDMusic came to widespread attention in 2013 at the height of the popularity of the ‘Harlem Shake’ meme by helping composer Baauer to secure licensing fees from the thousands of video uploaders using the track.

Meet NextVR, the startup bringing LN shows to VR headsets

Live Nation earlier this month announced a landmark deal with tech company NextVR that will see concerts by its promoted artists filmed and streamed in virtual reality (VR) by NextVR to viewers worldwide – the first such partnership of its kind.

To many in the concert business NextVR will be far from a household name, but the California start-up has over the past few years pioneered VR broadcasting in a number of other live and sporting events, signing lucrative partnerships with the NBA, CNN (with which it live-streamed the 13 October Democratic presidential debate), golf tournament the Masters, motor racing series Nascar and boxing promoter Golden Boy Promotions. On 18 April, at broadcast trade show NAB in Las Vegas, it foreshadowed its move into live music with the launch of its first VR production truck, which David Cramer, the company’s senior vice-president of corporate strategy, says will allow for “rapid deployment at an arena or stadium for the increasing demand for live virtual-reality content”.

The first NextVR-captured Live Nation concert will kick off in July, and while it isn’t the company’s first experience with live music – “We’ve already captured a Coldplay concert,” Cramer tells IQ from the company’s headquarters in Laguna Beach, referring to a short clip that formed part of NextVR’s first demo reel on its Samsung GearVR app – Cramer says filming a VR gig is markedly different to the sporting events at which it’s now a dab hand.

“People want a different experience when they’re experiencing a concert as opposed to a game. At music performances you want a sense of the venue and to be immersed in the crowd”

“People want a different experience when they’re experiencing a concert as opposed to a game,” he explains. “At music performances you want a sense of the venue and to be immersed in the crowd. Very quickly the viewer tends to want to be close to the artist, so there are different opportunities to explore when delivering a VR concert experience compared to a sporting event.”

Cramer is reticent to reveal which Live Nation acts NextVR will be filming, but does say Bryan Adams, Rihanna and Beyoncé would all be “amazing to work with” and promises a “regular supply of world-class live music”.

The initial run of Live Nation–NextVR concerts will be free to watch, but Cramer says he anticipates moving to a pay-per-view model in future. However, he does say that he doesn’t think “the price to experience a concert in virtual reality will cost more than being there in person” as, “while virtual reality is a great option for those who can’t make it to the show, the experience doesn’t take the place of actually being there”.

Now that NextVR has a deal with one of the ‘big two’ promoters, can a partnership with the other be far behind? Cramer is tight-lipped: “We’re really excited with the deal we announced with Live Nation.”

That’s not a “no”…