Where are all the VR Music Experiences at?
We all know how amazing Beat Saber is. With its EDM playlist, K-Pop banger from KDA, and new multiplayer features for Quest two users, it's no surprise that Beat Saber is the best selling game in VR history. But have you experienced Surge? What about any of the 360 music videos released by Sampha, Imagine Dragons, Bjork, and so much more? Because not only do they provide welcomed breaks from the fast-paced EDM we love from Beat Saber, but they're also great experiences! Surge, available on Steam free here, is a musical experience designed with a game engine to create perfect alignment of sound to action. The slow build and use of VR allow for both scale and juxtaposition as the BPM spikes when giants shake the Earth around you. I highly recommend you experience it, but we also have a sample of it below.
Surge is built from the ground up for a seamless integration of sound and visuals, but not all 360 music experiences have to be made this way. Plenty of artists have already made 360 music videos with less time consuming 360 cameras and many of these are amazing experiences themselves.
Sampha's '(No One Know Me) Like the Piano' uses a 360 camera mounted on the artist's head as he sings of his childhood and experiences with playing the piano. Using digital effects, the video is able to create a ghostly image of what is assumed to be the player's mother. It's quite surreal, and a beautiful song. Check it out below.
And who can forget Bjork's groundbreaking album, Vulnicura, which featured 'Stonemilker' as a 360 music performance? The scenic Iceland footage pairs perfectly with Bjork's ethereal voice. Check that one out here.
Finally, there is the simple, yet effective uses of 360 green screens in Imagine Dragon's 'Shots' that combines basic 360 environments with equally basic pop music. You can waste some time on that below.
The special effects do not have to be groundbreaking to make for an awesome VR experience. Sometimes stripping down to the basics, such as 'Stonemilker' can be more effective than cramming as many 360 Unity environments as possible. There is tons of potential with 360 music videos in telling the story of a song, or highlighting the technical performance of the music. As VR gains in popularity, I'd like to see more music experiences hit VR devices. Whether the artist uses the platform to show off the performances of multiple members in the band or tell a story through an immersive metaphor guided by music, the platform provides more than just a 2-D music video. And with live music still being impacted by restrictions on gatherings, 360 music can allow artists to connect with their fans in a more impactful way.
Those are just some of my thoughts on the topic, but I'd love to hear yours. What artists and songs would you like to experience rather than simply listen to?