Whether it’s distance, juggling obligations or accessibility issues, there are handfuls of barriers that make experiencing live music difficult. The rise of virtual reality technology certainly presents an answer to this, but with a caveat: No matter how powerful the performance you’re witnessing might be, you’re not sharing that experience with anyone else.
Enter VR Company Endless Riff, who has arrived with a solution to the problem with a live music VR app experience that’s not only immersive, it’s social.
Live music is an inherently social experience, and when that person-to-person interaction is stripped away, it becomes passive. In combining the tools of VR with multi-player gaming technology, Endless Riff CEO Mark Iannarelli saw an opportunity to address what he sees as a very common problem many people share as they begin to get older, start families, and have fewer opportunities to engage with live music in a way they once did. “Many over the age of 30 are no longer able to bond with friends around music by going to concerts as much as they used to,” Iannarelli observes.
Fundamentally understanding live music as a social experience is the philosophy that drives Endless Riff. It’s a philosophy that not only addresses Iannarelli’s issue of feeling aged out of live music, but it speaks to the problem in a really nuanced way, emphasizing person-to-person connection above all else.“We believe music’s power is not only in its emotional trigger but its bonding results when this emotion is shared with others,” Iannarelli said. “We believe humans naturally demand shared emotional experiences, and music’s power to similarly trigger a group is the most powerful aspect of the medium.”
The Oculus Rift and Gear VR ready app (with Android, Apple and HTC Vive support rolling out in the future) allow users to exist in a virtual music community and lets those users then tap into live performances happening in real time. They start by creating their own personal avatar. That avatar then represents them virtually, and users can congregate and to watch content like music videos. When they’re ready to see a live performance, users move into a venue and can stream live concerts in 2D. They also have the option of inviting friends’ avatars into their virtual space to move around and talk with as they watch the same live show.