Musical concerts always seem to have a kind of classic, unchanging quality to them. Whether you’re seeing an indie group at a small local venue or catching your favorite famous band in a stadium or at a sprawling amphitheater, there’s something traditional about the experience. The sound is imperfect but thrilling, the band’s energy defines the show, and you’re ultimately there to watch as much as to listen. Whether any of this changes in the future, or how much, only time will tell. There are a few possible trends and innovations in the works, however, that could significantly change the concert experience – at least for those who are looking for something new.
Consider some of the following.
Live 3D Audio
It’s no secret that home audio systems have gotten a lot more capable, and a lot more convenient. Once upon a time, in order to set up surround sound, you had to wire speakers to every corner of the room so that there was literally sound coming from different devices. Now, a single speaker or even a base beneath a television can project a sound that simply appears to be coming from all sides. Now, it seems, this kind of experience may be coming to live concerts as well.
Put simply, thanks in part to virtual reality (which we’ll get into below more specifically), interactive experience and 360-degree experiences are becoming more popular, and realistic 3D soundscapes are quickly becoming a new requirement. That is to say, people are getting more used to seeing and hearing entertainment coming from all directions rather than from one vantage point in front of them. This may well lead to concert venues doing more to avoid the basic setup of huge layouts of stage speakers only projecting outward. It will also undoubtedly mean more concert-viewing experiences through VR. Which brings us to the next point….
Home Virtual Reality
Most virtual reality takes us into make-believe worlds and settings rather than real-life places. There are examples of more realistic uses of the technology however, even in entertainment. In casino gaming for instance, there have long been trends toward more realistic animations. Video and 3D slots use impressive displays and fast-paced gameplay, and various card and roulette games use animated dealers or even video feeds to real ones. Now, these same games can embrace VR not to provide fictional settings but to give players the ability to feel like they’re actually seated in real casinos around the world.
Thinking of VR in those terms, what’s to stop the same kind of experience being designed to revolve around concerts? This is in fact something that’s already being experimented with, such that rather than showing some sort of simulation of a concert or simply playing you music in an immersive environment, VR can actually give you a concert-going experience from home. This has the potential to transform a more passive home audio listening experience into something more fully engaging.
James Dolan’s Sphere
This is a little bit more about the fan experience than any specific audio or visual needs, but it could potentially prove to be one of the biggest innovations in the concert experience. Basically, James Dolan – the owner of the New York Knicks and chief of the Madison Square Company – is working on a futuristic “sphere” that will basically make entire concerts more interactive. It’s actually a little unclear what that means, but there appears to be a focus on helping fans to connect with each other, and also to project different settings and displays on a spherical interior wall. The first Sphere will be in Las Vegas, and if it’s a success it’s intended to more or less replace traditional concert amphitheaters.
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