Mar 14, 2024 - Business

Review: Watching a concert in VR

Members of Avenged Sevenfold wearing VR headsets

Avenged Sevenfold with VR headsets. Photo: AmazeVR

Watching a concert on Apple's Vision Pro and Meta's Quest 3 isn't like the real thing, but it beats a TV experience.

Why it matters: Mixed-reality devices have become associated with gaming and augmented reality experiences, and they're just beginning to explore the entertainment space.

Having never tried a headset before, I visited AmazeVR in Los Angeles to watch a virtual reality concert by heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold.

  • AmazeVR is a virtual reality concert platform that's also worked with T-Pain, Megan Thee Stallion and Zara Larsson.

I watched roughly 10 minutes of a 26-minute concert on Apple's Vision Pro and another 10 minutes on Meta's Quest 3.

The vibe: The concert itself made me feel like I was watching it in a dream. Unlike a traditional concert, there are no bad seats. If I was watching a concert film or livestream I'd be forced to look wherever the camera is pointed.

  • In VR, viewers can see every detail of the stage and artist vividly from a 180-degree angle for the same price of entry.
  • M. Shadows sang to me directly, and I could watch him or I could focus on Brooks Wackerman on the drums or Johnny Christ on bass guitar with 10x more clarity.
  • As promised, the visual effects were stunning.

Winners: With the Vision Pro's spatial audio, I didn't have to wear headphones, which enhanced the experience.

  • Overall, though, there weren't many drastic differences between the concerts on each device.

What they're saying: "We don't consider ourselves in competition with the live [concert] experience," AmazeVR's creative director Lance Drake told Axios. "We're in competition with how bad 2D video is."

Yes, but: Theatrical concert films like "Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour" are more popular than ever.

  • Swift's film grossed more than $260 million worldwide, making it the top-selling concert film of all time.
  • Drake says these new VR experiences might "mirror" a live concert but they are "staged in a completely novel and visually immersive format."

My thought bubble: 26-minute concerts are a good place to start. It remains to be seen whether consumers can handle longer sessions.

  • Drake says the company is experimenting and planning longer lengths of VR concerts as they develop their tech and as headsets get lighter and more comfortable for users to wear.

In the meantime, this could be a game-changer for music videos.

Worthy of your time: A weekend with Apple's Vision Pro

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