A Metaverse for Music: HTC Planning Walk-in VR Concerts
With its Beatday platform, HTC is planning a “metaverse for music” that will see the company immersively participate in future digital concerts.
Platforms such as Fortnite are already causing a great deal of buzz on digital avatar events, especially in concerts by well-known artists. Epic recently featured US music star Ariana Grande on the digital Fortnite stage for a spectacularly staged concert with millions of viewers, most of them very young people.
HTC Relying on Volumetric Recordings
Although appearances such as those of Ariana Grande at Fortnite are specially rendered in computer graphics for the Fortnite World, HTC is planning on introducing more realism to the new music platform Beatday where appearances by artists and bands will be filmed volumetrically in studios in Japan, Taiwan and France before one suitably created digital stage can be played.
The mix of volumetric recordings with digital assets has the advantage that the production effort stays manageable as only musicians have to be recorded not the whole surroundings.
However, viewers will still have the feeling of ‘being there’ at a digital concert instead of just watching a video of it thanks to the volumetric, or spatial, recording technology. Concert-goers will be moving inside the immersive concert as avatars and will have the feel of a real stage in different directions instead of just a 2D view of the stage. The volumetric recording increases the degree of realism as well as the feeling of presence compared to what you would get with conventional 3D videos with a depth effect. With volumetric recording, even a virtual walk directly onto the concert stage is conceivable. The video below illustrates its principle of production: –
Behind the volumetric production in the video includes a Canon camera. Canon has recently formed an initiative for volumetric videos in collaboration with other well-known tech companies. However, HTC is not a part of the Volumetric Format Association.
Beatday is HTC’s “Metaverse for Music”
HTC has pitched Beatday as a “metaverse for music”. A beta version of Beatday for desktop PC and smartphones will happen soon. Beatday for virtual reality and augmented reality is set to follow later. HTC Vice President Liu Szu-ming told Variety that the company will initially bring Beatday onto the market on PCs and smartphones so as to reach the general public as well as younger users. Once the company has reached a certain market threshold, it will release a VR version so as to provide its audiences with a “real high-end experience.”
HTC will initially collaborate with the Taiwanese indie brand “Amazing Show” for six concerts each of which will last half an hour. The ticket prices for the concerts are yet to be determined but it is expected that they will be around $10 to $12 for entry and a permanent NFT avatar. HTC also wants to generate revenues with digital accessories as well as clothing for the avatars.
According to Liu, following the cancellation of physical concerts during the pandemic, ‘holo concerts’ have emerged as a new form of online events and they are becoming popular.
The Vive boss believes Beatday can bring about “great change” in the music industry. This makes it an attractive proposition for artists. Liu says Beatday integrates music licenses, record labels as well as artist management agencies to create new business opportunities as well as an innovative model for dividing income.