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article image4 musicians who have embraced virtual reality technology

By Owen Weldon     Feb 16, 2016 in Music
Virtual reality appears to becoming more and more mainstream, and is being used in various ways in the music industry. Here are four musicians who have embraced virtual reality technology.
Megadeth Incorporated Virtual Reality Technology For Their Latest Album
More and more musicians are incorporating technology into their albums and live shows. Megadeth is one of them.
In January, it became known that the metal band Megadeth and actor/director Blair Underwood teamed up on five virtual reality music videos. The videos tied into the release of Megadeth's latest album.
The band's latest album is Dystopia, released on Jan.22. The album includes cardboard goggles. According to Yahoo, the goggles can be folded and paired with an iPhone or Android phone, which will create a virtual reality viewer.
The lead singer of the band, Dave Mustaine, described it as a cool metal origami.
According to LoudWire, Mustaine talked about how excited he was about the album, and he said he doesn't know of anyone else who has incorporated virtual reality performances in metal.
The songs that have gotten the virtual reality treatment are "The Threat Is Real," "Fatal Illusion," Post-American World," Poisonous Shadows," and "Dystopia."
A few weeks back, Rolling Stone released some behind the scenes footage of the videos.
Also, here is the video for Megadeth's "Dystopia"
*May contain images unsuitable for some viewers*
Fort Minor Used Virtual Reality In His Video Too
Megadeth isn't the only band to dabble with virtual reality technology. Fort Minor, or Mike Shinoda, has also used virtual reality with his music. Last June, Shinoda released a video called "Welcome" and it fans were surprised to learn that it was a 360-degree video.
In the video, Shinoda can be seen playing a piano, as well as performing on the drums and guitar. According to Mashable, viewers can use the 360-degree function to move the footage in the direction of their choosing, and you can experience the video in virtual reality if you have Cardboard goggles from Google.
Director Jeff Nicholas helped with the video. He has worked on with artists such as Justin Timberlake and Rhianna. For Fort Minor's video, he used four GoPro cameras for filming.
Nicholas told Mashable that when you lock eyes with someone in virtual reality, the experience is different than if they looked at the camera in just a flat frame. Nicholas added that it was inspiring to create empathy and a sense of community in relation to Fort Minor's song and video.
Throughout the video, Venice Beach's local community vibe is captured via 360-degree shots. Shinoda also painted a mural with the original design on the Venice Beach boardwalk. A GoPro-based virtual reality rig was used by Nicholas to capture everything, and then the crew photographed the canvas in 360, while Shinoda performed with instruments.
You can check out Fort Minor's video below.
Fort Minor's "Welcome"
Bjork's Virtual Reality Video "Stonemilker"
About two months ago, singer Bjork jumped aboard the virtual reality train too. In December, Bjork released her video "Stonemilker," but she didn't take the traditional route. Instead, she released it via a virtual reality app, which is available via iTunes. It can be purchased by using third party virtual reality glasses or as "magic window."
Initially, the Museum of Modern Art in New York was where "Stonemilker" could be viewed. However, it eventually made its way to YouTube, which allowed Bjork fans to view her from various angles. The clip, which was directed by Andrew Thomas Huang, shows the singer performing on a beach in Iceland.
According to RollingStone, Huang, said the he goal of the video was to give the singer an stage she could perform on, but an unrestricted stage. Huang added that this gave audiences the chance to have a one-on-one experience with Bjork, via virtual reality.
Apparently the shoot wasn't planned or anything like that because Huang said the shoot was decided during a conversation between him and Bjork, while they happened to have virtual reality equipment on them. He said the 360-degrees was ideal for the fugue structure of the video.
Bjork's video "Stonemilker"
Foals' "Mountain at my Gates" Was Given The Virtual Reality Treatment
Last July, the band Foals released a virtual reality music video. The band, from the United Kingdom, released their album 'What Went Down' at the end of August and one of the singles from the album was "Mountain at my Gates," which was filmed with a GoPro spherical camera mount. The director behind the video was Nabil, who has worked on videos for the Weeknd and Frank Ocean.
According to Stuff, you can use Google Chrome to watch the video if you want to move the camera in the video around. You do so by using the W, A, S and D keys on the mouse. You can also use the YouTube app to interact with the video.
Foals "Mountain at my Gates"]
Expect Virtual Reality To Be Incorporated Into Music More Often
There's a good chance more and more musicians will end up using virtual reality in some way, shape or form. In fact, Universal Music Group, whose subsidiaries include Interscope Records, Def Jam Recordings and Island US to name a few, has partnered up with iHeartMedia to bring virtual reality to live events.
According to Billboard, UMG's roster will be leveraged, as well as iHeart's live evnets to bring virtual reality experiences to people. Fans will have the chance to see what the two companies do on April 3, which is when the iHeartRadio Awards take place.
The event will be shown on TBS, TruTV and TBS, but virtual reality content featuring an unannounced UMG artist will be broadcast. John Sykes, who is the president of enterprises for iHeartMedia, spoke with Billboard and said they wanted to create moments that could only exist for fans watching and listening outside of the venue, as well as for those in attendance.
As of now, it is an exclusive partnership between UMG and iHeart, but Sykes did say all doors are wide open for them and for UMG.
With UMG's massive roster of musicians, it's safe to say that virtual reality will be used by more musicians in the near future.
The music industry isn't the only industry experimenting with virtual reality. In fact, there is a company that incorporates augmented reality and rock climbing. The company is Brooklyn Boulders and they hold an event twice a month where people can complete a course in a short length of time while tapping targets.
It's safe to say that virtual reality is going to continue to go mainstream.
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