UMG and iHeart Media Bringing Virtual Reality Concerts

UMG and iHeart Media Bringing Virtual Reality Concerts

The virtual future of music is here.

Universal Music Group (UMG) has partnered with  iHeartMedia to create a series of virtual reality (VR) music experiences designed to ‘connect artists, music fans and brands and sponsors’.

Full shows from four individual UMG artists will be shot and distributed in VR later this year at the iHeartRadio VR Concert Series held at the iHeartRadio Theater in Los Angeles, with dates TBC.

Many tech experts believe 2016 will see the mainstream maturation of VR headsets, which last saw popularity in the mid-’90s when video game giants released primitive arcade devices such as Sega’s VR-1.

“We are ideally positioned to use VR technology to create authentic experiences that benefit our artists, consumers and marketing partners.”

Lucian Grainge, UMG

In addition to recording the full shows, UMG has pledged to unveil at least six one-off VR experiences across iHeartMedia events throughout 2016 beginning April 3rd at the iHeart Radio Music Awards.

Whatever and whoever this showcase involves, it will broadcast live on iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide and on television channels TBS, TNT and truTV.

Other events featuring UMG’s VR showcases include:

  • The iHeartRadio Country Festival
  • The iHeartRadio Summer Pool Party
  • The iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina
  • The iHeartRadio Music Festival
  • The iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour

There are not many details on how these VR packages will be accessed by consumers. However we do know  iHeartMedia reaches a heck of a lot of people with iHeartMedia attracting 245 million monthly broadcast listeners, and nearly 90 million digital unique users.

“At UMG, we are focused on harnessing cutting-edge technology to pioneer new creative and commercial opportunities for artists, labels and fans,” said Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group, who unveiled the VR plan at CES in Las Vegas today.

“By combining iHeartMedia’s music events and hundreds of millions of listeners with the ability of our artists to forge powerfully emotional connections with their fans, we are ideally positioned to use VR technology to create authentic experiences that benefit our artists, consumers and marketing partners.”

UMG says it and iHeart will “create entertainment experiences that leverage cutting-edge technology, making immersive VR performances and experiences accessible to U.S. audiences for the first time at scale”.

The partners are inviting brands to partner with them to develop, produce and distribute these one-of-a-kind entertainment experiences, using integrated approaches to connect their brands and products to both artists and consumers.

“Our greatest strength at iHeartMedia is that we curate for our listeners – in this case, working with UMG to create a completely new entertainment experience using state-of-the-art VR technology,” said Bob Pittman, Chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia, Inc.

“And now, as advertisers seek to tie their brands and products to music and artists in innovative ways, we can use our industry-leading reach and best-of-breed music events to unlock the combined power of music and VR as a revolutionary marketing tool. We’re excited to work with UMG in a partnership unlike any in the music and entertainment industry.”