The new real: Paul McCartney offers a virtual reality experience of live performance

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Music fans can now virtually hang out with Paul McCartney while he wows the crowd. The former Beatle/rock legend has partnered with tech company Jaunt to allow fans to view a live performance of “Live and Let Die” from multiple vantage points on their mobile devices using a new app that works with virtual reality technology.

The virtual version of the Paul McCartney-penned 1973 Wings song “Live and Let Die” will mark the first recording in Jaunt’s cinematic VR library that works with its new Jaunt VR app. Jaunt calls the recording “…the first step of a broader mission to bring viewers immersive access to the latest concerts, movies, sporting events, and more through virtual reality.”

The app showcases “completely immersive VR footage” of McCartney’s August 14th performance of “Live and Let Die” at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park. The app allows viewers to watch the performance from inside the crowd, backstage, and even right next to Paul. The footage was captured using “360 degree, stereoscopic 3D cameras, and 3D sound-field microphones” according to an official press release from Jaunt .

Paul McCartney is the latest music industry power player to leverage burgeoning tech innovations for a more up close and personal concert viewing experience. Music video hosting service Vevo, partly owned by Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group, announced its integration with Samsung’s upcoming Gear VR headset allowing users to view concert and music video footage in the same manner as Jaunt is offering from McCartney’s August 14th concert.

In a declining music industry that has seen its overall revenue from sales decrease from $14 billion to $7 billion in 13 years, live music has been one of the few bright spots. From 1999 to 2009, ticket sales in the U.S. more than tripled from $1.5 billion to $4.6 billion. However, in the first half of 2014, the average ticket price increased by 4.2 percent over last year’s average at the same point while gross sales decreased to $508.2 million from $579.3 million. Allowing people to vicariously view a live concert through a virtual reality experience could open an untapped market in the ailing touring business.

Still, while the app could be a key way to better monetize live music, it could just as easily be a way to nauseate audiences — literally. That’s due to of the increasingly prominent issue of virtual reality headsets causing motion sickness for users. The virtual reality experience is so immersive that Brendan Iribe, CEO and co-founder of virtual reality technology company Oculus, has hired two perceptual psychologists to fix the problem. He also believes virtual reality is ten to fifteen years away from maturation.

The Jaunt VR app will be available on Google Cardboard and Android phones. The app will also be available on Facebook’s Oculus Rift as well as Samsung’s upcoming Gear VR, which is slated to be released next month. If you’ve got the stomach for the virtual world, you can download the new Jaunt VR Paul McCartney app now from Google Play.

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