Interview: Feeling the beat in YouVisit’s VR music videos

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In the near future, you might join your favorite artist in virtual reality (VR) as they enter the stage, or perhaps experience what it feels like to have your favorite singer perform inches away from you. Perhaps you’ve watched music video streams for years on end and you recently spent half your data plan watching Beyoncé’s latest hit on YouTube. But unless you’re among a lucky few, you haven’t been able to enjoy a VR music video, or a virtual live concert for that matter.

Whether it’s a book, song, video, or picture, the consumer is always limited to the perspective of that particular medium. But the scope of what you can see in VR far exceeds what is offered by every other medium. And that experience is getting transferred to VR music videos by YouVisit. I had a video chat session with YouVisit CEO Abi Mandelbaum, to discuss the possibilities and limitations put on the format by existing technology.

Approached by music industry

YouVisit has reached over six million different users with a broad selection of VR content. The company previously recorded a VR concert at TomorrowWorld 2015 with world-renowned DJ Armin van Buuren, with the resulting footage labeled The Armin Effect. “He’s one of the most prominent DJs in the world. We worked with him, his team, as well as TomorrowWorld ((a large electronic music festival held in Georgia) to produce that VR experience,” said Mandelbaum. “It allows users to engage with artists like they’ve never been able to before. In traditional video you have the director who predefines every scene and the order of those individual scenes. Our software platform allows the viewer to be the director.”

It was the company’s first dip into VR concert recordings, and got them in touch with even more of the music industry. Mandelbaum says that the company is constantly getting inquiries from different organizations across different industries. As the company isn’t focused solely on just one aspect of VR, the reach they have spans across more than the music industry. Attending events, publishing their material, and getting their work recognized is what has put them in touch with so many parts of the VR industry. Eventually that came to include the music industry. Mandelbaum said that they’ve got “more artists and labels contacting us, but we’re not disclosed to say who they are.”

Youvisit aims to have its content available on as many platforms as possible.
YouVisit aims to have its content available on as many platforms as possible.

Feeling the beat

When comparing a VR experience to a regular video, Mandelbaum said that you simply can’t enjoy the same level of stage presence (no pun intended) via video as you can via a VR recording. “One of the things that people enjoy the most is going backstage, or checking out what’s happening behind the scenes.”

The company put The Armin Effect on display at CES 2016 which was held from January 6-9. YouVisit showcased what it might be like to stand on stage with van Buuren. Mandelbaum said there was a lot of competition, yet the company’s creation managed to draw a lot of attention. “People said it had a unique viewpoint, and the second reason was that we converted it into a 4D experience. Obviously VR is 3D. But we added that extra dimension by placing the viewer into a chair that would vibrate and move based on the music. So as everything is going on, you’re feeling the music in your body. The floor is vibrating and everything is changing, not just the sound itself.”

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