Just as everyone slowly begins to get over the technological feat of ABBA Voyage (or not), Bastille are taking their third number 1 album, Give Me The Future, into the metaverse.
In partnership with WPP, a self-described “creative transformation company”, and EMI Records, the Give Me The Future experience has been put together using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine.
At risk of being too jargon-y, a live performance of the band was projected onto screens with a 45’ LED screen being used to bring this to a virtual world. Using headsets, fans were then scan themselves into this world as avatars, and move around, watching the gig as though it were a live performance.
The VR performance – dubbed “a world first hybrid metaverse / physical gig” – has been made available on the Oculus Quest app, and also includes a special version of the album’s third track, ‘No Bad Days’. You can have a glimpse at what it looks like below.
This is certainly not the first time that virtual reality technologies have been used to try and reinvent the offer of ‘live’ music. In April 2020, a well-documented, lucrative Travis Scott event took place on Fortnite (also developed by Epic Games), attracting 27.7 million unique users.
Roblox, another gaming platform, sought to compete, and by the end of that year had carried out a virtual Lil Nas X concert which raked in some 33 million users. From then, sparked no doubt by the ongoing lockdowns at the time, plenty more have carried out such digital gigs, from Megan Thee Stallion to Twenty One Pilots.
Many of those performances involved digital avatars of the artist in question. The difference with Bastille’s latest venture is the very fact that the band, led by frontman Dan Smith, aren’t digital but their live selves are projected onto screens which you can interact with when wearing the headset. Hence the marketing spiel that this is a “hybrid metaverse / physical gig”.
With next-to-no travel or stadium costs and a virtually unlimited number of available tickets (barring, of course, the limited number of fans with available headsets), such a virtual concert could be an exceptionally cost-effective way of gigging in the future.
Both Stephan Pretorius, CTO at WPP and Dinushi Perera, creative director at EMI Records, have noted how this experience marks another potential insight into how gigs can be held in the future, stating it’s allowed us to “realise the future of music experience” and “explore new ways of bringing artists and music closer to fans than ever before,” respectively.
Dan Smith, meanwhile, has said: “As a band, we try to shy away from what’s expected. Our new album Give Me The Future is about our relationship with technology, and we really wanted to do something that pushed the boundaries of what’s currently possible and that looked towards what’s to come in the future. This is the next level of interactivity within music.”
It’s perhaps without irony then that the album chosen to try this new VR/real-life hybrid experience was Give Me The Future – the future is now.