AEG Presents has launched virtual reality concerts with Oculus Venues. The concert promoter and Facebook’s Oculus kicked off the series with a May 30 performance by Vance Joy at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado. AEG and Oculus have already set several dates to give more fans the ability to experience live shows and discover new artists through the unique medium.
“We wanted to see how we could bring live music to people beyond the actual event, beyond IRL. To do that, you’ve got to have an experience that is seamless and beautiful otherwise people will just tune out,” said AEG Presents’ Chief Digital Office Brooke Michael Kain.
In order to watch the concerts which have also included a June 9 performance by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats at Forrest Hills Stadium in New York, fans simply need an Oculus Go headset. The venues app is available on the headset and viewers can choose to watch the show live from any location without being tethered to a computer or phone.
“They were absolutely gorgeous to watch. Everyone really enjoyed the experience that was watching including the artists and management,” Kain said of the first two shows. The next experience will be Friday (June 15) with Chromeo performing at 6:50pm PDT from Terminal 5 in New York.
Kain explained that their concert choices are determined by artists who are excited to participate and then it becomes a puzzle of timing and venue as AEG works out a schedule.
“New technology isn’t for everyone and the artists that we chose from and that we worked with really loved and embraced it. They wanted to be part of the test,” Kain told Amplify. “It has been a giant game of Tetris. A lot of it is timing. We’re trying to space them out to try to create a kind of consumer behavior where they expect to see one every week or so.”
With more expected to be announced soon, the show following Chromeo will be Everclear on June 22 at 10pm PDT from Showbox SoDo in Seattle. The performances are only available live at the moment and are set up to cause no interference with the audience on location. To create the virtual reality experience, Oculus only needs to set up two small cameras at the venue.
“It is so unobtrusive and amazing,” Kain said, adding “It is very important to our venues and to our artists that it does not get in the way or block any of the consumers there on site.”
Since the technology is only adding more fans to the live music experience, AEG Presents has been eager to be at the forefront of virtual reality concerts.
“Being the first with Oculus, ideally I can build a program with them that strategically expands audiences and that other people want to be a part of,” said Kain. “You can only get so many butts in seats. So how can I help these artists extend their audience to people who may not be able to go to Red Rocks Ampitheatre, but might want to see what a show at Red Rocks looks like. VR was a natural next step. It is a way to help a band build discovery and build an audience.”
AEG Presents is one of a handful of companies working with Oculus to build virtual reality content. Oculus Venues is also working with Major League Baseball, Gotham Comedy Club, and weekly concert series School Night.
Though AEG Presents is currently working on getting their “VR legs under them,” according to Kain, they are always looking for ways to expand their offerings for artists. With Goldenvoice, Bowery Presents, and many venues in their repertoire, Kain said it isn’t out of the question that virtual reality could make its way to AEG’s other assets.
“We have all of these things to bring to our artists. For me, a natural next step is what technology can I bring to them,” Kain said. As someone who focuses on digital and technology, what can I do that is above and beyond, something that they’ve never experienced before.”
For more information on AEG Presents’ partnership with Oculus, head here.