Universal Music and iHeartMedia to Launch VR Concerts This Year

by Julianna Crisalli • January 14th, 2016

An announcement at CES revealed Universal Music Group will partner with iHeartMedia to create a series of virtual reality music experiences that will “connect artists, music fans and brands and sponsors.”

Though no artists have yet to be announced, four full shows will be shot and distributed in VR for the iHeartRadio VR Concert Series held at the iHeartRadio Theater in Los Angeles. Universal Music has also committed to adding an additional VR experience to each of the six major iHeartMedia events to be held in 2016 with the first experience being made available for the iHeartMedia Music Awards held on April 3. The rest of the dates are yet to be confirmed.

Little information is available as to exactly how audiences will access these virtual reality concerts and performances, but UMG pairing with iHeartMedia makes a lot of sense when you consider the latter has a network that reaches 245 million broadcast listeners on a monthly basis, in addition to 90 million digital listeners, according to a press release from the company. Combined with Universal Music’s ever-widening roster of performers, that’s a lot of talent making it’s way to a lot of ears and eyes.

“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,” Bob Pittman, Chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia said through a press release. “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.”

Universal Music and iHeartMedia said they will also be partnering with other brands to develop new virtual reality experiences using, “integrated approaches to connect their brands and products to both artists and consumers.”

“At UMG, we are focused on harnessing the cutting-edge technology to pioneer new creative and commercial opportunities for artists,” said Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group in a press release. “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.”

This wouldn’t be the first venture into VR music. Virtually we’ve been on stage with Coldplay and have been given a personal, intimate concert from U2.

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