K-pop and New Technologies

The terms live streaming, VR and AR have now become a new norm of today’s COVID-struck era. Given a significant number of concerts and festivals were cancelled all over the world due to the virus, rather than intimidation, will VR and AR technologies now prove to be essential tools in the post-pandemic music industry business?

Summer is officially gone in 2020 but something feels amiss. The summer music festivals and live concerts, where music lovers bask in the sun, sipping their beverage of choice, as they delight in what literally is, music to their ears. Alternatively, if you prefer the indoors, gathering your friends for an anticipated artist’s concert, feeling the energy and excitement alongside other fans seems like ages ago. 

In the K-pop world, luckily for apps like V-live and Weverse, these adored K-pop idols are accessible, almost anytime, anywhere. Fans love live sessions because it’s “real”, less staged and the raw music experience is authentic. There’s an unspoken connection between the idols and them. This is one of the biggest reasons why BTS is phenomenally popular all over the world, with K-pop fans of all ages. There’s an insurmountable amount of content created between the 7 of them, too difficult to ignore. Through such apps, fans get to interact with other like-minded fans, garner timely content, both paid and free, about their favorite idols and purchase the latest merchandise all within the app. It’s a one-stop fan paradise. But what’s next to further engage and appeal to these K-pop fans? 

It was noticed when fans consume live K-pop performance videos online, there is a high tendency gravitating towards their “bias”, thus resulting in a crucial part in VR and AR technological developments.  While speaking at BCWW’s “Harmony with K-pop , new technologies and video in the era of zero contact” session, Mr. Jung Woo Lee, Leader of the Music Service Team at LGU+, mentioned the two things K-pop fans wanted were (1) Listen to their favorite singer and (2) watching only their favorite singer through a dedicated camera. 

Several concerts and online events have utilized technologies to make this a reality for fans. One example cited by Mr. Lee was the 26th Dream Concert CONNECT:D, broadcasted live on V-Live and YouTube. But other successfully organized concerts include SM Entertainment’s “Beyond Live” Concert series, which had impressively designed stage sets and checked off the list of every K-pop fans dream as they interacted with their favorite idols in the virtual space. BTS’ “Bang Bang Con: The Live Concert" was another example of perfect platform utilization and marketing execution. No doubt, the formidable BTS Army fueled the engine, but the concert alone generated approximately $20 million in ticket sales and ticket purchase was only available through BigHit Entertainment’s Weverse apps. 

A realistic stage experience coupled with multi interactive screens plus 3D surround sound is now the market standard for a paid online concert. Access to online merchandise stores are also a staple for additional revenue. What about more added reality? Most AR glasses today are way more comfortable than before, doesn’t block views nor cause dizziness. But it’ll be a matter of time before VR properties are added for fully immersive concert experiences. 

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