Billie Eilish to play a virtual-reality gig in Oculus Venues


Billie Eilish is the latest artist playing a concert that will be streamed in virtual reality. The gig will take place on 3 September in Madrid, and then later that evening will be broadcast in Facebook’s ‘Oculus Venues’ app for its Oculus Go and Oculus Quest headsets.

The concert is the result of a partnership with startup Supersphere, which is touting the event as “the biggest VR concert in history” (not that hard, given the lack of truly high-profile competition, although MelodyVR’s livestream of former One Direction star Liam Payne last December would be the main event to beat).

Supersphere’s past projects include VR for Lupe Fiasco, Empire of the Sun, Tenacious D and Sir Paul McCartney – a six-part VR documentary produced for VR startup Jaunt in the latter case.

The Oculus ‘Venues’ app was first announced in late 2017, and has been used for several music events – for example, a premiere of the posthumous Avicii album in June 2019.

Facebook’s interest in music and VR has also extended to a content-licensing deal with MelodyVR, announced in July.

Meanwhile, last night saw a VR concert broadcast by startup Wave (formerly TheWaveVR) involving artist Lindsey Stirling. It was broadcast on YouTube, Facebook and Twitch as well as to headsets using Wave’s app: the YouTube stream has just over 231k views at the time of writing, with another 213k views on Facebook. Can Billie Eilish really attract more viewers with a headsets-only concert? We’ll find out after 3 September, perhaps.

Stuart Dredge

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