A revolution in the music industry. How VR and blockchain will change the concert market.

A revolution in the music industry. How VR and blockchain will change the concert market.

What a promise: Never miss a concert again, always be in the right place at the right time! And even better: Be on stage with the musicians, see the audience from their perspective, and experience the music up close – concertVR wants to make all this possible. A conversation with Sebastian Deyle from Goodstuff-Media and Frank Zahn from Exozet about the very real future of virtual live concerts.

An interview with Frank and Sebastian, May 2018
exozet_concertVR_02a

What is the idea behind concertVR?

Sebastian Deyle:

The textbook answer is: “concertVR is set to be the first cross-platform marketplace for high-quality VR content from the music and entertainment sector on a blockchain basis.” It’s an eloquent way of saying: “We offer VR content in top quality for which you like to pay money.”

There is already a lot of VR content on the internet, for example on YouTube, and it’s free. What makes concertVR different?

Sebastian Deyle:

What runs on YouTube has that user-generated status where you think: “That’s nice, but I wouldn’t spend a cent on that.” I like to compare that with LimeWire or similar peer-to-peer platforms where you’ve been downloading songs, mostly in pretty modest quality, and you enjoy switching to iTunes and tell yourself: “I have to pay 99 cents, but I know that I get crystal-clear sound quality and as a bonus, it’s legal, too”. That’s what we want to be for the VR and concert market.

What makes the quality stand out?

Sebastian Deyle:

In regards to visual quality you have to ask yourself: How high is the resolution of the images? What is the audio quality like? We have cameras that can record in 8K set in three positions: “in the middle of the crowd”, “in front row”, and “on stage”. This means that you can choose one of three and change your position during the concert if you want. And you can decide freely where you want to be in the audience.

The sound is taken from the mixing console – all tracks are mixed individually and then remixed. If it’s a live stream, it’s done in real time. And if it’s an on-demand concert, ergo a recording, it’s completely mixed again before it enters the library. There are also microphones in the audience that absorb the atmosphere, so you really have a live atmosphere that even works with spherical sound. So when I turn my head to the left, sound comes more from the right – and vice versa.

Frank Zahn:

Of course, we have also intensively adapted the entire user experience to the hardware. We don’t just have one device on which everything is supposed to run on, but as many devices as possible. It’s not just about the concert experience itself, but also about the fact that it’s fun to move around the platform, find suitable concerts, and exchange ideas with others. This must easily work and delight people. That’s our aspiration.

concertVR is about being there, not just being able to look at it.

Frank Zahn

Managing Director and Founder of Exozet

Frank Zahn

VR is all about experiencing the concert as authentically as possible. Users should have the feeling of being there even though they physically aren’t. How can one imagine this?

Frank Zahn:

It’s hard to communicate that in theory. I always say: You can’t explain it to people who have never tried virtual reality before. Maybe it’s a bit like being pregnant. You can’t explain it to anyone else either. You need to feel it for yourself to understand. That is also the case with VR. Once you’ve put on your VR glasses and have watched a well-recorded concert with them, you realize that it’s completely different from seeing it on a screen, even on the biggest TV you can imagine. It’s about being there, not just being able to look at it.

But the rest of reality knows: I’m home. Or what do you think?

Sebastian Deyle:

I wouldn’t be too sure about that. Of course everyone says: “There is nothing like the real thing.” But with VR, we’re already damn close. One question asked by the industry at the beginning was: “Doesn’t this cannibalize the sale of normal tickets? Won’t we be playing in front of empty halls?” Of course not. This feeling of being in there, of being bumped into, of experiencing the heat and the event with friends, that’s decidedly unique, and that’s how it should remain.

Then what is so special about concertVR?

Sebastian Deyle:

It’s an addition which happens to be very close to the real experience. A lot of people want to go to a concert, but can’t. Because for that you have to fulfill several requirements: You have to be able to afford it. Nowadays tickets often cost more than or even several 100 euros. You need to live nearby, and the concert must not be sold out.

And convertVR solves all three problems?

Sebastian Deyle:

We are now able to go to the huge circle of people who are interested in attending a concert, and say to them: “Look, this option is cheaper and more convenient. You won’t have any problems with time and space, and it will never be sold out.” You have the potential to sell a million tickets if the demand is there. That’s exactly why it’s a win for the organizers, for the musicians, and for the fans.

What does Goodstuff-Media do and what is Exozet in charge of regarding concertVR?

Sebastian Deyle:

We at Goodstuff-Media had the idea. We asked ourselves: “What VR experience would we want to spend money on? What do we live for?” We realized the answer quickly: “For concerts! And thus we developed concertVR ourselves for a year and a half, on a more experimental level. At some point it was clear to us that we couldn’t do it alone and that we needed professional help. That’s where Exozet came in as development partner.

Frank Zahn:

And we do the rest. (laughs) No, we at Exozet actually develop and build the technical platform and the applications – and that in itself is quite the package: From the blockchain technologies that form the basis to asset management, all the way to the app. For the various devices – whether it’s the Sony Playstation or Samsung, Apple, Google – we build our own applications, always with the aim of creating the perfect user experience and usability.

We don't want to be some kind of YouTube.

Sebastian Deyle

Founder and CEO of Goodstuff-Media

Sebastian Deyle

Does Goodstuff-Media record the concerts themselves?

Sebastian Deyle:

concertVR’s business model is to be a platform on which the content of the artist, the rights owner, the record company – or whoever the contract partner will be – is offered to be sold. We don’t do content production. There will be the option for authors or rights holders to be able to upload their own content, but only via a controlled process. We don’t want to be some kind of YouTube. And it must meet our quality standards.

Why do you need blockchain technology for this?

Frank Zahn:

We’re combining two very future-oriented approaches to technology. VR on the one hand and Blockchain on the other. It’s the most transparent technology you can use. Another benefit was that we were able to wonderfully implement crypto currencies and other new forms of payment that we see out there – whether it’s Ethereum or Bitcoin. The acceptance of crypto currencies sets us apart and steers us towards the future.

Sebastian Deyle:

Cost efficiency also plays a role here. By using blockchain, you manage to eliminate the middlemen for billing modalities with artists or rights holders. The artist is remunerated better than before. And as far as the acceptance of currencies is concerned, it is the same as with all existing currencies, no matter if crypto or conventional. You can acquire your own currency in the app, specifically CVT, the so-called concertVR token, which can then be used for concerts or recordings.

We need an MLP, a Maximum Loveable Product.

Frank Zahn

Managing Director and Founder of Exozet

Frank Zahn

At what stage is the project?

Sebastian Deyle:

We want to be so far ahead with financing that we can market it globally. In order to guarantee this, technical development is crucial for one. For that, Exozet is responsible. On the other side, we are in the process of entering into cooperations with rights owners, i.e. procuring content.

The goal is to start with a big live concert in 2019, and by then we want to already have 20 pre-recorded concerts ready in our library. We’re talking to all the major record companies and have just signed a contract with GWVR, the Gesellschaft zur Wahrnehmung von Veranstalterrechten (society for the exercise of event organizer rights), who has to agree for us to use their events in this way. This is a deal we’re very proud of because neither Google, nor Facebook have it and now have to retroactively pay large fines. That won’t happen to us. Other than that there’s also the ICO, the main sales phase which is still currently running.

Frank Zahn:

We currently have three big construction sites: Blockchain technology, everything we do regarding asset management technology (that is, video management), and the applications that run on the devices. If you take a look at the MVP, the Minimum Viable Product, or rather the prototype, it already seems fairly developed. But we have yet to be able to say that we can offer all platforms in all countries.

Sebastian Deyle:

Frank once said: “We have an MVP, but we need an MLP: A Maximum Loveable Product.” It doesn’t just have to work. You’ve got to love it.

What are the biggest challenges in implementation?

Frank Zahn:

A big challenge in the blockchain area is speed. This technology is super transparent and very inexpensive, but sometimes it is very slow. You don’t want to wait hours for something. We want to integrate the best that is currently available on the market. The users should be delighted. The content is awesome, we know that, but the whole user experience from installing the app to social media integration must be at a point where you easily say: “I like to use it, it’s fun!

Sebastian Deyle:

The overall experience should give you the impression of: “Welcome to the concertVR family. Become a part of it! Join the revolution!” That you feel like a rockstar.

concertVR is an Olympic idea: Unite the world.

Sebastian Deyle

Founder and CEO of Goodstuff-Media

Sebastian Deyle

People like to go to concerts with their friends. How do you implement the social aspect?

Sebastian Deyle:

That’s my favorite feature of the app, and also an important point. If there are disadvantages to VR, it’s that it can isolate you. I am someone who hates to jog because I feel isolated. At some point, I downloaded a running app which posts on Facebook where and when you run, and when someone clicks on “Like”, you hear “Go, go, go!” live and in real time in your headphones. You realize that the world is part of it, and it encourages you to run faster. An audio impulse at the concert is not ideal, so we solved it visually. For example, when Frank is watching Helene Fischer …

Frank Zahn:

… of all things …

Sebastian Deyle:

… and I think that’s great that he’s watching Helene Fischer, then he will see a little bubble with my Facebook profile. Friends are able to join directly via a link. This is also a great tool for the artist because suddenly Facebook can be full of …

Frank Zahn:

… Helene Fischer …

Sebastian Deyle:

… or Lady Gaga: “Oh cool, is that live right now?”

Frank Zahn:

Virtual reality is the highest form of cutting yourself off from the world. When you put on your VR glasses, you can’t see anything anymore, and by wearing headphones you can’t hear anything either. But this only applies to the real world. In the virtual world, you can do something together with others, play games for example, or simply go to a concert. Facebook is currently investing billions of dollars in VR – via Oculus and others – because they have recognized that VR has a social dimension of unimaginable dimensions.

Sebastian Deyle:

Keyword: Augmented reality. The possibility for us to be able to have a conversation face to face here, although you might be sitting in Munich or Hamburg or London. This is already possible through the Microsoft HoloLens, even if it’s still in the beta phase. That will be the next big topic. This fascination of being live at a unique event with thousands of others, all over the world. That is an Olympic idea. That represents the thought: “Unite the world.”

Frank Zahn:

At some point in the future, the artists in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium will call out to the crowd: “I greet the 70,000 who are here and our 700,000 fans on concertVR out there.” And when you realize that you’re not alone, that there are many others, that is what gives you an enormous boost and what brings you to a whole new level. That’s a real revolution!