How fans can support artists in VR

VR is yet another platform in which everyone can enjoy and share music. Keep reading to learn about the details on how to do so.

A guest post by James Shotwell of Haulix.

A recent feature from the developers at ForeVR Games offers a glimpse at the many ways artists can earn money in VR.

The age of virtual reality, or VR, is finally upon us. With the introduction of consumer-friendly headsets, millions of people worldwide are spending part of their lives immersed in virtual environments that offer sights and experiences that are impossible in our reality. The so-called ‘metaverse,’ which aims to meld our existence with a virtual landscape, is becoming increasingly tangible with each passing day. That trend is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

But where does music fit? The music industry has barely wrapped its collective consciousness around the digital age, and now we’re confronted with another new, strange, and vaguely-defined landscape bursting with potential but limited by access and general public awareness.

The biggest opportunities in VR right now exist for a select few. Billie Eilish, for example, has a partnership with Beat Saber, one of the platform’s most popular games. That’s a great deal for someone with an already massive reach, but most artists are not in a position to negotiate similar arrangements for their catalog.

While we continue to hunt for opportunities that every artist can leverage in the virtual space, we have found two ways musicians are already able to earn revenue through VR:

ForeVR Games’ Creative Jukebox System

One developer leading the charge for change, ForeVR Games, has found a clever solution to help artists enter the VR space. In their current game, ForeVR BOWL, and the upcoming ForeVR DARTS, ForeVR Games allows users to play music from an in-game connected to YouTube. Users can stream music on YouTube while enjoying ForeVR products, and in turn, their favorite artists receive a small royalty for the play. Users can choose from pre-made playlists or browse for the perfect song.

YouTube royalties are notoriously small (about $0.008 per view), but any amount is better than nothing, which the majority of the virtual space provides.

Spotify (AKA – “the browser method”)

Spotify, the current leader in music consumption, is largely absent in VR, and the streaming giant had yet to release a native app at this post. Quest 2 users, the largest segment of the VR community, can only access Spotify through the device’s internet browser. Still, that method does allow listeners to play their favorite music inside various VR games and environments.

Same Content, Different Platform

Speaking of Youtube and Spotify, you can access virtually all browser-based music platforms through Oculus. There is also a growing community of indie VR developers making browser-based titles that leverage music, though their licensing agreements (or lack thereof) can be hard to find.

While it may seem like musicians will have an uphill battle building communities in the virtual space, it is important to remember that VR is relatively new. Virtual reality is one of the fastest-growing entertainment segments right now. Still, it will take time for developers to create apps and platforms that utilize the full capabilities of the equipment. Early adopters benefit from learning how to best use and navigate the virtual landscape before everyone else tries to jump on the bandwagon 1-2 to years from now.

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