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How music fans have gone virtual in lockdown

Virtual experience has transformed live music, writes TAKAKIYO FUJITA, managing director of Sony Middle East and Africa



Self-isolation and social-distancing laws have given rise to new trends in the music industry. In a bid to flatten the curve, fans across the world have substituted live music concerts for virtual alternatives, relying heavily on technology’s ability to recreate these experiences in the comfort of their homes.

From the yesteryears of evenings spent on the couch, enjoying the ambience created by the magnificent combination of vinyl and gramophone to the more current trend of wirelessly streaming the latest chart-topping hits through state-of-the-art Bluetooth speakers – audio technology has continuously adapted to the changing requirements of fans and performers alike.

A new trend is on the rise for music consumption.

Research by Billboard and Nielsen Music, titled COVID-19 tracking the impact on the entertainment landscape, indicates an 8.1% increase in the number of fans streaming music videos in April. These numbers have continued to climb during the outbreak, with fans showing a growing interest in exploring virtual concerts. 

The growing number of fans that are tuning in to virtual music experiences, like the Global Citizen One World: Together at Home and the unforgettable Andrea Bocelli: Music for Hope live-streamed concert, is evidence of this phenomenon.

It’s for this reason that South African DJs, like DJ Shimza and Black Coffee, have encouraged regular partygoers to stay home by hosting online parties that are live-streamed via popular social channels accessible to communities of fans looking to connect to some of the biggest music stars in the industry.

Advanced audio technology makes it possible to create virtual music experiences

Millions of people from across the world can connect through music thanks to advancements in audio technology. From smartphones to laptops and even smart TVs, fans can join virtual concerts streaming live to their living rooms or get lost in the moment through virtual parties using home stereo technology and portable Bluetooth speakers that enable them to experience music as if it’s live.

For instance, virtual house parties can be enjoyed without causing or being affected by external disruption thanks to headphones such as Sony’s WH-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones. This noise cancellation technology can filter out any unwanted background sound to deliver uncompromised music reproduction thanks to a dedicated HD Noise Cancelling Processor and an integrated built-in amplifier. It also has the best-in-class signal-to-noise ratio and low distortion for portable devices to deliver exceptional sound quality – perfect for handling a virtual house party’s heavy beat.

Whether fans are streaming live music concerts, a parody over YouTube or are captivated by amazing solo performers – today’s technology enables music to stay true to the original recording through sound that’s optimised for minimal distortion and allows listeners to enjoy all the subtleties of the music.

Technology is driving the evolution of music

Brands like Sony continuously strive to improve on quality and sound reproduction through a range of industry-leading audio innovations. This results in music concert experiences that can be recreated in listeners’ living rooms thanks to home audio systems like the Sony HT-ST5000 Soundbar. Much like the brand’s virtual surround sound technology, Sony’s Soundbar combines Digital Signal Processing and S-Force PRO Front Surround with wavefront technology to produce an unparalleled three-dimensional experience capable of emulating natural sound.

The immersive audio experience can be enjoyed through Sony’s speakers, soundbars and headphones to enable music to be reproduced the way artists originally intended.