How 5G technology could change the future of music

“Artists can now build entire digital worlds by using the same technology that’s used to create video games to bring their creative vision to life,” said Andrew Zarick, Head of Partnership Activations at Verizon 5G Labs. “This completely changes the way artists engage with fans now and in the future.”

With the program’s help, rapper and singer TheHxliday designed a 360-degree virtual world that morphed from a desert landscape with bouncing moons to a lush forest with butterflies for his 20-minute performance of “The Most Beautiful Disaster.” With 5G, Verizon was able to record and stream the performance in a way that nearly eliminated the side effects of image compression that are visible to the naked eye.

Artist Asiahn used the tools at the 5G Labs to create an augmented reality experience for fans. The team at the lab used volumetric capture to create a holographic video performance of Asiahn dancing. When you play the music video, the app overlays Asiahn into your own living room, bringing the artist to your personal space. Switch modes and you see a northern-lights display with lyrics flying by as you play the song. In director’s cut mode, she’s in the room with you, talking about the video and the story behind it.

“That extension of this digital 2D video into your physical 3D world is indicative of what we think the table stakes will be going forward when you think about content,” said Zarick. “It’s not just lean back. It’s interactive, it’s immersive. And it begins to shift entertainment from a single platform experience to a multiplatform experience, reaching fans wherever they are.”

Collaborating across continents

Technology, paired with a need for distanced connections created by the COVID-19 pandemic, is also spurring increased online music collaboration through platforms such as BandLab and Kompoz.

Musicians from all over the world are meeting together remotely. The Veltrons, whose members are from London, upstate New York, Vancouver and San Francisco, met on the Endless music collaboration app and have produced two albums, despite having never met in person.

While this kind of online music collaboration is already happening, the high performance of 5G networks should make it more seamless—meaning fans could see more exciting collaborations in the future.

Empowering everyone to create

While bands backed by big labels already have the resources to create amazing high-tech experiences for fans, 5G will help make music tech more accessible to everyone, Zarick said. We are already partway there.

“If you have an iPhone®, you’re a moviemaker,” Zarick said. “So you can make your music video, you can post to TikTok®, you can find a way to build your audience. And by the way, that phone in your hand is starting to come with new and amazing features like being able to do 3D scanning.”

“These tools no longer just sit within the scope of folks that have dollars and access,” he said. And that could make a difference in what kind of music we all experience in the future.

“This really starts to bring about a new wave of creators with new forms of creative expression,” Zarick said, “and begins to unlock new sustainable ways to monetize their work.”

Verizon 5G’s role in music innovations

Since a 2019 concert with the Chainsmokers, Verizon has been exploring what 5G can do for music. Whether through collaborations like the Emerging Artists program, 5G build-outs in stadiums and venues across the country, or other new and exciting applications, Verizon will continue to push the future of music technology.

Find out more about how the Verizon 5G Labs are helping artists, innovators and others put the power of 5G to use.

2 Samantha Hissong, “5G Could Be the Future of Concerts. No, Really.” Rolling Stone, May 18, 2021.

Marcy Willis

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