Could The iPhone 15 Destroy Concerts?

Examining the Impact of Apple’s Spatial Video

In episode 23 of the Future of Music Podcast titled “Could the iPhone 15 Destroy Concerts?”, we delve deep into Apple’s groundbreaking feature, the spatial video capabilities of the iPhone 15 Pro Max and the Apple Vision Pro. As Ryan Withrow paints a picture of “living” within a 3D video moment, we ponder the implications for concert-goers who can now re-experience their favorite musical nights. Yet, with this promise of immersive re-visitation, Jonathan Boyd raises compelling questions about the essence of nostalgia, the value of memories, and whether this technology might reshape or even diminish our cherished concert recollections. Join us as we navigate this blend of music, technology, and emotion.

iPhone 15

Apple’s New Frontier: The iPhone 15’s Spatial Video

During Apple’s latest event, a new feature of the iPhone 15 caught the eye of many tech enthusiasts. Apple’s announcement was reminiscent of their past events – showcasing an upgrade to their existing product lineup. However, this year’s standout was the introduction of spatial video capabilities on the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Spatial video allows users to not just capture a moment but live in it. Ryan Withrow explains it as a “3D video within that platform.” With the new spatial video feature, when you record a moment, you can later revisit it and experience it as if you were there. Using Apple Vision Pro, users can don the headset and move around within the video, getting a real-time 3D feel of the scenario.

Jonathan highlights how traditionally, memories of concerts or special moments were preserved through anecdotes, posters, autographs, and more tangible memorabilia. However, with the advent of spatial video, one can relive those moments. It’s like going back to the same concert you attended and experiencing it all over again. This raises an important question: Does this technology enhance our nostalgia or detract from it? Can revisiting a moment as it happened diminish the sentimental value of our memories?

Jonathan also touches upon the potential of monetizing this feature, especially for musicians and artists. Imagine attending a concert and being able to sell your unique perspective of the show. Bands might explore the idea of gating these spatial videos, making them exclusive and adding another revenue stream to their repertoire.

The Practicality and Future of Spatial Video

We are curious about the practical implementation of spatial video. Will it be clunky? Will there be glitches or gaps in the 360-degree experience? With Apple’s reputation for refining its products before release, these are valid concerns.

However, as Jonathan opines, this technology is not far from becoming ubiquitous. In a few years, it may become as normal as scrolling through social media or sending a text.

The Financial Struggles of Today’s Musicians

Ryan’s observations about the financial struggles of today’s musicians, especially those from the UK, are sobering. The recent census reveals that half of working UK musicians earn less than £14,000 a year. This is startlingly less than half of the UK’s average salary, painting a grim picture for those passionate about their craft. The main culprits? The decline in album sales, diminishing value from streaming, and a general lack of public interest in hiring or booking live musicians.

Yet, this isn’t a phenomenon unique to the UK. As Ryan pointed out, even in central Texas, many iconic venues struggle to keep their doors open due to declining attendance. Musicians are feeling the pinch, and unless you’re a top-tier star like Taylor Swift, the landscape looks increasingly challenging.

A Shift in Music Appreciation and The Future of Music

Jonathan’s insights bring forth an interesting angle. There seems to be a decline in societal appreciation for live musicianship. The term “struggling musician” has been around for ages, but the struggles today seem magnified. If the trend continues, there’s a genuine concern that live musicians might become obsolete. Jonathan poses an essential question: “What role does music then play in society?” If it’s merely background noise or a mood enhancer, what does that mean for artists who pour their souls into their craft?

Drawing parallels with vinyl records, Jonathan sees a future where the in-person concert experience might become a niche or underground activity. Just as vinyl has its diehard fans, live music will likely always have its loyalists. However, the overall shift is towards digitalization.

The rise of AR and VR technologies suggests that future music consumption might be more about digital experiences than live ones. Imagine a future where bands offer ‘live’ concerts online, where fans from all over the world can experience a performance as if they’re right in the studio with the artists. If the pricing model shifts to accommodate this wider audience – charging less but reaching more people – it could revolutionize how artists earn.

While the current trajectory seems to favor digitization and potentially makes the traditional musician’s path more challenging, it’s essential to remember that music, as an art form, has always evolved. Just as rock ‘n’ roll disrupted the music scene in the 50s and 60s or how streaming changed the game in the 2000s, the industry is in a state of flux.

What remains constant is the human connection to music. Whether it’s a live performance in a smoky bar or an AR concert experienced from the comfort of one’s living room, music will always have the power to move, inspire, and bring people together. The methods might change, but the magic of music will endure.


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