PRS for Music hosts virtual and augmented reality debate

PRS for Music hosted an evening of discussion and debate on augmented and virtual reality and the potential impact these new technologies could have on the music industry earlier this week.

Speaking at PRS Explores: Immersive Technology, artist Chagall, former BBC and DCMS digital strategist Will Saunders, COO and co-founder of Blend Media, Chris Helm, PRS for Music’s head of online licensing Nick Edwards and more all took a closer look at the immersive technology landscape, including challenges and opportunities for rightsholders, creators and the wider music industry.

Representing the rights of songwriters and composers in the UK and worldwide, PRS for Music protects its members intellectual property as technologies develop and evolve; from YouTube, licensed first by PRS for Music in 2007, to MelodyVR, which signed a licensing deal with ICE (covering PRS for Music, GEMA and STIM repertoire) in August of this year.

It has been a newsworthy year for immersive technology as the sector continues to grow. So far, music platform MelodyVR has reportedly seen investment from global star Adele and Channel 4 took a minority stake in Parable VR in March. Clubbing institution Boiler Room also released its first virtual reality stream via Google Daydream.

Also speaking were Nicholas Minter-Green, founder and CEO of Parable VR, who provided Samsung Gear VR headsets for attendees to experience immersive content, tech journalist Stuart Dredge, and creative rights specialist Ben Green, who said: “Where [the technology is] best used is where they collaborate in tandem, where you get together with a producer and create something new and exciting. Not just a straight performance of a live gig, but doing something incredibly different.”

Panel moderator, PRS for Music’s director of corporate strategy, Graham Davies added: “Last night confirmed there are very good reasons behind the buzz around virtual and augmented reality technology. Although there is a shortage of great content right now due to a challenge with funding for longer form content, we can see that it provides many opportunities for creators and it is exciting to consider where the technology will go from here.”

PRS Explores launched last year with the aim of facilitating debate about change in the industry. Previous evenings have covered the relationship between music and videogames, big data, blockchain, and EU copyright reform. Further events are planned for 2018 and will be announced in due course.