Is Technology Improving Live Music?

Posted: Oct 24 2018, 9:23am CDT | by , in News | Technology News

 
Is Technology Improving Live Music?
Image: Scorpo Stories

With all the new technology that's increasing rapidly, is seeing a concert today any better than it was 20 years ago?

Live music performances have come a long way from seeing a single band in a dark bar or concert hall. From Rammestien's iconic pyrotechnics to Lady Gaga leaping from the top of the stadium during the 2017 Super Bowl halftime show, and Pink's constant aerial acrobatics at her shows, technology has changed what performers can do during their live shows. Japan even has a band, Vocaloids, that is made up entirely of holograms. Is this push toward technological advancement in the music industry also improving the music itself?

Lighters Become Wristbands

You can't watch a video of an old rock concert without seeing the entire audience lighting up their Zippo lighters during a power ballad. It's become almost synonymous with concerts, but technology is changing that. Pop goddess Taylor Swift and rock band Coldplay both made headlines when, instead of lighters, they offered their audience LED wristbands. Not only did these wristbands give the audience members something to hold up during the performance, but they actually reacted to the show as it was going on, flashing to the beat and creating light waves through entire sections.

This is just the beginning, according to industry experts. As the technology required to make these wristbands gets cheaper, more artists will be able to start using them. They can also be equipped with sensors and accelerators to get a feel for how people are moving to the music, allowing the artists to create a reactive show.

Lighting Is Changing

There's more to show lighting these days than just making sure the lead singer is in the spotlight. A lighting engineer has to consider everything from the previously mentioned spotlight to the tempo of the music and even the colors for each song and each section of the show. Light colors can affect the mood of the audience — if a light is too bright, it could make it hard for the audience to see the musician on the stage or even cause them to turn away from the stage and miss the show. If it's too dark, you end up with an audience that's straining to see. It's a balancing act.

All About the Sound

Technology isn't just improving the show itself. It's also improving the sound that audiences hear. Gone are the days of standing in front of the speakers and having the audio be drowned out or not being able to hear the songs at all in the cheap seats. It's more than just speakers now, too — audio engineers have a plethora of tools at their disposal, from computers with predictive software to measurement programs, and many concerts are rivaling studio monitors now in their sound quality.

Getting Into the Show

Virtual reality and augmented reality are growing in popularity every single day. VR headsets are expensive and require a computer. Anyone who's downloaded the Pokemon Go or Jurassic World Alive apps is familiar with augmented reality — taking the virtual and superimposing it over the real world.

Japan's Vocaloids band does just that, without the need for a headset or a phone, by putting holograms on the stage in front of the audience. AR and VR can take that one step further and allow the audience to be part of the show. The possibilities are endless.

Technology is changing the way we enjoy live shows — and that isn't a bad thing. We can't wait to see how far this new lighting and sound technology takes us in the future.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/56" rel="author">Scott Huntington</a>
Scott Huntington is a writer and journalist from Harrisburg PA who covered movies, tech, cars, and more. Check out his blog Off The Throttle or follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington.

 

 

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