By Gary Symons
TLL Editor in Chief
The virtual band Gorillaz is performed a ‘live’ concert in London and New York in December, using augmented reality.
The concert promoted the band’s eighth studio album, Cracker Island, and saw the band members appearing via mobile AR apps as gigantic virtual avatars as tall as the surrounding skyscrapers.
The Grammy award-winning group performed their new single “Skinny Ape” at Times Square in New York City Dec. 17 and in Piccadilly Circus Dec. 18.
While most of the buzz around the metaverse in licensing circles has been focused on virtual worlds like Roblox, Minecraft, and The Sandbox, among others, the concert reiterates how Augmented Reality is becoming a major force for those working in licensing, marketing and advertising.
The concert is also a demonstration of Google’s ARCore Geospatial API, which allows developers to tether digital content to real-world locations covered by Google Street View. This musical AR event will blend virtual elements with reality, immersing spectators in a unique mixed reality experience.
The technology and concept are different than the Virtual Reality or VR concerts that are popping up in various virtual worlds, like the recently announced concert event The Notorious B.I.G.: Sky’s The Limit event.
In the case of this concert, the band has created a mobile AR app called Gorillaz Presents, which can be downloaded for free from the App Store or Google Play. The app uses the mobile device’s camera so the viewer can see the surrounding cityscape, and then superimposes 3D images of the band members into the scene. Inserting your phone into a set of wearable VR goggles provides the viewer with an immersive experience.
This is not the first time the band has played with augmented reality, which is only fitting for one of the world’s very few virtual bands. In 2017 Gorillaz released another augmented reality app that offered their fans an interactive tour of their estate, and before that the band released a 360-degree music video that allowed fans to view the action from any angle.
You had to be in London or New York to watch the concert via the Gorillaz Presents app, but if you weren’t, you can also watch the performance now through the same app.