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Feature Story: This Denver Startup is Bringing VR Concerts to Your Living Room

Live concerts are a blast, but expensive tickets, bustling crowds, long bathroom lines and obstructed views can sometimes dampen the show.

One local startup wants to enhance the current live music experience, while also bringing virtual reality concerts into the comforts of your living room.

Soundscape VR CEO Eric Alexander admits that he wasn’t always focused on virtual reality. Prior to launching Soundscape in 2018, he was a food scientist with a degree in microbiology that had a side interest in tech, music and digital art.

Gradually that side interest grew to become his main one and his focus shifted exclusively to what would become Soundscape VR.

“It was just too much for me to resist,” he said with a laugh.

He launched Soundscape in Chicago, but after researching some of the best places to start a tech company he landed in Denver. Since arriving, the one-person team has ballooned to more than ten and Soundscape’s technology has garnered interest at festivals across the country.

Soundscape offers two main products, an at-home VR experience and a live, VR music stage.

The at-home experience is the company’s most robust offering, allowing users to explore virtual, social worlds with up to 244 other users, all while listening to music. The company has developed three worlds, all between 10 to 20 kilometers in size, for users to explore, interact with other users and experience a concert-like atmosphere.

Soundscape has partnered with Boulder artist Big Gigantic and Atlanta’s STS9 to upload concert sets to the platform. Users can also play their own music over the platform, creating a concert-like atmosphere with the music they want to hear. Within the world, Soundscape offers a series of character customization micro-transactions. Alexander said the platform, available for free download on Oculus Rift, has more than 40,000 users.

“At the initial level, it was just about letting people have that immersive experience at home. It’s a full field of view, immersive physical experience. You can drink beers out of your fridge, use your own bathroom and go any night of the week,” Alexander said.

The latest version of the company’s virtual reality music stage made its official debut at the recent Sonic Bloom music festival at Hummingbird Ranch, CO.

The stage allows users to put on a headset and go on a musically guided tour of a digital world that lasts between eight and 20 minutes.

“We’ve grown the stage to allow for more participants at the same time, increased visibility to 360 degrees so all spectators can experience what’s happening ‘in world’ and enhanced our state-of-the-art VR hardware to the most powerful in the world – when you couple all of that with the live music pumping through the new P.A. system, it’s a shared immersive audiovisual experience unlike anything ever seen before,” Alexander said.

The stage was first presented at Burning Man, and then Suwannee Hulaween.

As the company grows, Alexander said Soundscape is preparing to launch a Series A funding round and hopes to form more partnerships with musicians to build out the platform’s experiences.

He acknowledges that VR is unlikely to ever replace the live concert experience but hopes to be a supplement to it.

“Soundscape has to be at least as good or better than the live music experience to succeed,” he said.

As appears on https://www.americaninno.com/colorado/denver-startups/this-denver-startup-is-bringing-vr-concerts-to-your-living-room/