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A Multi-Decades Long Art Project

August 13, 2020

The beauty of Soundscape and of the VR medium is that it is a digital painting to revisit again and again. While other mediums force you to put down the brush and walk away to maintain your sanity, the entire composition of Soundscape is a just a foundation to build upon. The Black Sun is the best example of this, with over 7 years of development time to date.

The other primary superiority to the canvas is the ability to expand size at any time.  Each Soundscape has grown over its life to the point of spanning miles.  It’s a balance between expanding the size of the world improving the existing parts. Daily I’m adding details to small areas, hiding new things where they will likely not be found. 

Of all the development time spent on Soundscape, the lion’s share goes towards new features.  Here are just a few of the features we’ve implemented since launch:

Infinite replayability
Sonic AI audio reactivity 
Open worlds with full smooth locomotion
Multiplayer Social Worlds
RPG elements including talent system and avatar customization
SVR UI v4.0 with Lighting Microcontroller
Full IK Avatars with capability for 1:1 dance and social presence 
SVR LIVE mixed reality art installation
Spectra Dash gaming modes
Sound(E)scape mode for therapeutic research

What’s coming next?  Here’s a taste of a few things on our horizon:

Artist Link live concerts
VR museums celebrating artists
Mobile play on the go
Limitless capacity shows via infinite scalability
New games to play and interact with other players
Expanded social features
More performance optimizations
Two new Soundscapes
And so much more…

When I began work on Soundscape, I knew I was embarking on a task of epic proportions that would take many years or even decades to realize.  My earliest calculations and optimistic expectations were that by 2030 Soundscape would be finally starting to realize its true potential. 

It’s been an incredible journey to this point, already farther than I hoped I would ever be able to take Soundscape.  My original goal was just to enable a free space for music lovers to escape together, a goal that once seemed insurmountable, and although that has been achieved, I will always keep refining that aspect of the Soundscape mural.

It seems inevitable at this point that someday after enough work Soundscape will reach its full potential, it is quite exciting to consider what the future holds. 

ARTIST LINK

June 23, 2020

There’s never been a better time in history to be making music.  An artist today with just a laptop plus a copy of Ableton Live has limitless creative potential at their fingertips, able to become the next Grammy winner.  This explosion of musical decentralization has sent shockwaves through the industry that has already changed the musical landscape forever.  But even though technology has massively benefited the music production, it hasn’t yet had quite the same positive impact on touring and live shows.  It’s time for that to change with the introduction of ARTIST LINK.

Artist Link is a new technology Groove Science Studios has been developing for over seven years now, enabling the next generation of the concert experience.  Artist Link connects fans and artists across the globe instantly, unlocking an abundance of novel benefits for both music creators and music lovers.  It’s about traveling thousands of miles in the blink of an eye, shattering barriers and being teleported to hyper-immersive virtual shared spaces where the limitations of reality no longer apply.  Let’s take a look at two scenarios of how this new technology can redefine how people interact with music. 

As an Artist:
One second you are sitting in your studio working on a new song, the next an alarm goes off to remind you it is time for your big show.  You slip on your HMD and step onto the main stage ready to perform.  You’re performing not just on a stage, but within a whole world you’ve helped design.   Tonight you’re choosing to operate your entire stage singlehandedly, a true one-man show.  Your worldwide fanbase is assembled into one venue, the stage scaling dynamically to accommodate everyone ranging from a dozen friends up to tens of thousands of fans.  Your audiovisual presentation is in a word, mind-blowing.  You are in total command of your audience and have their complete attention.  Hundreds of lasers fill the space around you but you never had to buy them, you never had to rent a vehicle to transport them, you never had to hire a crew to haul them.  There’s no safety or liability to worry about with them or any of your 50ft flame cannons, everything just works.  You perform your music live, blending realities by playing real instruments into the virtual world.  As the music builds, you take control of your fans’ vision via optical hack and melt the world around them.  For your big finale you blast off and fly through the crowd shooting fireworks into the audience, the crowd is lost in a sea of chromatic explosions.  The smoke clears, the crowd goes wild, you bow and take off your HMD, and you’re back in your studio ready to keep doing what you love – making music.   

As a Fan:
You arrive at the show three minutes before the start time and fly up to your perfect spot where all of your friends are waiting for you.   Your entire festival family is gathered together, you can tell who is who just by the way their avatar moves and translates their real-world motion 1:1. Your view is wholly uninterrupted with limitless room to dance, you are fully immersed in a world of no cell phones and no distractions.  Whether you are pressed against the stage, or you are flying overhead 1000′ above, the sound is flawless and magnificent within your favorite pair of headphones.  The visuals are somehow even more impressive, your mouth hangs open as the impossible repeatedly happens.  Out of the corner of your eye, you see a mobility-impaired friend soaring backward with arms outstretched, out of the other corner you see another pair of acquaintances painting audio-reactive streams of light out of their hands, collaborating on virtual art together.  Time stands still until the set is over seemingly as quickly as it began.  Your favorite artist comes down to greet you, passing you an invite to a special album release party happening later this month.  You take the money you would have spent on a ride getting home and instead donate it directly to the artist, a special 3d collectible from the event materializes in your inventory to forever remind you of the amazing time you had tonight.  You hang out with your friends for a few minutes gushing about the set, before taking off the headset and returning to your living room.  You grab a drink from your fridge, sit down, and smile.

Does this like sound like fantasy or science fiction?  It’s real, it’s Artist Link, and it begins this summer. If you’re interested, reach out, we want to hear from you – https://www.soundscapeuniverse.com/artist-survey/

The Virtual Music Platform for Good

May 21, 2020

The birth of the Soundscape Universe wasn’t just intended to explore the exciting intersection of music and technology, but to evolve the industry by putting power directly into the hands of artists and fans.  What started as an immersive music visualizer has continued to evolve into something much more.  Here at Groove Science Studios, we’ve been combining art and music in imaginative VR spaces for nearly seven years now, leading the world in the exploration of this technology.  Since our very first live event at Burning Man 2017, a gifted art installation showcasing the power of music, art, and love, we’ve continued to double down on our community-driven platform for good.

Today I’m announcing the start of a new ongoing partnership with Conscious Alliance, a Colorado charity fighting hunger that provides meals for underserved communities. Together we are a movement of artists, musicians, and music lovers on a mission to end hunger, gifting hyper-immersive audiovisual experiences to heal the world.  Starting today, every time someone makes a purchase inside SVR supporting our art, they will also be fighting hunger at the same time, helping those who need it most.  I’ve been so impressed by the incredible work of Conscious Alliance, and I can’t imagine a better partner to join forces alongside in an ongoing commitment.  To celebrate the start of this great collaboration, I’m going to be kicking things off with a $10,000 donation.

For years we’ve been designing the platform with the goal of empowering artists, and the need for that has never been more apparent than during this difficult time.  We are democratizing touring and live musical performance, allowing any musician to tour globally from home while putting more money in their pocket than traditional touring.  We take no cut of revenue generated by any artist on our platform, resulting in lower fees for fans, and higher payments for artists.  We’re going to be continuing to roll out new artist features over the summer and fall that expand our already industry-leading capabilities.

One of the fundamental differences between Soundscape and other tech platforms is our company values related to responsible technology user privacy.  We don’t harvest and sell user data, we don’t bombard users with intrusive ads, we don’t limit free speech on our platform.  We can do this since we are not beholden to ultra-rich corporate investors, choosing to remain an independent company that has the freedom to choose to do the right thing, rather than the thing that milks the most money. 

As Creator of Soundscape VR, I’ve been personally responsible for the development of this platform since inception, and I’m proud to say I have never taken a single paycheck for my labor of love.  I have no doubt others will arrive to the industry soon driven by the prospect of making billions, but the Soundscape Universe will always be first and foremost a platform for good.  Our audience of over 50,000 users, some of the most passionate and dedicated fans of music, have already proven how much authenticity matters in VR.  Thanks for making history together with us, and for helping to make the world a better place. 

The Power of Closing Your Eyes

April 16, 2020

Have you ever been to a concert and found yourself with your eyes closed?  Maybe it was to allow yourself to be pulled deeper into sound, maybe it was completely involuntary, or maybe just to forget for a moment about that 6’8″ person’s head (and shoulders) blocking your view.
 
When I set out to create Soundscape, I knew the visual intensity must be on a wide spectrum so that each person would be able to choose from a range of options to match their sound selection.  On one end you would have complete immersion, an uninterrupted, unimpeded, and unfiltered visual extravaganza where no outside forces would exist to distract you from the performance at hand.  On the other end, the player would have the ability to shut their eyes at any moment and freely escape, heightening senses like hearing even further.  It may surprise you to hear Soundscape is intended to be played with your eyes closed or open, facilitating those wonderful moments of escape!  And not only that, but also giving you the freedom to adjust your pose – sitting, standing, or even lying down flat on your back!  Every piece of music warrants a different ocular approach, there is no right or wrong way to play.  In Soundscape, the player has all the power. 

By layering different levels of visual effects on top of one another where the sum of the parts is greater than the whole, we’ve managed to create a visual arts experience that is constantly changing and can feel fresh indefinitely.  With over 10 million combinations of visual effects to date, you could stay inside Soundscape for a year straight and still not see everything that exists!!!  It’s that replayability that keeps people coming back time and time again to discover new audiovisual magic.

The Advantages Of VR In Today’s Climate

March 12, 2020

One of the most attractive aspects of Soundscape VR is the unique advantages it offers compared to the current state of the live music experience. Live music has been a hallmark of our existence for as long as recorded history suggests, and while it has evolved over decades of participation, it is not infallible. In the last decade, the live entertainment arena has been the setting for some of the worst tragedies experienced by music loving fans: The Sugarland Stage Collapse in 2011 (7 killed, 58 injured), the Paris Eagles of Death Metal Concert (150 killed), Ariana Grande’s Manchester Arena bombing (22 killed, 59 injured), and more recently, The Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas where more than 50 were killed and more than 500 people injured. And in the past month alone, we’ve seen some of the biggest music festivals in the world entirely shut down (SXSW, Ultra, Tomorrowland) or forced to postpone (Coachella) due to the impact of the COVID-19 virus.
 
Part of being a festival operator or concert promoter is knowing the risks involved, and thankfully, that’s why insurance exists. However, the staggering insurance premiums required to faithfully protect not just the promoter, but the fans, the artists, the vendors – are all typically passed along to the consumer in the price of the ticket or additional fees. And that’s assuming the promoter did in fact secure insurance in the first place! Virtual reality offers the unique opportunity to entirely mitigate issues like these when it comes to the live performance industry. And because it’s virtual, other factors like traffic, noise pollution, trash, and violence, immediately cease to be a cause of concern. 

While SXSW is shut down and Coachella is postponed, fans must deal with the heartbreak of missing their most anticipated performances by their favorite artists. But the show goes on for VR users who are able to freely tap into a 24-7-365 music festival that never ends. When you just don’t have the budget for the ticket and the VIP camping, and the supplies, VR users can put on their headset and be teleported thousands of miles instantly to connect with friends. When flights are cancelled or travel is impossible, an artist can slip into VR and project their avatar across the globe, delivering a performance from anywhere on Earth. And why should having a family limit your ability to catch those favorite artists live? You don’t have to anymore. VR changes the paradigm when it comes to what is possible with experience and live music.
 
For music fans, VR offers wins across the board in convenience, immersion, price, flexibility, and audiovisual quality. And those advantages are only improving more rapidly as further technological development is incorporated into each new hardware iteration. With every feature added, VR’s list of advantages for fans and artists alike, grows even further. It won’t be long before serious music enthusiasts can no longer ignore the innovation that is happening with music and virtual reality. It’s hard to believe that it wasn’t too long ago where if you might have been called crazy for believing that movie lovers would regularly choose their living room over the theatre, yet that is the world we live in today. Cheaper technology afforded a clear path to replicating the experience at home, movies are now widely available at the touch of a button, and price gouging for cheap popcorn and name-brand soda are a thing of the past. The transformation took less than a decade. What Netflix is to the movie industry is what Soundscape VR will be to the music industry. Staying at home no longer has to be an isolating experience.

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