We are on the brink of an online music collaboration explosion in the years to come. Eric Steuer at Wired Magazine wrote an important article, Group Effort: Solo Musicians Band Together on Collaboration Web Sites, covering 10 of today's top virtual jam session sites. The possibilities are infinite—it's only 2009, and virtual technology is developing at warp speed.
Gary Vaynerchuk has animatedly vlogged about how the internet itself just hit puberty. Online music collaboration and virtual jamming are even younger. The arena for virtual music is huge. The best music is live music, and this is what comes next: We're going hear, feel, and see live music live in the virtual realm—a drummer in Sydney, a bassist in New York, a singer in Tokyo—connecting with their fans live through web-based applications. You're going to virtually bump n' grind across the globe in virtual clubs with DJ's pumping sound to the world. There will be video chat so big, real, live, and interactive that it will be like being there. The experience, and the emotion, will be real.
Where changes to anywhere in the virtual realm, and the technology is breeding as fast as we can imagine it. The clubs and venues of today will have to embrace the technology to survive, and they could be some of the best portals for connecting to the virtual space in a hybrid mix between the techology and the old-school dance floor. By the way, these clubs will recycle their electricity from the music. It's only a matter of time before video chat goes 3D and beyond. Imagine how people will connect from club to club, venue to venue, and party to party in the virtual space.
The video game industry has already tapped the music vein with massive success, and they will continue to play a major role in this dynamic shift to the virtual realm. Mobility is still vital in the virtual realm, but how might its role evolve? Bringing music to the phone was one giant leap for musickind. Berkleemusic started the #bmusic hashtag for musicbiz conversation. Their 2005 book The Future of Music, published by the Berklee Press, discussed how mobility trumps quality. They were so right. But what trumps mobility? I think virtuality is the answer. Virtuality trumps mobility? Virtuality and mobility will likely breed to create new offspring. Mobility is the ability to move, or the ability to be connected wherever you are. In the virtual realm you can be anywhere with anyone. Virtuality is reality. Music is an experience. The quality of the experience could become greater than ever.
Evolution has proven that the most valuable survival feature that any creature can have is adaptability. Those who adapt the fastest to change always thrive. The controversial survival novelist Ragnar Benson advised that those who fail to embrace the latest technology are at a severe disadvantage. Music and musicians will continue to adapt to new technologies. As for the designers and developers: bring it on. Your imagination has no limit. Every technology that you can bring to life will be used. Musicians will continue the shift away from selling tangible products, and will cash in selling experiences—via licensing, sponsored shows, endorsements, subscriptions, etc. Music will be everywhere.
This post might sound a little far out but I think it's meaningful for us to think about. What will the future bring? How will the ever-expanding music population contribute to our future, and future generations?