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Out Firefox'd

by M.G. Siegler


Is Secretive Virtual Reality Startup Magic Leap Dreaming Up the Future of Music?

Marc Hogan:

Tónandi, and the immersive new realms it points toward, run tantalizingly counter to decades-long trends in music. The space for visual artwork accompanying a collection of songs has shrunk from LPs to CDs to a fingernail-sized graphic squeezed within a streaming app on your smartphone. Music videos, though ubiquitous, are often crammed into the same phone screen. The notion of music itself being worthy of concentrated attention has been further eroded by the record industry’s growing reliance on streaming’s passive playlist listening. That’s all a long way from the glory days of the concept album, when artists could presume to give listeners a full—that word again—experience.
Now, Magic Leap and Sigur Rós are presenting a format that could allow an artist’s musical vision to be enormous, cohesive, and profoundly engaging. “Musicians have lost what filmmakers get, which is the IMAX theater,” Abovitz says. “What if you had the entire world as your album cover?”

Will this work? Who knows. But I continue to like, and root for, the concept of bringing back some of the tangential art associated with music -- be it music videos, or album covers, or whatever this will be.


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