Apple Music & U2 partner on virtual reality music video ‘Song for Someone’

29 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple Doesn’t Get That U2 Is Lame as Hell.

After staying relatively quiet on the future of virtual reality, Apple has made its first foray into the space via a 360-degree U2 music video made available on the Vrse app.

When Apple took its first public adventure into virtual reality, the company needed a subject that represented the bright, infinite possibilities of this new medium. The music video is part of a larger Apple Music partnership with U2 called “The Experience Bus,” which is basically an environment at concerts for U2 fans to come strap on Oculus headsets and pairs of Beats Solos to check out the “Song for Someone” music video and experience it alongside other fans. We weren’t invited to any promotional efforts to do with this – no surprise there – but other outfits were, and they say that a heavily painted bus is going around the country encouraging people to insert themselves into a virtual world where Bono, The Edge, Matt and Ken are viewable in an inescapable 360-degrees. Perhaps Bono is trying The Manchurian Candidate approach to building a fan base, but perhaps we are cynics who despise popular music and promotional activity.

It’s a pretty classic, if not above-average, VR experience, but is made far more interesting by the Apple Music branding featured at the beginning of the video. The song was filmed in Toronto and features the band’s on and off-stage jam sessions, along with appearances from several other performers from around the world, who zoom in and out in 3D at various points. Since the past few years, Apple has tried to put itself in a virtual reality race with Alphabet Inc’s (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google Cardboard and Facebook Inc’s (NASDAQ:FB) Oculus Rift.

When asked what the company’s involvement means for its future plans, however, the streaming service’s head of content, Larry Jackson, would only give a “no comment.” Jackson, though, did allow that Apple’s support for the piece “signals and symbolizes something,” adding that Apple Music is already working on a similar partnership with Vrse to make a “post-apocalyptic action film” in VR for the band Muse. Earlier in February, it filed a patent for its own iPhone equipped VR headsets and in May, it acquired augmented reality firm Metaio for $32 million, whose technology enabled consumers to experience desired products in realistic augmented scenarios. Later their signatures were physically etched onto the back of a pair of models of their own U2 special edition iPods with stylized red and black designs. Apple has continued to be a major supporter of Bono’s (RED) charity, which has raised nearly $320 million with the help of corporate partners like Apple to help treat and prevent the spread of AIDS. But that could be just the beginning. “You’re on the phone, you’re connected to everything else on the phone,” Milk says. “Why can’t one app play with another app nicely?” (The answer to this question may lie in Apple’s recent hunt for a developer to “create high performance apps that integrate with virtual reality systems for prototyping and user testing.”) There’s no reason that VR running on smartphones—like Vrse’s app does using Google Cardbard—couldn’t link people out to any number of things their iPhone.

Less popular was U2’s release of their album “Songs of Innocence,” a free album that’s release was announced onstage by Tim Cook and the band last September. The album was welcomed by U2 fans, but managed to piss off many of the 26 million people who downloaded the album, many of which unknowingly had the album automatically loaded into their libraries thanks to certain iCloud settings being enabled.

Yelp Inc. (NYSE:YELP) disclosed its third quarter earnings for fiscal year 2015 (FY15) yesterday, with revenue beating analysts’ estimates and propelling the shares to post a 7% gain in after-hours trading, after posting a 4% loss during normal trading hours. U2 has clearly been a partner that Apple feels comfortable launching new initiatives with so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Apple Music continue helping produce VR content with other select artists in the future. It was rumored a few months ago that Apple might be working on an augmented reality headset following their acquisition of AR startup Metaio earlier this summer, though to me this suggests that they are more likely looking towards AR technologies for the rumored Apple car.

He’d just gotten notes from the band on the next round of edits to the video, had likely already received more email than most of us get in a whole day—including one about doing a second TED Talk in 2016—and was trying to leave for the first of many meetings of the day, including one with Sony’s president of Worldwide Studios, Shuhei Yoshida, to discuss Project Morpheus. Furthermore, earnings per share (EPS) came in at $0.03, failing to beat the consensus estimate of $0.07, and declining 84.21% YoY from the $0.19 figure reported in the same quarter last year.

Google Cardboard is currently the only “immersive” avenue and most of the physical cases that one would use are pretty damn shitty, though some better options may be on the way. Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) for the quarter were $12.5 million, versus $20.1 million in 3QFY14. “We are pleased with our 40% year over year revenue growth,” said CFO Rob Krolik in a press release. “We are investing in the business through our marketing programs and continued sales team growth as we work to achieve our goal of becoming the leading destination for consumers connecting with great local businesses. The app that Apple is using for this specific experience is called Vrse and is available for download on the App Store, the Google Play Store, the Gear VR Store and through the Google Cardboard app. She’s a hardcore U2 fan—she once made a plan to marry Bono for a high school project—and now that she’s engaged (not to Bono), she’s had to choose between the band and wedding planning. “A U2 show is about $70,” she narrates in a voice-over. “That doesn’t seem like too much when you’re thinking about things in the big picture, but when you have little things to get for a wedding like invitations or just little things like that, $70 is really a lot. The app primarily is focused on creating viewing experiences for third-party content partners, which previously has included The New York Times, Vice News, NBC and others.

It’s been at least 15 years since U2 did anything remotely cool, and yet, Apple doesn’t seem to get that the last time U2 was relevant was around the time the iPod was unveiled by Steve Jobs. The latest earnings report also provided guidance for the fourth quarter of FY15, as it expects revenue to be between $149.15–154.5 million, as compared to the Street’s estimate of $152.13 million. All told, there were three different crews in three different time zones capturing footage of people who’d responded to the band’s call for submissions online or whom the producers had found on the web. “We had a team working 24 hours a day in shifts on casting,” says producer Ari Palitz. “[It] was a true testament to advances in technology.

We would find a performer we liked on YouTube, then once we were able to contact them and make sure they were available, we would present them all to Chris to choose from. Yelp has been striving to expand its website beyond user reviews and has made investments in services which include food ordering, restaurant reservations, and food delivery. I ask if it gets boring; in response, he brings up Kanye West. “There’s something I said to Kanye a long time ago,” Milk said, “which was ‘Don’t you get sick of playing those songs on stage every night?’ And he said, ‘No, because it’s not about the playing of the song, it’s about the reaction you’re getting from people.’ It’s the same thing for VR.

Last week, Apple illustrated a much more sensible music partnership when it released the video for Drake’s “Hotline Bling” for one week exclusively through Apple Music.

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