Viacom & Hot Sugar Are Innovating Music With Virtual Reality

Viacom’s newest virtual reality (VR) project is an exploration unlike any other. The Melody of Dust transports you to a castle-like world where every object you encounter (a rose found in a bedroom; a dove descending from the heavens) has a distinct melody to discover and unlock. It blends music, video and gaming into an immersive, interactive experience so groundbreaking that Rolling Stone dubbed it a “new art form.”

Multidisciplinary artist Hot Sugar aka Nick Koenig is the visionary behind this work, made in collaboration with Viacom NEXT, the company’s research and development arm focused on emerging technologies in entertainment. Together, they have created the world’s first album exclusively in VR, which premiered at the SXSW Virtual Cinema from March 14 to 16.

Courtesy of Nick Koenig & Viacom NEXT.

Courtesy of Nick Koenig & Viacom NEXT.

“The experience allows you to embed yourself in the creation of a melody unique only to you,” said David Liu, Viacom NEXT’s Creative Director of Virtual Reality, in an interview with Forbes.

Indeed, The Melody of Dust goes beyond transporting you into the mind of a musician; it hands you his instruments and invites you to play. It’s a truly innovative way to participate in musical artistry through the emerging medium of VR.

“We believe this is a glimpse of what the future of music could look and feel like,” said Chaki Ng, Senior Vice President and Viacom NEXT team leader, in a press release announcing the project’s world premiere.

Alongside The Melody of Dust at SXSW was Chocolate, an animated VR music video created by visual artist Tyler Hurd and executive produced by Viacom NEXT for a song by electronic musician Giraffage.

“Surrounded by an infectious beat and a [cartoon] cast that seems to be begging you to dance along, it’s nearly impossible not to bust at least a small move,” wrote Forbes reporter Seth Porges in his shout-out to Chocolate as one of the best VR experiences at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

And that’s not all when it comes to virtual reality breakthroughs at Viacom. On March 14, the Paramount-produced horror video game Paranormal Activity: The Lost Soul was released on Steam to rave reviews and to the delight of fans eager for serious scares. The project marks the film studio’s first major move into VR gaming.

From music to gaming to film and beyond, such exciting developments showcase Viacom’s potential to lead the way in providing consumers a diverse range of VR content.

Follow Viacom NEXT on Twitter @viacomnext.

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