Press Clipping
AR Technology Meets Music At SXSW 2022

Music metaverse company Ristband is using all the technology at its disposal to revolutionize the live music industry.

Attendees from all around the world converged on Austin, TX last week for SXSW 2022. The ten-day event was filled with incredible sessions led by educators and XR industry leaders that touched on everything from the metaverse, NFTs, and music to avatars, fashion, VR/AR, and various other ground-breaking technologies.

During the SXSW XR Pitch, the music metaverse company Ristband gave attendees a sneak peek of its reimagined approach to live music with a performance from the band Miro Shot Collective at The Hideout Theater during which the audience wore VR headsets during the show.

Credit: VRScout
Individuals lucky enough to get a slot into the show were shuffled into a small theater where everyone was given an older model head-mounted display powered by Samsung mobile devices. What the audience got was an immersive experience unlike anything available at the event. An AR (augmented reality) filter displayed a series of engaging visuals synced to the band’s live performance, messing with their perspective of the real world in real-time.

Speaking with members of Miro Shot Collective about how the unique performance came to be, singer Roman Rappak, who is also the CEO of Ristband, said, “All of my favorite bands such as Joy Division and Kraftwerk, they took weird technology that was broken and hard to use and they embraced it and made music with it, working with their limitations. That’s what we’re trying to do with XR.”

When asked what a 45-minute show might look like in an XR environment, Rappak said, “I wonder if the world is ready for a 45 minute live VR show.” He cites the logistics of scaling a show like this over and over again for thousands of people. “The technology just isn’t there yet,” he said.

Credit: Ristband
For Ristband, a recipient of the Epic MegaGrant from Epic Games which helped them launch their vision of music in the metaverse, SXSW 2022 was the best outlet to debut their new multiplayer music platform, showcasing how any band or artist can organize mixed-reality shows like how Miro Shot Collective did.

We’ve seen artists such as Chance the Rapper, Billie Eilish, and just recently The Foo Fighters perform in VR. But these are big-name performers with massive followings and access to the money needed to create these types of live immersive experiences.

In an official press release, Ristband co-founder and past VRScout contributor Anne McKinnon, said, “As Ristband collaborates with artists and music industry stakeholders, we realize there is no platform for the hundreds of thousands of independent artists to perform in a compelling way in virtual worlds. They are without the tools they need to build a following, track metrics, and monetize their work directly from within the experience. At this early stage and first look at Ristband, we’re using our platform to give visibility to up-and-coming audiovisual NFT artists alongside some of the biggest names leading the creative metaverse movement.”

Credit: Ristband x Miroshot
McKinnon, who met Rappack when she was a tech journalist/ blogger, talked about the importance of technology, explaining how artists have always pushed technology in new directions for new applications, creating things that you may not have thought possible initially. This was one of the many principles of Ristband according to McKinnon, who also believes that metaverse is the biggest opportunity we’ve had since the internet to make the world a better place. This is why Ristband is focused on reinforcing everything that’s great about live music and experiences rather than trying to replace it entirely.

The company also believes that the metaverse is an opportunity to support artists, venues, creatives, and the people who are using it, and should be designed for diversity and inclusion.

“A new generation of gamers and fans who experience content in a new way, living virtually, are investing in their own type of concert and experience. Within that, we are creating an ecosystem that will redefine hybrid events and live music experiencers,” said Rappak.

Credit: VRScout
Along with the Ristband’s Miro Shot Collective performance, Megan Thee Stallion’s Enter Thee Hottiverse, a first-of-its-kind VR experience, had SXSW goers waiting in lines to be part of a very up-close, uncensored, and incredibly realistic virtual show featuring “Hottie Mounted Display” headsets. Attendees used hand-tracking to shoot energy blasts out from their bare hands. While waiting for the show to start, users shot down objects in the air as they made their way to a giant digital structure of Megan’s face before traveling down her throat. Like I said, “very up-close.”

Not to be confused with Ristband, the company Mictic was also at SXSW showing off a pair of wearable devices capable of creating s an audio AR experience that allows you to interact with your favorite movement.

The wristbands pair with your mobile device through a dedicated app and let you play guitar, cello, drums, and other instruments using simple hand motions. You can perform different genres of music such as rock, latin, hip hop, and EDM. Company CEO, Mershad Javan, gave me a quick demo of how the Mictic wristbands worked, and I have to say, it was pretty impressive. Think of it like playing an “air instrument,” only you’re actually making sounds! You can find several tutorial videos here. During the demo, Javan was able to play the song “Wild Thing” and even performed a killer guitar solo.

Lastly, Paris Hilton made an appearance at SXSW when she showed up for a surprise DJ set to promote her new partnership with the rapidly-growing metaverse The Sandbox. Hilton will soon launch her own Paris Hilton Metaverse on the platform, much like Snoop Dog, Steve Akoi, and Deadmau5.

In an interview with Adweek, Hilton said, “I am a huge believer in the metaverse and the way Web3 technologies are empowering creators, gamers, and artists. I can’t wait for people to see what amazing experiences The Sandbox and I bring together to the metaverse.”

Click the links below to learn more about Ristband, Miro Shot Collective, Megan Thee Stallion’s Enter Thee Hottiverse, Mictic, and The Sandbox.