Virtual Spectator sets up music division

Virtual Spectator has crossed over from the sporting arena to the music world, signing a deal with UK band Simply Red.

Virtual Spectator has crossed over from the sporting arena to the music world, signing a deal with UK band Simply Red.

Virtual Spectator, which made its name streaming digital data and animation to America's Cup followers, has set up a new division in Auckland, VS Music. It is using technology developed for its sports ventures to build an active application that will broadcast content through the internet to Simply Red fans.

The application will be distributed with Simply Red's upcoming album, says VS Music executive Mike Bradshaw. Users will receive the software free but pay when they watch live and archived shows during the accompanying Simply Red tour. Fans will use a 3D representation of the world to check which countries, cities and venues are to be visited on tour. They'll be able to access live broadcasts, tour diaries, concert commentary, merchandising information and live chats with other fans and band members.

VS Music has created a virtual stadium through which consumers who register the application will "book a seat" for the next show. Once the show is "sold out" fans will need to delay until the next showing. Bradshaw says this business model will create "a call to action" for fans, and ensure the service isn't overloaded by demand.

The experience will depend on a user's modem speed and/or the speed of the internet connection. Only high-speed connections are guaranteed streaming video. VS Music says 56K modem users will get good quality audio and 3D visuals while high-speed internet users will get high-resolution audio and video content.

VS Music will also help collect and administer extensive databases for the artists, agents and labels. In future the aim is to transmit information and/or content to portable devices such as WAP devices including mobile phones and PDAs.

Bradshaw says VS Music is also close to closing deals with several other UK artists. He says artists see the application as a potential marketing tool.

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