LAS VEGAS – Virtual reality has very obvious applications for gaming, movies and experiential content, but it’s not entirely clear how the emerging technology might benefit music. KYGO’s new song “Carry Me,” which now has its very own app on PlayStation VR, presents one possible solution to the conundrum. “Carry Me” isn’t just a song; it’s a whole VR experience, and no two listening sessions will be quite the same.
What Is It?
I tried out KYGO’s “Carry Me” on PSVR at CES 2017. It's essentially a music video, but in a fully immersive VR format. The song itself is sort of an electronica-pop ditty with a driving beat and forgettable lyrics, but like a lot of popular music, it’s about the in-the-moment experience more than the deeper meaning behind it.During the three or four minutes of the song, you’re transported to an abstract world of unusual creatures and psychedelic visuals, although you can’t influence anything in it.
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Pricing and Availability
“Carry Me” is currently available on the PlayStation Store for $1.99. You need a PSVR headset to use it, naturally. Redditors are already arguing as to whether or not it justifies the cost, but if buying a song usually costs a dollar anyway, an additional dollar is not that much for a whole VR experience.
VR for Music
“Carry Me” goes something like this: You start staring at an indistinct pink shape. As the music crescendos, you realize that the shape is a jellyfish, and that the entire space is filled with jellyfish of all sizes, colors, and configuration. You eventually ascend from your underwater environment into a lush jungle, where you can see the haunting outline of a keyboardist. Eventually, you rise up into the stars, where another celestial human figure awaits you. During the song, you can look anywhere around you and see something different, meaning you’ll probably need a few viewings to catch everything there is to see.
Why Should You Care?
I’m not sure if I found “Carry Me” intriguing or gimmicky. In all honesty, it was a little bit of both. I asked a Sony representative if a whole album of VR music would be immersive or exhausting, and he said that it would probably depend on the album. All told, though, I was not averse to “Carry Me” at all. A VR simulation represents the next logical evolution of the music video, and I imagine that future projects could add a layer of interactivity as well. I don’t know if every PSVR owner needs to drop $2 on this, but it’s at least worth considering whether the technology has applications for other genres and artists.