Abbey Road MD Isabel Garvey on music’s most high-profile VR project yet: Inside Abbey Road, in partnership with Google...
“We loved the idea of giving music fans a real insight into Abbey Road. You can’t get through these doors unless you’re a professional musician, so it’s the ultimate place a fan wants to nose around.
“The ambition was always to create a VR experience, because Google filmed the whole lot on 360 cameras, they just didn’t have a timeline at that stage. In the end it came through about a year after the desktop experience and we were pivotal in their Cardboard [sub-£10 VR headset] launch in the UK last year.
“It was like standing in the middle of the room and being able to look wherever you like. Given where VR has moved onto, even a few months later, it probably doesn’t look the most sophisticated, but in terms of giving the consumer a real taste of what a VR tour can look like, it’s done a fantastic job.
“Also, we have a tech incubator programme called Abbey Road Red and one of the companies that falls under that at the moment is called Ossic, who do 3D sound and are specifically focused on the Virtual Reality environment.
“Working with them, we’ve seen some really sophisticated headsets in action coupled with really immersive sound and that is truly mind-blowing.
It’s not mass market yet because these things cost a lot of money and it appears the gaming community is going to unleash it first. But the interesting thing for me is that, apparently, the sound is the last trick of the mind to convince you it’s reality.
“What’s happening there is incredibly exciting and, from a music production perspective, that 3D audio technology, where sound is coming from everywhere, like in the real world, that changes massively how you produce music and it’s fascinating.
“If you take away the imagery, there’s still a virtual audio environment, a true real world sound experience where you move your head and the sound moves with you.
Ossic do a demo with Pink Floyd’s Money and when you hear that using that virtual or 3D sound, it is a totally different experience.”