30 Seconds to Mars (30STM) have always maintained an interactive relationship with their fans, ‘The Echelon’. While making their previous album they held a digital summit on the internet to allow The Echelon to record vocals that would be used on the album ‘This Is War’. It was from this album that the band would enter the Guinness book of World Records for the most consecutive shows from one album. They had been constantly touring for two years and this would culminate in a show, MARS300 in NYC on Dec 7th 2011. With this front man Jared Leto was faced with a dilemma. In an ideal world there would be a venue big enough to hold every fan; somewhere accessible to all. As this was impossible, Leto began to look into other options. The band had previously used the Ustream channel to have online chats with The Echelon and sometimes to give us an insight to their lives on tour.
While the premise of Ustream itself is a good idea, Leto was looking for something of a far higher quality, something that would allow any fan in the world to watch the show in the highest quality available, advert and sponsor free. While Leto worked on the development of VyRT, he was still in the process of completing the final European leg of this record breaking tour. 30STM hold meet and greets with their fans through the One and Only Golden Ticket experience. Through these meetings European fans were asked if they would be interested in purchasing virtual tickets to watch a gig live in the comfort of their own homes. There were many questions asked in relation to price and quality, all which were taken into consideration before the launch of VyRT.
The band’s web site began issuing teasers such as ‘Coming Soon’ or ‘are you ready to VyRT?’. This set the social media networks on fire with The Echelon around the world exchanging theories of what VyRT might be. Those fortunate enough to be at the final European shows had been sworn to secrecy by the band. So when it was finally announced there was much discussion about what exactly VyRT was and how it would work.
VyRT’s official page states:
What is VyRT?
For the 1st time ever, VyRT gives ARTISTS the opportunity to sell digital tickets to live events that are broadcast worldwide in an online social theatre.This isn’t your grandmother’s live stream. VyRT is a high quality, high production value event that’s centred around the idea of creativity and community. VyRT gives artists the ability to share their work without having to rely on the current prevailing sponsor based model. By avoiding that system, VyRT helps to create meaningful content that customers truly value. It is a one of a kind digital experience.
The show had sold out in record time and VyRT became a chance for fans to experience what would be an important milestone in the band’s career. The virtual ticket was released at a price of $14.99 (£9.60). For this price the purchaser would be able to view the actual show as well as exclusive live backstage footage of the guys before and after the show.
As the date grew closer, frenzy began amongst The Echelon. There were VyRT parties planned around the world and in many different time zones. The show was broadcast on Dec 7th and many were amazed by the quality. There were some minor technical issues which were to be expected for the first broadcast.
The idea of what VyRT can bring to both artists and their fans is phenomenal; bands could play to every single one of their fans who had available internet. They can play any range of shows from intimate acoustic to stadiums. VyRT can also be used to allow fans to download previously unavailable content. They also had a second live VyRT in April of this year, but was hit with major technical difficulties later found to be caused by solar flares. What was billed to be a 3 hour live stream turned in to over 6 hours of life with MARS. VyRT is the perfect stage to preview new songs to your audience and keep in touch with your fan base. I believe we will see many bands switch from the current version of live stream to this HD version when it becomes available. 30STM’s broadcast recently won the OMusic award for the best online concert experience, showing that format is already being acknowledged in the business.
For more information on VyRT check out www.VyRT.net
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