Digital Acceleration and Future of Entertainment and Music

In the latest edition of our Digital Products for Growth Newsletter, we delve into how VR and AI continue to transform the music and entertainment industry at a rapid pace. 

4 mins

Key Takeaways

  • Virtual Reality (VR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are revolutionising the music and entertainment industry by offering immersive experiences and new platforms for storytelling and education.
  • VR continues to offer new ways to experience music and live events, improve accessibility and cost efficiency. But despite these technological advancements, the human element—connection, storytelling, and live interaction—remains irreplaceable. The challenge for brands is finding the right balance between the real world and the virtual one.
  • The entertainment industry is grappling with challenges around audience data usage, privacy concerns, and environmental impacts, necessitating a balance between technological advancement and sustainable practices.

How do you recreate, for the audience especially, that palpable tension that you get in a live environment? The experience of everyone on the edge of their seat and then that moment when you feel the whole auditorium relax. Those moments in a concert are like magic. And how do you recreate that in a streamed environment?

Giles Cambray

Our recent roundtable discussion shed light on several innovative developments and the challenges that come with them.

VR and AI: Revolutionising the Cultural Experience

We began the discussion talking about Repertorium, a groundbreaking project, funded by the European Commission as part of the Horizon Europe Scheme,  of which  Spork has the privilege of being a part  via its streaming service,  Repertorium will contribute to the rapidly evolving music sector as it aims to redefine how cultural institutions connect with their audiences.

It does this by integrating a custom streaming platform equipped with AI-based sound manipulation—features such as head tracking, sound field reconstruction and sound source separation—that will redefine musical experience, education, and practice. 

It'll be possible to mute the tuba part from the recording and navigate the hall anywhere you want. You can actually go and sit in the tuba position and play the concert. You’re not just playing on top of a stereo recording, but you actually take the place of that instrument and you hear the cello over there and the violin to your right.

John Anderson , Founder, Odradek Records

The potential benefits for students and professionals alike are vast and that potential was seen as very positive and exciting.

There used to be something called music minus one, which were these sort of old lps that you could play along to, and it would have everything but your part. But they were quite basic, and it's quite an old fashioned system. But to try and reinvent that in a virtual world, in an immersive world, I think, is an absolutely fascinating idea, and it's absolutely time for it.

Tim Henty, Conductor

But the conversation also addressed the challenges of replicating the human connection and emotional depth of live performances through AI and VR—a theme that provoked thoughtful discussion among our participants and one that is also a highly debated issue within the industry.

The blend of technology and tradition continues to shape a new future for music and entertainment. The right blend is needed to ensure that while venturing into digital realms, the core of storytelling and genuine connection remains key.

Storytelling and emotion is really at the heart of it. I do think this type of technology is amazing as long as we use it the right way. There's threats about getting rid of swathes of jobs but if we use it as a tool to get to what we were doing anyway, to enable us to do more creative and more exciting things, it's fantastic.

Nick Canner, Creative Director, Edge Picture

The VR Concert Wave

VR brings a world of experiences, music and live events direct to audiences in the comfort of their homes; everything from house hunting via virtual tours of possible homes to sporting events to massive virtual concerts on platforms like Fortnite. 

While the panel agreed that VR is expanding horizons in many directions by providing accessibility and convenience, our discussion also focused on elements where VR comes up short.  Accessibility and convenience are great, for example, but VR struggles to fully replicate the sensory and social nuances of live events.

But it's never going to completely take away the live real experience, whether that is going to watch a football match or cricket match, because you don't get the smells and all the other sounds and everything. And then, like you say, that sort of social. The frisson, excitement just before the curtain.

Edward Pascal, Associate Director, Askonus Holt

Then there is the price. The high costs and technological hurdles of devices such as the Apple Vision Pro present challenges to widespread adoption.

The potential for VR to extend audience reach and enhance engagement while cutting costs and carbon footprints cannot be ignored but the balance between virtual convenience and the irreplaceable atmosphere of live events will remain a topic of central concern.

The Double-Edged Sword of Audience Data

Audience data plays a vital role in shaping the entertainment industry – shaping content creation, marketing decisions and strategies, tailoring tour logistics—so it’s no surprise that our panel ended up talking about data. And not just about how much more data they have access to these days but also about the significant challenges the evolution of that data poses, ranging from tracking usage for royalties and payments to addressing privacy concerns.

The digital age has brought us so many sophisticated tools for tracking engagement, yet it also presents dilemmas in content billing and consumer privacy. As the industry leans more into digital platforms, finding ways to responsibly leverage this data for growth while respecting consumer privacy is becoming paramount.

Navigating the Environmental Footprint

Apparently, five hours of streaming - this is audio streaming - is the equivalent of the ecological impact of all the plastics they use producing a CD and jewel case.

John Anderson , Founder, Odradek Records

Our roundtable concluded by exploring the environmental footprint of the entertainment industry. The environmental impact of technology in entertainment must be acknowledged. From the rising energy demands of more complex digital design, the explosion of content being created and the exponential growth of streaming to the carbon footprint of traditional production and logistics, the industry stands at a crossroads.

It was a topic Spork founder Giles Cambray was keen to explore as he believes that when making technology choices, it is important to consider the carbon footprint of technology itself, not just its potential to reduce the environmental impact of projects.

However, it’s not just a drain game. Technology also offers solutions, such as audio compression and data transfer optimisation, to mitigate its own carbon footprint as well as some of the footprint created by entertainment endeavours more broadly. The path forward involves a conscientious use of technology, striving for a balance between innovation and responsible environmental practice.


In a fascinating couple of hours, the roundtable had journeyed through the vast opportunities and challenges presented by VR, AR, and AI in the music and entertainment industry.  

It is an intersection bursting with opportunities as well as one that throws up challenges. As we navigate the evolving entertainment landscape, we are finding more and more ways that technology can enhance and extend the reach of cultural experiences. But even as technology grows more sophisticated, it never alters the fact that the core of what makes music and live experience meaningful remains very human.

AR/VR has changed the way in which we experience the world around us and it's vital that we understand how to connect with and captivate our audiences as these spaces evolve. Thanks to Giles and the team at Spork for putting together a forum to share insights, discuss new projects and technologies and consider what the future might look like. It was a great discussion to be part of and one that is so relevant to us all.

Stephanie Gormley, Music Industry Marketing Leader

At Spork, we’re excited to be part of this journey, exploring how technology can serve not just as a tool for innovation, but as a bridge connecting people, cultures, and stories.

If you’ve enjoyed this newsletter, make sure to join our mailing list so you don’t miss future editions along with regular updates and insights.

Related Insight

Sign up to our newsletter

We'll never share your email with anyone else. By clicking 'subscribe' you agree to Spork Digital Ltd storing and using the information above as set out in their Privacy Policy.