Remember music festivals? When we could see our favorite artists perform live, meet new people in the crowd, dabble in some recreational substances, snap pictures in front of art activations, go home with free swag and be sore the next day from dancing?
As we come upon a full year since music festivals were canceled across the country and world, it’s easy to throw on a pair of rose-colored glasses and recall the good times. But, let’s be honest with ourselves—as much as festivals are fun, we can’t forget paying for overpriced drinks and food, waiting in long lines to use smelly port-a-potties, rubbing up against sweaty strangers in the crowd, and trying to see around that super tall person who decided to stand right in front of your stage view.
While the live music industry has made plenty of pivots since March 2020 to things like drive-in concerts and live DJ sets on platforms like Twitch to TikTok, perhaps the most innovative solution we’ve seen is Hydeout: The Prelude. The immersive digital music entertainment platform gives us an interactive experience from home (where the drinks are cheap and the bathroom line is short). And as of Monday, Jan. 25, the virtual portal has officially launched.
The Sims-meets-virtual-concert experience lets users attend a five-month-long music festival by watching A-list artist performances that were filmed in secret locations or by joining virtual crowds as the avatar of their choice for shows on 3D stages.
On the portal, music lovers can catch DJ Snake in a documentary-style episode that reveals how the international performer got started in the industry before he starts his set, or they can hit up a virtual fantasy land, inspired by the 2009 movie Avatar, where Rita Ora performs songs like “Black Widow.”
“We wanted to create an amazing arena where there are floating rocks amidst a waterfall, so it’s very inspiring and is a very positive performance experience,” says Mark Lim, lead show producer.
The beautifully designed interface is browser-based and doesn’t require an app download, making the experience uncomplicated. Executive Producer Chan Wee Teck knew these sorts of user-friendly features would be necessary to set The Prelude apart from other music platforms. Another unique feature he prides the portal on is how users can pick the dance moves they want their custom avatars to use while hanging out in 3D crowds.
Wee Teck says it was important for The Prelude to “enable consumers to actually really interact and engage, and also to network in the same way that you would at a music festival.” So, in addition to 40 musical performance episodes, season pass holders gain access to live chat rooms where they can talk to other music enthusiasts from around the world who are on the platform.
Equally immersive and interactive with other users is the 3D Hyde Games that include Hyde Hoops, a street-style virtual basketball game; Hyde Chef, a cyberpunk sushi bar where players serve Singapore-style dishes; and Hyde Attack, a game of dodgeball played with mushrooms. Winners earn HydeCoins that they can use in the marketplace to unlock new avatar swag or episode passes.
“In the spirit of inclusivity, we wanted to make sure that as many people can participate as possible,” says Wee Teck, therefore The Prelude offers two pricing options where users can select between a pay-as-you-go model or a season pass, which is just $49.90 for full access—unlike an in-person music festival that could cost more than $1,000 once tickets, hotels, food, and drinks are factored in.
When asked if there will be a sequel to The Prelude when physical festivals are back, Wee Teck says, “We truly believe in face-to-face connection. It is even more so important after COVID-19 subsides. So for us, I think we are definitely going to have this platform continue in some format. Whether it’s going to be a hybrid between online as well as physical and virtual, that is to be determined honestly, but I think, yes, most likely we will keep this going.”
To preview music from the artists on Hydeout’s upcoming lineup, check out this week’s specially curated edition of “On Repeat” on Spotify, and be sure to check out The Prelude for a totally immersive festival experience that’s now live.
See the official website for more information: https://www.hydeoutworld.com/
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