Summer is now in full swing, which means vacations have been planned, “new” jobs are getting old, and sunburns are slowly turning to tans. With the heat of summer also comes countless music festivals and concert tours, encouraging groups of sweaty, dehydrated fans to stand outside swaying along to the tunes of their favorite bands. There’s something tantalizing about live music that makes people justify shelling out hard earned cash to see performers in flesh and blood.
But is the art of live music a dying one? Recently, companies and organizations have been capitalizing on new technology and using it to resurrect deceased musicians.
The most well known case of this was, of course, at Coachella this past April, when the late rapper Tupac appeared in the form of a hologram to hundreds of screaming fans. Snoop Dog soon joined him, and the two great rappers-one living and one deceased-performed together.
While Tupac fans everywhere rejoiced over this, there are many who are skeptical about the use of technology like this. Is this the direction live music is heading?
Another star has been recently digitalized for a live performance, although this celebrity is still alive and well. Country singer Brad Paisley is currently touring, and one of his most popular songs is a duet with Carrie Underwood. As the music begins for the number, a light suddenly shines near the back of the stage, and a hologram of Underwood appears. In each city of the tour, fans scream and cheer, believing Underwood is actually on stage.
Kristin Lanxon, junior in SHS, saw Paisley on tour and had a similar reaction when she saw the hologram. “From my seats, it looked like she was really there.“
So if this technology is now being used for live and dead celebrities, where is the line? According to The Huffington Post, “This isn't actually anything new -- as we live and breathe, a holographic Japanese pop star is updating her Facebook page and racking up friends.”
This Japanese “celebrity” attracts thousands of fans who pay to see her in concert-even though she was created is completely controlled by computers.
The willingness for people to accept this new technology fad is a bit discerning. With improvements, it may soon be hard to tell if you are seeing your favorite band or a digital projection of them.
Allie Wroble, sophomore in LAS agrees; “I think that soon it will be so advanced that it will literally look exactly like the person with no question.”
Concert-goers aren’t the only ones who are skeptical of the trend. Many say that turning a deceased celebrity into a hologram is disrespectful or unethical.
Currently, a company possesses the technology to make a full scale, digitally created Marilyn Monroe. The creators, Digicon Media, describe themselves as “pioneers in the field of ‘virtual actors’ - or ‘synthespians.’”
While this may sound exciting, Monroe’s estate is suing the company, saying that they deserve a portion of prophets should this digital actress “perform.”
This suit could change the fate of the future of digitizing celebrities-dead or alive. Who owns the right to a human being?
Should the suit end in favor of the companies digitalizing celebrities, this could prove to be an extremely lucrative process. According to The Wall Street Cheat Sheet, Domain Media Group, the company responsible for bringing the musical styling’s of Tupac back to the world, saw a dramatic rise in stock shares after Coachella.
Whether or not you agree with this idea, holograms of musicians and actors seem to be the way of the future. Maybe one day we’ll all be signing Hey Jude at the Beatles reunion tour.