April 19th -2012
Only a couple of days after re-visiting the subject of the future of music, a video from the iconic southern California music festival, Coachella, made headlines on this exact subject. With over 5 million Youtube views in a day the video went viral in all sectors of the music industry and reunited people’s passion for the deceased rapping icon 2Pac. Imagine Choachella’s surprise when the rapper returned from the dead and preformed two songs alongside old pals Snoop Dog and Dr. Dre.
Queue the 2Pac lives rumor machine.
If you haven’t seen the video for yourself I suggest you check it out here: Tupac at Choachella. Even if you’re not a die-hard 2Pac fan, the technology behind it is utterly impressive and has far reaching implications. Let’s establish from the beginning that this was not just an old video of Tupac combined with new technology to make it seem he was onstage preforming. No, this was an entirely organic creation from the creativity of Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog and Digital Domain Media Group (the guys that made Brad Pitt in Benjamin Button and Jeff Bridges in Tron look like older and younger versions of themselves). Further, as many assume, it was not a hologram. Instead, the visual effect was created by angling glass just right on stage and then reflecting the 2D Pac video off canvas below onto the glass. From the audience’s perspective, as the video shows, it looks like 2Pac himself is walking around rapping.
So what does this mean for the future of live performances? For starters, there has already been talk about conceptualizing and creating a full-fledge show around the technology and taking 2Pac out on tour. 2Pac’s mom even approved of the hologram herself. We have approached an era where it is now possible for dead iconic musicians to tour the country and bring in ticket sales. It’s a scenario I didn’t even see coming after my research. However, the next natural question is how far can it go? Do we revive the dead members of the Beetles and see them do another tour? Does Michael Jackson make an appearance at his last string of This is it shows he was polishing up before he died?
Right now it’s all speculation. I’m sure there would be people out there who would pay top dollar for these shows and others who would question the ethics of the whole situation. Then again, would these computer-generated memories be subjected to the vices of marketing? As a marketer myself, I hope their legacy wouldn’t compromised by these tactics and would be kept entirely in the live performance front. These superstar artists have a gathered followings beyond just their lifetime and this could be the only option for entire generations of fans to see them perform onstage. Do we not owe them a chance to experience what others already have? Or do we leave the past where it belongs and let life take its course?
What artists would you most like to see resurrected live on stage?