How VR is revolutionising K-pop experiences and bringing fans closer to their favourite idols

2024/06/27 Innoverview Read

The future of K-pop concerts is here and it’s mind-blowing! Virtual reality (VR) is revolutionising the way we experience our favourite idols, bringing them closer than ever before. Gone are the days of squinting at tiny figures on a distant stage or jostling for a spot in the mosh pit. With VR, you can be front and centre at the greatest K-pop gigs without leaving your plush sofa.

Imagine slipping on a sleek VR headset and suddenly being transported to a sold-out stadium in Seoul surrounded by thousands of screaming fans. The energy is electric, the music is thumping, and your bias is right there within an arm’s reach. Close enough to touch (if only!). It’s a dream come true for any K-pop stan and it’s quickly becoming a reality–albeit a virtual one.

But it’s happening and here are five examples of how VR is transforming the K-pop experience.

BTS’ ‘Bang Bang Con: The Live’ virtual extravaganza

The K-pop supergroup set the bar sky-high with their 2020 virtual concert, Bang Bang Con: The Live, a pay-per-view streaming concert by BTS, which streamed on June 14, 2020. While not fully VR, it gave ARMYs a tantalising glimpse of what's possible.

Viewers could choose from multiple camera angles, getting up close and personal with each member. At 756,000 viewers, Bang Bang Con: The Live achieved a new Guinness World Records title for most viewers for a music concert live stream. So imagine that, but in full VR. Bopping along right next to Jungkook (Jeon Jung-kook) or grooving with J-Hope (Jung Ho-seok)? ARMYs would go bonkers!

SM Entertainment's ‘Beyond LIVE’ concert series

Trust the tech-savvy folks at SM Entertainment, in partnership with Naver (a South Korean internet company that operates the most popular search engine in South Korea), to push the envelope. Their Beyond LIVE concerts have featured acts like SuperM and NCT, incorporating augmented reality (AR) elements that blend seamlessly with live performances.

Now, they’re exploring full VR experiences that would allow fans to virtually “attend” concerts from anywhere in the world. Fancy watching Exo perform in your living room? Soon, you’ll be able to!

Blackpink’s VR meet-and-greet experience

YG Entertainment is dipping its toes into the VR pool with plans for a Blackpink virtual meet-and-greet. Blinks will be able to interact with realistic avatars of Jisoo (Kim Ji-soo)Jennie (Jennie Kim)Rosé (Roseanne Park Chae-young), and Lisa (Lalisa Manobal) in a virtual space. It’s not quite the same as meeting them in person, but it’s a whole lot closer than most Blinks will ever get. Plus, you won’t have to worry about what to wear or if you’ve got lipstick on your teeth.

This wouldn’t be Blackpink’s first VR rodeo. To promote Meta’s Meta Quest VR headsets, the group held a Blackpink: A VR Encore concert that allowed Blinks to experience the Born Pink World Tour special finale show that was held in Seoul’s Gocheok Sky Dome. The VR encore concert debuted in the Music Valley in Meta Horizon Worlds on December 26, 2023, accessible only to users who have the Meta Quest VR headsets.

Twice’s ‘Time to Twice’ VR series

JYP Entertainment is taking Twice’s popular Time to Twice web series to the next level with VR episodes. Fans will be able to join the girls on their zany adventures, from escape rooms to cooking challenges.

It’s like being part of your very own K-pop variety show! Just be careful not to knock over any lamps while you’re virtually dodging flying ingredients in Momo's (Momo Hirai) kitchen.

Psy's ‘Gangnam Style’ VR dance party

Who could forget the global phenomenon that was Gangnam Style? We bet most people can even do the quirky choreography with their eyes closed. Now, imagine experiencing all of that in VR.

Don’t miss: Gangnam Style: A different take on Korean gastronomy

Psy is planning a virtual dance party where fans can learn the iconic horse dance moves in a 360-degree environment. It’s the perfect way to relive the 2012 magic and get your cardio in at the same time. Win-win!

The above examples are just the tip of the iceberg. As VR technology continues to advance at breakneck speed, the possibilities for K-pop concerts are endless. We could see virtual fan signs where you can “meet” your bias one-on-one, or interactive concerts where fans can influence the setlist in real time. How about a choose-your-own-adventure style concert where you decide which member to follow backstage? The mind boggles.

As we hurtle towards this brave new world of virtual K-pop concerts, one thing is clear: the future is bright, bold, and daebak!

(Copyright:Tatler BTS to Blackpink: How VR is revolutionising K-pop experiences and bringing fans closer to their favourite idols | Tatler Asia)