Viacom Music + VR Fellowship

How can we create an immersive, original Virtual Reality experience for the HTC Vive centered around a piece of music?

Viacom’s emerging entertainment technology group, Viacom NEXT, in partnership with NYC Media Lab, launched the 2017 Viacom Music + VR Fellowship to encourage the development of premier music-based virtual reality content for audiences. Recruited from universities in the NYC Media Lab consortium, 6 graduate and undergraduate student fellows worked to produce individual VR experiences centered on a piece of music from Viacom’s library. 

Fellows were mentored by Viacom executives and industry innovators, and had access to Viacom’s advanced media and technology services, including VR-ready computer systems, the HTC Vive headset and other head-mounted displays. Program participants were chosen based on their diverse backgrounds, talent and expertise in art, technology and design.

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The Music + VR experiences included:

Kuru Kuru Sushi VR
Mikei Huang
The New School
Selected Song Title: Beach | Artist: Ary Warnaar

A colorful world that is constantly reactive to the music, with many animated dancing props and particle explosions. Players can interact with physics-simulated objects in the space to produce sound effects that goes along with the music. The direct interaction with music facilitates a deeper experience for players. 

Juan Jose Egúsquiza
NYU, Interactive Telecommunications Program

Selected Song Title: Red Sky Morning | Artist: John Richard O’Hallaron, David John Vanacore
The idea was to use light as the protagonist; to design a scene where light alongside the track could work together. By adding different sound elements, it evolves from a minimal start to an energetic end while always maintaining the intensity.

Are Aligned
Danny Dang
The New School

Selected Song Title: Afternoon Rush Hour | Artist: Stuart Hall
Are Aligned is a virtual reality party game where players work together to communicate instructions and perform a song together. In Are Aligned, 1 player plays inside the headset and 2-4 players on the outside coordinate with trackers. By having players work together to piece together the song, they can fully appreciate the individual stems and layers.

Corey Bertelsen & Chao Jin
NYU Game Center

Selected Song Title: Dreaming Awake | Artist: Elias Arts Music Library
Echo is an intuitive, creative, VR music remixing experience, where the user makes music by drawing flowing, ribbon-like objects. It allows people to create and inhabit a musical space, in a way that’s only possible in VR.

Or Fleisher
NYU, Interactive Telecommunications Program

Selected Song Title: Feel me | Artist: Jamie Alan Christopherson
One man’s journey through time in a surreal world that blurs the lines between 2D and 3D. The music lays out the episodic nature of the experience as the character moves between scenes. The experience uses the audio throughout to alter, affect and drive the animations and effects, building together the ambience and emotion of this journey.