The Impact of Virtual Reality on the Music Business
showcased in a VR Google Cardboard app
Introduction
What is this project about?
Virtual Reality (VR) is in the early stages, and new developments are happening every day. I have asked myself what impact Virtual Reality already has on the music industry. So, I was doing some research and created a simple VR experience with „information booths“. These booths showcase my findings, they include both visual and audio feedback for users. The users can travel back and forth between display areas inside the VR space.

My mobile VR app targets as audience users who are interested in VR and music, but who have not yet had too much experience with a Google Cardboard app.
My main focuses were: show VR basics to new users, guide them through the very first steps when trying a Google Cardboard app for the first time, and keep them interested in VR.

Considerations
For performance reasons, I wanted to use just low-poly 3D models as well as 3D models from my archive. In order to keep the app light-weight, I decided for youtube streaming and using the youtube API instead of packaging heavy video files into the app itself.
Another goal was a clear and easy to use UI in order to communicate further steps and other information.

Statement of Purpose
The Impact of Virtual Reality on the Music Business
The app for Google Cardboard is a VR experience which informs the user about the impact of VR on the music business.

Get the Google Cardboard app "VR Music Booth" at the Google Play store:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.avkterwey.vrmusic
DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT

PHASE 1

Prototyping
Persona, characteristics of our typical user
Dominique is a music lover, aged 10-60, interested in music, fine arts, and new state-of-the-art technologies, is familiar to mobile devices, but not yet very familiar to VR. Dominique is curious and eager to learn new things. Dominique likes playing the  piano as well as games on mobile devices, from time to time.

Concept in Powerpoint
While investigating the topic „The Impact of Virtual Reality on the Music Business“, I was collecting information, use cases, links to embeddable youtube content in a Powerpoint document.
Design development details

3D models
I was looking for a futuristic-looking hall, having in mind the visionary style of Zaha Hadid.
Player movement
In order to avoid simulator sickness and other uncomfortable feelings, I attached importance to smooth, linear movements in continuous speed.
Visuals
In order to avoid sticky app performance, I worked on finding the right balance between low-res textures and good visual quality, low-poly 3D models.
Lighting
I spent some time on the lighting setup to achieve a kind of psychedelic museum atmosphere.
Audio
At each booth an audio file is played. Like listening to an audio guide, the user receives information about a special topic related to „Impact of VR on the music business“.
In order to polish up the overall atmosphere, background sounds are played.
User test no 1
of the very first prototype
At this point, the scene showed a white futuristic medium large hall.
The user could „walk“ on button click from the start entry point to some dummy information booths showing the same dummy video and audio content on button interaction.

User 1 & User 2
1. How can you describe the mood of the environment you are in?
It looks bright. Somehow cold and uncomfortable.

2. Could you describe how you feel yourself in the scene?
User 1: I think I feel as tall as I am in reality, neither too tall nor too small.
User 2: I feel a bit taller as I am in reality. But, if it is in a museum hall, this might be right.

3. Do you see everything clearly?
The billboards are well readable, the buttons and interactive waypoints are well visible. 

4. Could you describe the overall design of the scene?
The scene looks cold and synthetic.
The hall looks empty.

5. Do you have any other comments?
I am sometimes unsure if I am clicking on the right objects.
The sound volume is far too low.
DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT

PHASE 2

My sister recorded the -.WAV audio files with a Zoom H5 handheld audio recorder.

I chose a different texture for the hall showing now wall paintings inspired by the artists Niki de Saint Phalle and Friedensreich Hundertwasser. As textures, I used fine art paintings by Bernd Terwey.
I added a few 3D models – music instruments as exhibits and animated them by scripting.

Implementation of the game logic, of the video streaming from youtube with the youtube API, of a network checker (which pings the Google DNS server) so that the user would get a warning message if he is not yet connected.

I also added further UI elements, sound and visual effects for better interactivity, and did some bug fixing.


User test no 2
User 1-3, feedback:
The scenario looks very interesting and makes me curious.
Wow, I am in a designer museum hall.
As a new user I understand immediately what to do next. Being teleported is fun.
DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT

PHASE 3

Final design adjustments: I polished up the design (color, layout) of the information booths.
I also added a slider so that the user can set a specific volume and feels comfortable.
CONCLUSION

While working on this project, I kept an eye on making the user experience as comfortable as possible. I took also efforts on designing an interesting, good-looking appearance with low-poly assets.
Finally, the app has become an interesting, intuitive, and nice mobile VR experience showcasing „The Impact of Virtual Reality on the Music Business“ altogether.



NEXT STEPS

Adding localizations.
Integration of a web view, so that relevant web pages can be displayed.


Get the Google Cardboard app
"VR Music Booth" at the Google Play store:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.avkterwey.vrmusic
Credits:
Art painting and wall painting texture by Bernd Terwey.
3D low-poly models and optimization by Henning Kleist.

Embedded youtube content:
Martin Garrix: https://youtu.be/z_TpYbhzixM
The Lion King:  https://youtu.be/7T57kzGQGto
VRtify: https://youtu.be/47yT8m5qW5Y?t=7s
TheWaveVR: https://youtu.be/kSj36d-AFCs
Teach-U:VR: https://seangarrettkelly.com
Leap Motion: https://www.leapmotion.com/about
Leap Motion LyraVR: https://youtu.be/wUGMUWDJjn0
AxonVR: https://axonvr.com
HaptX: https://haptx.com
TheMusicRoomVR: https://youtu.be/9gB5VJyArpQ
http://musicroomvr.com