App creates live gigs anywhere and any time

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With the growth of digital downloads and streaming it has become harder and harder for music artists, especially new ones, to earn a living. More artists are also opting to release their own music online, without the help of a label. But how are these artists going to connect with a worldwide audience on a budget? An app called Firstage aims to use technology to remove the barriers that prevent bands from reaching new fans, while at the same time helping them to earn more money. Firstage, which is aimed specially at emerging artists, allows performers to be seen on augmented reality ‘stages’ anywhere in the world.

Firstage founders Neil Harrison and Keith Lawler were musicians and marketers who were working in Dubai when they came up with the idea to give artists a way to have ‘live’ gigs anywhere and any time. Artists sign up for free and are curated by fellow artists. Users download the Firstage app and use it to search for artists. For the most recent version of the app, available in November, once users find an artist they want to listen to, the app scans the room and the performer appears in augmented reality on their mobile device, playing a ‘live’ gig. Firstage will also shortly be launching the world’s first live streamed AR concerts.

Users have the option to ‘tip’ artists, which earns users fanpoints that unlock more content and incentives that can be set by the artists. This provides an opportunity for a more personal interaction between artists and fans, and allows artists to earn money, not just likes. Advertisers also have the option of sponsoring virtual stages, allowing brands to support music and get their message out to curated audiences. Firstage is currently available on Google Play and in the Apple store. With augmented reality already being used for applications as diverse as helping dental patients and firefighters. What other industries might benefit from an augmented reality approach?


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