Will Hologram Performances Become Common?

Tupac’s alive! Dre & Snoop Dog’s incredibly effective Coachella publicity stunt worked big-time. People can’t seem to shut the hell up about it.

I’ll admit, it was kind of cool. It was also cheesy, shameless and tasteless, but kind of cool.

The big question that more than a few people have asked me is, “Will we see this become a new trend in ‘live’ music?” Will people actually pay money to sit in a theater and watch a projection of a dead performer?

My guess is to a certain extent, yes.

Lots of people are already willing to pay a great deal of money to watch Britney Spears lip-sink and dance without her pants on. This is just one more step in the same direction.

Nostalgia can be a powerful force, and I wouldn’t be shocked if there were a good number of people who would want to see Tupac, Elvis or Michael Jackson on a stage again… Even if it’s soulless.

Someone’s Going to Try

This is inevitable. It’s what big companies do.

Here’s how the meeting will go:

Director of BS: “This innovative Tupac Hologram idea worked really well for Dre. It had millions of views in no time. Let’s copy it…”

Vice President of BS: “We’re not copying Dre. We’re benchmarking against him. Our’s is going to be super innovative too. After all our brand is hip and with it.”

Director of BS: “Great, I’ll ring up someone to throw money at to make this thing work.”

Vice President of BS: “It’s going to be great! Finally my kids will appreciate why I’m never home to tuck them in.”

What our intrepid business leaders won’t realize is that there will be dozens of these conversations happening, and this is going to get real old, real fast.

Also, “cool” is a diminishing asset. By that I mean, when a person looks at something and says, “Wow, that’s really cool,” it’s all downhill from there. The second time that person looks at the same thing, she’ll say, “Yeah, that thing’s still pretty cool.” The third time she looks at it, she’ll be bored. Cool never lasts.

So, what are we left with?

This just might work for a dead artist who is incredibly popular. I’m betting that one of these hologram shows becomes a fixture in Las Vegas, or Atlantic City. “Come to the Trump Blah Blah Blah Hotel Casino & Resort to see Michael Jackson.” You know it’s going to be a Trump establishment.

However there won’t be many successes; especially longterm.

This just won’t work for Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Pantera, or The Doors. Holograms don’t have soul. They can’t improvise, and they sure as hell can’t replicate the kind of raw emotional power that comes from being there at that fleeting beautiful moment, when a musician does something that changes you in a way you never thought possible. That moment won’t happen at the next show. They will have their own moment… Or maybe they won’t.

There’s something magical about seeing a passionate performance. Watching and hearing a musician pour their heart out through their instrument. Hologram Tupac can’t do that.

But I have no doubt that we’ll be seeing Hologram Dick Clark’s Rocking New Year’s Eve sometime in the near future. Hologram Dick will have an almost life-like conversation with that Seacrest robot.

And for the record, holograms of famous people is ridiculously Futurama-esque.


4 thoughts on “Will Hologram Performances Become Common?

  1. I love the fact that you brought up Futurama – although the Coachella stunt was admittedly quite cool, it seems to have brought so many idiots out of the woodwork – I shall now start mentally-insulting anyone else who starts a discussion about “whether it could have been real or not”, Bender-style.

    I’m not a Tupac fan at all, but I remember when Gorillaz tried the 3D hologram effect. I wish I could have seen that live, but even on screen it looked amazing. Do you know if the same technique was used this year?

  2. I would have been pretty shocked if they had produced an actual hologram on stage! That’s pretty smart – do you know, if you moved from one side of the stage to the other, would the illusion have been shattered? Sorry if this is an idiotic question; I know barely anything about this. Very interesting though!

    1. I don’t know what the exact limitations are, but it was projected like a movie, or a PowerPoint presentation. So I have no doubt that they were working with a limited amount of space.

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