Holograms: The future of concerts

Gillian Hogan

Holograms have always been associated with the future. Well, it seems we are officially there because they exist and are no longer a distant idea. They have been used for the best part of a decade, since 2012, to resurrect performers. At first, hologram technology started being used in one off special performances such as Tupac Shakur at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival or Michael Jackson at the Billboard Music Awards in 2014. These one off shows have now turned into full length tours, for example Roy Orbison’s ‘In Dreams’ tour, with fans being able to see performers they couldn’t when they were alive. However, despite this obvious positive, hologram concerts also bring some negatives.

When people pay to see a live show, a major part of the appeal is that they get to see the artist in real life. There’s no editing and what you see is what you get. Every show is different and customised for each audience. Holograms take away this vital aspect of a live show because everything is put together in advance, not to mention audience interaction is impossible.

‘I don’t really see the point. You go to the concert to see people perform live. You’d be annoyed if an act were lip syncing the whole show. If they’re dead leave them and their image alone,’ says Eoin O’ Connor, aged 23.

Lots of living artists also use holograms as a way to enhance a show. The Gorillaz present themselves as animated characters in their music videos and hologram technology allows them to expand this artistic choice. However the songs are not prerecorded and are all still live. These instances make sense but the technology could give other artists the opportunity to cheat the system. What’s stopping a singer from making a bit of extra money on tour whilst also staying at home to record an album?

‘I think the only time a hologram concert is cool is if it adds to the show visually rather than taking advantage of the image of a dead person’, states Megan McInerney, aged 25.

Due to the fact that the majority of the artists who tour through hologram are dead and since the technology wasn’t present when they were alive, it raises a moral issue of whether the artist would have been okay with their persona being used in this way. Familial permission is important for this reason because based on the artist’s personality they would have a better idea of what their outlook would be. ‘BASE Hologram’ are currently working on an upcoming hologram tour for Amy Winehouse and has the full support of Amy’s father.

‘‘I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s right to do a holographic concert of a dead artist but it makes more sense than if someone who is alive and could actually tour did. It’d be a big moral issue, you’d need familial permission,’ says Nicola Smith, aged 20.

Even with family approval, there is a thin line between whether hologram concerts are immoral and exploit deceased artists. Joe Jackson, father of Michael Jackson, was notorious for being physically and emotionally abusive towards Michael, for whom he earned a profit off. This goes to show that even if family approves, it doesn’t mean it is is the artist’s best interests.

It is easy for audiences to get excited about being in the presence of deceased legends but holograms, although giving the illusion, still don’t offer this. If the artist has been edited to the finest pixel, people are not really seeing the performer they missed but a distilled version of them.


Image Credit : TheUndefeated.com


Gillian Hogan