Thanks to innovative SpatialWeb technology, iHeartMedia and MediaLink hosted a virtual cocktail party and conference for CES 2021. In place of a typical Zoom call, the event took the virtual experience to a whole new level. Entering a virtual multi-room venue, attendees equipped with a laptop, mic and camera could hob-knob in the Dentsu Lounge, then scoot over to the Horizon Lounge or another space hosted by various agencies, iHeart and MediaLink. The early evening Tuesday affair allowed industry people to catch up and mingle against the audio backdrop of a curated iHeartRadio music mix.
Icons at the bottom of the screen displayed the names of attendees so you could see who was in the house. Click on their name and you’re standing next to them – and within earshot to strike up a conversation. Other icons made it easy to traipse around to different rooms.
Part cocktail party, part conference, the event was emceed by Ryan Seacrest who talked about the pandemic’s impact on the music community and how artists pivoted quickly to technology to stay connected with fans. That began with artists posting live videos on their socials and slowly evolved to more elaborate affairs like the iHeartRadio Living Room Concert For America on Fox.
“Tonight we’ll see how an industry with its back against the wall, turned to technology to keep connected with their fans,” Seacrest said before interviewing Tom Poleman, iHeartMedia Chief Programming Officer, and John Sykes, iHeartMedia President of Entertainment Enterprises about how they pulled together the Living Room Concert within the span of seven days. “When you approached the artists, it took a second for them to put their heads around it,” Poleman said. “They had to look around their apartment and see what they had.”
Seacrest next interviewed Dua Lipa, from London, after the chart-topper earned six Grammy nominations last week. She released her second album, “Future Nostalgia,” during the pandemic and talked about how the experience taught her the importance of patience and “bringing people together when we’re all so far apart…. I’d be lying to say it isn't scary to put out a record now,” the 25-year-old singer acknowledged, adding that technology like Insta Live sessions brought her closer to her listeners.
The night capped off with a stunning performance by Billie Eilish of two songs from her next album. “Creative technology has helped push music to new places,” Eilish said.