New App Leverages AR to Let Users Dance with Music Stars

The stage appearance of a Tupac Shakur hologram at the 2012 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival marked the beginning of the music industry’s fascination with the new tech. Now, augmented reality startup 1RIC convinced five artists to dance and pose, surrounded by 106 cameras. The resulting 3D images of these performers reside on Jadu, 1RIC’s app, which consumers can use to create their own videos of themselves dancing with the stars. Chief executive Asad Malik said Jadu is an effort to make 3D holograms more accessible.

Rolling Stone reports that, “Malik and the studio developed the app specifically with highly interactive short-form video platforms like TikTok and Instagram in mind.” “People are used to being in the content if they’re posting things … especially with the rise of TikTok,” he said. “There’s a whole new generation of people who are very confident in expressing themselves through another artist’s art.”

Malik noted that technology to make holograms can cost “upwards of $100,000 per day for access.” His hope is that “the app gets more popular from user-created videos gaining traction on social media … [and] hinted that Jadu would be announcing a premium tier of artists in the coming weeks.”

At USC’s Entertainment Technology Center, immersive media initiative lead Philip Lelyveld reported that, “the music industry is moving quick but cautiously with the new tech.”

“The technology is coming along rapidly, [and] now we have to come up with the language or evolving experience that people want,” he said. “If this is an extension of the artist communication, it can work beautifully. If it plays off their videos, concert tours, social media engagement, that could be really interesting. But people with a short attention span are going to tire of seeing the same thing more than a few times.”

To that point, Pussy Riot founder Nadya Tolokonnikova (one of the artists who posed for Jadu) said she sees “the technology as a more effective means letting their followers be involved in their activism and feel closer to the group.” “One of our rules is that anyone can be Pussy Riot,” she said. “And if anyone can download the app and have us near them just using their phones, it helps further that idea that anyone can be a part of Pussy Riot and can join the movement.”

Malik added that, “if fans are putting in the effort to be a part of this content, artists can be giving them more of a push to engage with their media as well.”

Poppy, Vic Mensa, Palaye Royale and Sir Chloe are the other artists to be found on Jadu. With each hologram a 15-second snippet, the user scans her “surroundings to place the hologram in [her] space,” then saves the resulting video to a device, to be shared across social media platforms, Forbes reports. At debut, “users will be able to explore five free performances — one from each artist — but the app will be continually updated with new artists.”

The holograms were produced at the volumetric capture studio Metastage. “There is something special about allowing artists to share this new sense of presence with young audiences that care so deeply about them,” concluded Malik.

Jadu is free for iOS in the Apple App Store.