American rock band X Ambassadors partnered up with Microsoft to reimagine music videos by creating a spatialized audio experience through their app “X Ambassadors Boom.”
The idea was inspired by the band’s talented blind keyboardist Casey Harris who can only enjoy music videos as audio tracks so the goal became to create an entirely different and new inclusive experience.
According to an interview with band members Casey and Sam Harris, Casey explains the concept as augmented reality, but for audio.
Listeners will find themselves enjoying a music video without the visual part through the two featured video choices on the app. The choices are between an urban ramble in streets outside Bushwick, Brooklyn or in the roads and woods around Ithaca, New York. Both locations hold personal sentiment to the band. The first location is outside the band’s old recording studio and the second location is near the location of band members’ Sam and Casey’s childhood home.
According to Microsoft, the videos were done through collected field recordings from each location with a “visceral sonic environment” in mind. Then the sounds are rendered through a spatializing process with Windows Sonic 3D audio technology to place listeners through the locations with the artist. Their first audio music video was done with their single “Boom.”
While this music video was the starting point for the app, the band also incorporated the app as a part of a VIP experience on their Orion Tour. This could be the future of inclusive accessibility for music fans alike.