When you’re a relatively niche show deep into your fourth season, sometimes you need a gimmick to keep people invested. For Nashville, ABC’s country music drama starring Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere as frenemy country singers, what better way to keep itself in the zeitgeist than by turning its attention to virtual reality? No, unfortunately we won’t be able to virtually duet with Rayna James (Britton) or Juliette Barnes (Panettiere) at the Grand Ole Opry or anything that rousing. Rather, the show is using the considerable musical talents of its cast to host a concert they plan to film and broadcast in virtual reality.
With an assorted line-up of Nashville-based acts and stars from the show, including Jonathan Jackson, Charles Esten and the sisterly duo Lennon & Maisy Stella, Nashville undoubtedly brought something quite new to the country music scene – a concert filmed at Nashville’s legendary Bluebird Café “in the round,” using a 360-degree camera hanging from the ceiling in the center of a circular stage to record all of the country crooning in virtual reality. This was the first time the production team was back at the Bluebird Café since filming its pilot episode in 2012, and what better way to come back with a bang than doing so with VR?
Fans of the show, country music or VR experiences in general should be on the lookout for Nashville On the Record: VR from the Bluebird, which will debut online this coming May. All of the concert’s performances will be viewable on consumer VR headsets or in 360-degree video on web and mobile browsers. “This is brand-new, extra-high technology at a very traditional, down-home place that we’ve all grown to love so much,” said Charles Esten who plays Deacon Claybourne, a veteran country musician and songwriter who just recently married Britton’s character on the series in lavish, countrified fashion. Thanks to VR, Nashville and Nashville are about to embark into the future.