Radio Edit: Artists live on holographically

In 1996, cyberpunk author William Gibson wrote Idoru, a novel that predicted holographic musicians would become popular and commonplace in the near future.

Well, that future is here.

article continues below

In 2006, virtual band Gorillaz, who are real musicians but perform as cartoons, performed live at the Grammys as holograms and sang a duet with Madonna. Celine Dion performed a duet with a holographic Elvis Presley the next year. In 2012, dead rapper Tupac Shakur performed “live” at the Coachella Festival.

Today, dead musicians can be seen as touring holograms, ranging from Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison, to Michael Jackson and opera singer Maria Callas, to heavy metal singer Ronny James Dio.

In Japan, an anime holographic singer named Hatsune Miku is a huge star and even “toured” North America with a live band in 2016.

We’ve also seen holographic technology used with real people. Canadian singer Feist used it to appear to perform simultaneous concerts at multiple venues over the world.

There’s something to be said about being able to see an artist perform that you’d never get a chance to see play live, mostly because they’ve passed away. What does this mean for an actual musician though? Will Elvis impersonators disappear if we can see Elvis play as a hologram? Do cover bands stop playing if the band lives on as a hologram?

The technology is great if a musician wants to get somewhere they normally couldn’t, due to other commitments, or being stuck someplace else due to weather or distance.

A German circus is using holograms to show animals like elephants and horses, to avoid actually bringing in animals to perform, to avoid animal cruelty and to drop costs involved with transporting huge animals.

Seeing live musicians play live is an experience that can’t be replicated. Even when seeing a musician as a hologram, you’re still only seeing a recording of them. Is it any different than watching it on a TV? A hologram has no physical or emotional presence, so live musicians can’t interact with them in meaningful ways.

Nothing will replace a live musician, though holograms could help get music out to more people in less expensive ways.

Steve Marlow is the program co-ordinator at CFBX, an independent radio station in Kamloops. Tune in at 92.5 FM on the dial or go online to

© Kamloops This Week


KTW Daily News Alerts

Question of the Week POLL

Amid the pandemic, what are your summer plans?

or  view results

Popular Kamloops This Week

Events Calendar

Help Us Help Kamloops. Support Local Media.

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Kamloops This Week is now soliciting donations from readers. This program is designed to support our local journalism in a time where our advertisers are unable to due to their own economic constraints. Kamloops This Week has always been a free product and will continue to be free. This is a means for those who can afford to support local media to help ensure those who can’t afford to can get access to trusted local information. You can make a one-time or a monthly donation of any amount and cancel at any time .

NEW: For every donation of $25 or greater, we will offer a digital advertising package to the local non-profit group of your choice.

Click on for more information or to make your donation.

Thank you in advance for your support.