5G - Enabling remote real-time musical collaboration
There are hundreds of millions of musicians worldwide. Currently, if any of these hundreds of millions of musicians want to collaborate, perform, practice or even teach, they usually physically meet to do so. Often, they’re also lugging large amounts of bulky equipment. It is an old-fashioned way of working that is overdue for an update.
5G technology has the ability to enable remote real-time musical collaboration, which with current network technologies, is very challenging, due to high latency. 5G capabilities provide ultra-low latency, high bandwidth, guaranteed quality of service and agile network orchestration.
Remote music performance
We teamed up to explore remote music performance for geographically distributed rehearsals, songwriting, concerts, or teaching, as well as letting remote talent participate in studio recordings. A team of engineers, producers, songwriters and performers are the minds behind an innovative prototype solution for connected music applications. Through our partnership with MIND Music Labs and their ELK MusicOS we are able to leverage the extremely low latency required to run this solution. In addition to the technical challenges, it addresses the following needs:
— Remote presence in real-time music collaboration
— Reduce travel effort and cost
— Enable remote access to expensive or rare equipment
— Enable disruption through digitalization of business models
Our approach to remote music performance includes:
— Low-latency audio-to-network interface
— Low-latency 5G network technologies
— New radio
— Software-defined networking
— Network slicing
— Integration into existing working environment of musicians and producers
Ultra-low latency enables remote, real-time music collaboration. It can also provide cloud access to virtualized gear and remote access to gear that cannot be virtualized otherwise, such as analogue amplifiers. All in all, that means musicians can eliminate travel time and the costs that limit collaboration, performance, practice and learning. It also increases productivity for professionals in the music industry, including producers, event organizers and teachers.
The developed prototype supports a variety of business cases, including geographically distributed rehearsals, songwriting, concerts, or teaching, as well as leveraging remote talent in studio recordings. It also paves the way for remote access to analog instruments and audio gear as well as connected/IoT instruments.
Remote music performance live
In April 2018, we executed the world’s first jam session over 5G at the Ericsson studio, which was then showcased at Ericsson Innovation Day. We then successfully distributed a musical performance between two Ericsson locations in China that were 220km apart. Following that event, we provided demos at Ericsson Paris customer day, Ericsson Italy, Ericsson Spain customer innovation day and a demo at a 5G event in Greece. At the end of the year, we provided a demo for China Mobile.
These demos have provided us an opportunity to showcase 5G capabilities and visualize the impact of ultra-low latency networks. They have showed 5G’s ability to enable key consumer business cases and have helped connect operators with this emerging business opportunity.
At this year’s Mobile World Congress Barcelona, we were able to execute a joint live presentation with Vodafone to showcase remote music performance live over 5G. With a 5G radio located at Mobile World Congress Barcelona, we were able to connect two booths that were half a mile apart for a live musical performance.
In the future, connected music technology could bring together musicians, music producers and recording engineers from all corners of the globe. This emerging technology will be a milestone in global musical creation, potentially changing the way songs are written and the ways we enjoy music in the future.