If you haven’t seen it by now, MSG Entertainment (the same company that owns Madison Square Garden in New York City) has put 2.3 billion dollars into a brand new circular building that will change the way we hear live sound and see live visuals. The name of the venue? The Sphere is a 366-feet tall, 516-feet-wide circle (just for reference, the Statue of Liberty is 305 feet tall) located right on the Las Vegas strip. This dome-looking building is covered in 1.2 million hockey-puck-sized LED lights that are completely programmable.Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images
But that’s just the outside. The interior of the Sphere is where the magic really happens. The Sphere can hold 17,600 people in its steep stadium-style seats, and 20,000 people total when you include the standing room on the floor. The outdoor screen is just one part of the revolutionary venue. When you move inside, you’ll find the largest and highest-resolution screen in the world. This indoor LED screen is 160,000 square feet, with a 16,000 by 16,000 resolution. For reference, a nice Samsung TV will stream in 4K, with dimensions of 3840 by 2160. The indoor screen in the Sphere is streaming at 16K. In addition to the 16K screen, the Sphere also holds the world’s most extensive concert-grade audio system, which comes in at 395,120 pounds. For reference, a typical concert speaker setup comes in at just under 4,000 pounds.
When you combine all the amplifiers, speakers themselves, and everything else that comes with audio, you have a total of 395,120 pounds worth of audio equipment. The speakers themselves are embedded in the beams of the venue to give every single audience member their own audio experience. The reason this is revolutionary is because HOLOPLOT, the company in charge of audio for the venue, tells sources that they can isolate a band member’s instrument and shoot it at a certain part of the crowd. So, while one area of the Sphere could be hearing the guitar, the other could be hearing the drum set. HOLOPLOT says that the audio is so advanced it is made to sound like you are wearing headphones.Embed from Getty Images
Popular Irish band U2 had the honor of being the first band to have a residency (same show for a consecutive amount of days) that would last 25 shows at the Sphere. Now, how is this going to change live music? In an interview with Zane Lowe of Apple Music, U2 expressed the sheer amount of planning that went into this show. With a screen as big as the Sphere’s, the visual aspect of a show is the most important. In a close second, U2 returned and remastered their songs to fit with the venue’s legendary sound system to take fans on an auditory journey.Embed from Getty Images
In my opinion, this new venue presents legendary artists with an opportunity for their die-hard fans to experience them in even greater detail than they would in a standard arena show. The ability to program the lead singer’s vocal to go to one singular seat in the arena without anyone else hearing it, but that one seat has never been done before in the entertainment industry. Artist will be able to build a show that will take their fans on a journey through trippy visuals and immersive audio while fans enjoy their favorite band live. U2 is the first band to do it, and there are many more bands to come. Live music has been changed by this legendary venue forever.
Now, what is up next for this legendary venue? Well, the honest answer is we don’t know. As of right now, U2 is the only artist currently performing there. Pop star Harry Styles has been invited to host a residency when he’s ready to do so. James Dolan, who is the executive chair of Madison Square Garden and owner of the New York Knicks and New York Rangers, as well as David Dibble, who is the CEO of the Sphere Entertainment subsidiary MSG Ventures, are both working towards opening another Sphere shaped venue in London. It has been in the works since 2018, and their ultimate goal is to build a venue that can either have a 2,000-person or 20,000-person capacity while maintaining the shape of the Sphere. So, in conclusion, we don’t know who will be performing next at the Sphere, and we’re not sure if another Sphere will be built in London. What we do know is that entertainment has been changed forever.