La Grou thinks that music will be mixed to create full 3D immersion over headphones long before 2050. Microphone and headphone designers and audio software engineers will develop 360-degree sound systems. Speakers play a much smaller role in sound reproduction in La Grou’s future gazing. He described headphone sound as “spherical audio,” where the listener is inside a sound bubble; spatial resolution within the headphone bubble will match reality, not just for music. He thinks games and films will drive the tech. By 2050 massive gains in processing power and virtual production techniques will provide unparalleled creative opportunities. I’m not sure how musicians, and their mastery of acoustic instruments fit in La Grou’s virtual sonic frontier, but it would be a great loss to replace them with purely electronic music. I hope we can have both acoustic and electronic music coexisting in 2050’s recorded music.

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