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By Eric Renner Brown
Ann Marie Simpson-Einziger admits the pitch for her company Mixhalo is unusual.
“It does seem extremely counterintuitive to put headphones in when you’re at a concert,” said the musician and entrepreneur, who co-founded Mixhalo with husband and Incubus guitarist Mike Einziger to deliver high-quality audio to fans at games and concerts, regardless of location.
Simpson-Einziger, a violinist who has collaborated extensively with Hans Zimmer, said “the epiphany” came while she and Einziger rehearsed with Skrillex and Justin Bieber for a 2016 Grammys performance. The idea? Every concert attendee should have access to the same high-quality audio that performers receive via in-ear monitors.
Mixhalo has already made a splash, attracting support from artists like Metallica and Aerosmith and industry heavyweights such as Red Light Management and Another Planet Entertainment, and landing a partnership with Los Angeles’ Staples Center in 2019.
“All of the operators and promoters are thinking more and more about how to welcome fans back in a post-COVID world,” said Simpson-Einziger, promising the announcement of partnerships with “a number of marquee venues” in early 2021.
The company has also used the live industry shutdown to hone its product — notably, its software and dynamic latency system — and explore new features, such as facilitating in-game prop betting.
And as the live industry ramps back up in 2021, Mixhalo will have added value its founders couldn’t have foreseen. Social distancing may lead patrons to far-flung seating they would have avoided before the pandemic, and they’ll want pristine audio.
“We call that stealth VIP, when you’re sitting in the nosebleeds but you hear like you’re at the soundboard, or when you’re at the back of the lawn and you feel like you have the front-of-house seat,” Simpson-Einziger said. “We can bring that, and it’s not just an enhanced experience. It’s actually a safer experience as we navigate the pandemic.”