Coming off the high of last week’s NFL Draft After Party hosted by Oikos, I was keen on more hits in the music tech space. Another obvious standout was the Travis Scott and Fortnite collaboration. Travis’ in-game performance certainly wasn’t the first of its kind — we all know about Marshmellow’s DJ set — but the Astroworld-themed concert was the biggest to date. In just 10 short minutes, Travis moved the needle.
The potential for expansion is what first caught my attention. Back in the day when I lived in L.A and before Nue was up and running, I was working in video games. One evening I attended a virtual party on the platform, Second Life. It was held in a museum where my avatar got to see some fresh digital art. I met some interesting people including a nice woman named Sarah who was a school teacher in Brooklyn. We went into the performance room together and saw a band (in live video, not avatar form). Our avatars chatted and danced. When I left the party I was offered an exclusive piece of digital merch that my avatar could keep for future adventures. Even cooler, I had the option to buy that shirt and have it mailed to me in real life. That was well over 10 years ago but my virtual wheels have been turning ever since.
Could this be the future (or near-future) of touring in the Covid era? Is Fortnite the right forum? We know it broke viewership records but I’d love to know more about the audience that attended this. Travis brought fans, but how many of them were gamers? Could Beyonce or Lady Gaga bring audiences too, considering Fortnite’s 73% male demo? Twitch is even less gender-neutral at 81% male.
Perhaps there are other platforms more representative of the population. And what about legacy acts? How cool would a Prince concert be, re-imagined in the digital oasis? That’s more interesting, interactive & scalable than a hologram show.
A-list artists are finding ways to navigate the pandemic and remain relevant but emerging artists aren’t having as much luck. They’re the ones whose Spring tours were supposed to launch their careers; the ones whose lucrative college shows are canceled this Fall; the ones that truly need our support. These artists are all small businesses, flooding the UI office phone lines and struggling to get a piece of the stimulus puzzle.
Nue believes deeply in the power of emerging talent and new artist activations because we know they deliver. We also know the brands that employ intelligent social listening to identify and respectfully engage with and support the right emerging talent will come across as authentic and in-touch. This breeds loyalty and long-term relationships with fans and consumers alike.
The platforms and brands that crack the emerging artist code to help rethink the listening and concert experience will grow at the fastest pace. As much as people want to put this period behind them, we will remember the artists and brands that went hard during this time.
On that tip, we continue our Beats & Bytes Live series this Thursday with our third episode on LinkedIn. This one’s on artists and gaming. It should be an interesting hour. You never know who may pop in. Check it out at 5pm here.
And for more on the innovations and nuances of the Travis + Fortnite, read Matthew Ball’s breakdown.