Those rumours that dance artist Marshmello was going to play a concert within video-game Fortnite were right: it happened on Saturday. In fact, he played two concerts, 12 hours apart, to ensure people could attend at a suitable moment for their timezone. What’s startling is how many people the first of those concerts attracted.
Pollstar says that publisher Epic Games confirmed “millions” of people attended the virtual concert, complete with giant holograms of Fortnite characters, and a feature disabling weapons so that players couldn’t kill one another. Games-industry journalist Geoff Keighley went further: “Sources are telling me there were more than *10 million concurrent players* watching the @marshmellomusic concert in @FortniteGame today – on top of the millions watching online,” he tweeted. And was then retweeted by Epic Games’ creative director Donald Mustard, which backs up the claim.
The concert wasn’t just a massive audience of new and old fans for Marshmello’s music: it was a virtual merch opportunity too. Fortnite players could buy a Marshmello skin (character design) for 1,500 V-Bucks – for your reference, 1,000 V-Bucks costs $9.99 in Fortnite – as well as a related glider accessory and dance emotes. The terms of the deal with Marshmello have not been made public, but it’s at least a sign of the potential for sharing revenues from purchases with an artist, rather than simply using their dance moves without credit or payment.
The in-game concert was not just a success in terms of numbers, then, but a monetisable success for the artist and Epic Games alike. That suggests scope for more such events in future – next stop Drake, perhaps, given his fondness for the game?
Meanwhile, Fortnite isn’t the limit of the new frontiers being explored by Marshmello this week. He’s also become the latest western artist to collaborate on an ‘Artist Original’ track for Indian music-streaming service JioSaavn. ‘BIBA’ is a song created with Indian film-soundtrack composer Pritam: a Bollywood-influenced Hindi-language track that also features YouTube musician Shirley Setia. The song is being made available globally including on other streaming services – its lyric video already has 1.6m views on YouTube, with a proper video to follow.