Posted inAnalysis

Why esports and music collaborations will drive growth across both industries (guest column)

This guest column comes from Phil Hübner, Chief Business Development Officer of esports platform Challengermode

The intersection of esports and music isn’t a new phenomenon. Esports has often used live acts in the opening and half time of its major live events, musicians have joined the wave of star athletes investing directly in esports teams, and both streaming services and record labels have been keen to sign deals with first gaming and, more recently, key esports stakeholders.

What we are seeing now is an acceleration of this trend, spurred on by just how astronomical esports’ industry’s growth has been in the last decade. Global esports revenues will hit $1.084bn in 2021 (a year-on-year rise of 14.5% from 2020) with esports competitions drawing in an audience of almost 500million worldwide outperforming many mainstream sports. Esports organisations are blooming into highly successful media brands, and are coming to the music industry with significant financial and cultural clout.

Posted inNews

Apple / Epic Games trial kicks off with arguments (and data)

The European Commission’s decision to send Apple a statement of objections on the grounds that it has “distorted competition in the music streaming market” was a setback for the company. But it came as another high-profile App Store battle had its day in court.

The Epic Games vs Apple trial kicked off yesterday, and there is plenty of tea for observers to sip. For example, there’s the analysis by a witness for Epic Games claiming that Apple’s App Store operating margin was 77.8% in 2019 and 74.9% in 2018, although Apple claims these calculations are wrong.

Other documents reveal just how much money Fortnite made for Epic Games across 2018 and 2019 (more than $9bn); and plans for a bundle including Apple Music, Apple TV+ and a Fortnite subscription in the days before the company’s big fallout.

Expect plenty more spice in the coming days as the trial continues, in a battle that is enormously relevant to Spotify’s campaign against Apple in the music streaming field. 

Posted inNews

Fortnite gets a Bruno Mars emote and Houseparty streaming

Bruno Mars is the latest artist making an appearance in the game Fortnite, although in his case it’s one of the game’s emotes (dances) rather than a full performance.

The emote is based on a track called ‘Leave the Door Open’ from the ‘Silk Sonic’ project that features Mars and Anderson .Paak.

We know what you’re thinking: reading about this news is fine, but even better would be the chance to watch a horse-faced man in a suit’n’dressing-gown combo gyrating in a video of it. Don’t worry: Fortnite maker Epic Games has you covered.

Posted inNews

J Balvin to headline the big Halloween event in Fortnite

Halloween’s on 31 October? It starts a lot earlier than that in Fortnite. The game’s ‘Fortnitemares’ celebration kicked off yesterday (21 October) with a haunted island, pumpkin rocket launchers, rideable witch brooms, a spooky ‘Party Trooper’ outfit and other virtual items. But the climax of the event WILL be on 31 October, and it’s a music concert.

J Balvin will be headlining the ‘Afterlife Party’ concert at 9pm ET that day, with two rebroadcasts for different timezones the following day. The event will also see the debut of Balvin’s new single ‘La Luz’. Within the game, the concert will take place in Fortnite’s Party Royale mode, but Epic Games is pushing out some new creative boats for the event.

“J Balvin and Epic Games will be bringing this performance to life using innovative XR (cross reality) technology using LED walls and camera tracking,” announced the publisher. “Balvin will perform in a completely virtual world created exclusively for this event.” We’re told that Katy Perry’s recent performance on American Idol is one reference point for the kind of experience in store.

Posted inNews

Fortnite is the next frontier for K-Pop stars BTS

BTS are no strangers to the gaming world, having starred in their first mobile game BTS World last year, with a follow-up (BTS Universe Story) about to launch. Now the K-Pop stars are heading to one of the biggest, buzziest games of all: Fortnite.

This Friday (25 September) they’ll be premiering a new “choreography version” music video for their recent single ‘Dynamite’ within the Party Royale mode of Epic Games’ title.

Fans will also be able to buy a pair of BTS-themed emotes (dance moves for their characters) in Fortnite’s in-game store from 23 September in preparation, with those emotes usable in all of the game’s other modes too.

Posted inNews

Fortnite is launching a new series of in-game music concerts

Since May, video game Fortnite has had its own permanent music venue: the ‘Main Stage’ in its Party Royale mode. Diplo, Steve Aoki and Deadmau5 were among the first artists to play events there, but now the game’s publisher Epic Games is launching a regular series of live concerts. 

Branded ‘Spotlight’, the first takes place on 12 September and features Dominic Fike, with two rebroadcasts after the initial live session. The company has built a dedicated sound stage in Los Angeles to host the physical performance, with further concerts planned for 19 and 26 September.

“We’re creating this platform to work with artists — big artists and up-and-coming artists,” Epic Games’ head of global partnerships Nate Nanzer told Variety, adding that the concerts will be free to all, without any plans for ads or sponsorships, but that Epic is paying artists for their performances.