Music in gaming has a long history dating back to John Carmack and Trent Reznor's collaboration on Quake. For many artists, song placement in games like Madden, Final Fantasy, or Super Smash Bros can be the equivalent of going viral on Spotify or Tiktok, with deals that can be more lucrative and introduce them to even wider audiences.
Gaming companies realize the promise for new music to create richer experiences for gamers. For example, Epic Games bought Bandcamp, seeing the excitement for virtual concerts in Fortnite, especially after the success of its Travis Scott and Marshmellow concerts. Roblox similarly partnered with Spotify, developing Spotify Island, “a paradise of sound where fans and artists from all over the world can hang out and explore a wonderland of sounds, quests, and exclusive merch”. What do these trends mean for artists? Here's three things to watch for:
Games as music discovery platforms
- As TikTok helped with the discovery of Lil Nas X, games will become more and more the place for new artist discovery as people find new music while running around in virtual worlds
The rise of the Gamer-Artist
- As music and games become more connected, new creator classes will emerge. Look for the rise of Gamer-Artists, digital-first musically inclined gamers who will cross the chasm and make songs to power the games they play in. Producer-turned-video-game-developer Iforgotmyname, aka Lofty305 is a great example of this. Iforgotmyname got his start in the Miami music scene, bringing skate, gaming, and music culture. An avid gamer, he taught himself Unreal and Blender to develop his first game, Underland Ambush, following up more recently with a new music video game he is developing called “SOUNDCLASH”.
Mega-concerts in virtual worlds
- The Fortnite Travis Scott concert drew 30 million people worldwide, and with growing adoption of emerging technologies such as AR and VR, there’s no telling how big concerts of the future will grow. With the gaming and e-sports segments continuing to rise in value, artists looking to reach new audiences will find gaming communities eager to meet them on the other side.