The coronavirus pandemic has had a negative impact on many industries, and the music industry has been particularly affected. Collectives and artists are unable to organize live concerts, so the multi-billion dollar industry worldwide has lost over 50% of its revenue. Even when the situation improves and the sites open, due to the need to keep a distance and due to other rules, this address may not be able to fully recover quickly. The GamesIndustry.biz reporter spoke to people affected by this issue to find out if video games can save the day and help artists.
According to Sol Parker, a music agent who has been hosting concerts for Billie Eilish, Liam Payne, Take That and other artists in recent months, it is not just a disaster, but “Armageddon.” “This is a complete collapse of everything we’re used to,” he said. – Our industry was not ready for the appearance of such a virus. Now they are all sent on vacation, but an August day will come and you will have to come to terms with the harsh reality that affects everyone. There will be a lot of losses. ”
While musicians actively use social media and streaming services like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitch to connect with their fans, the struggle for survival in the music industry can be won through video games. Travis Scott’s recent Fortnite talk has become a new standard for virtual concerts, and many companies have thought to borrow that idea and put it into practice in their own way.
A light at the end of a tunnel.
Fortnite didn’t become the first game in which musicians could perform in front of an audience. In 2003, Second Life was released , which allowed artists, sellers and label representatives to organize concerts for a large crowd of users. Since then, there have been performances in Tank World , Adventure Quest 3D , The Sims, and Minecraft that could be full festivals in a style familiar to gamers.
For The Offspring Concert World of Tank Artists digitized with motion capture technology.
But Scott’s concert became the most important in history. It was quite a spectacle, a spectacular event that showed what the two industrial giants were capable of joining forces. The performance lasted only ten minutes, but caught the attention of many people: 27.7 million unique users were in the game during the concert, making it the most successful event in recent years. of its existence. Fortnite . A new rapper single called The Scotts hit the front row of the Billboard Hot 100 charts that week.
Over 9,000 publications wrote about the concert, which of course could not but rejoice. Epic and Scott himself. On social media, around 1.5 million new users have subscribed to the rapper. And millions of Fortnite players under unusual conditions, they could attend a concert by a favorite artist (or get to know their work for the first time). Overall, the effect was far greater than one would expect from a tour or a regular performance. The conclusion seems simple: organize a show in Fortnite and you will be happy it’s just EpicYou cannot regularly allocate your resources to create such entertainment, and there is hardly any site like it. But that could change in the coming months.
Seeing the coronavirus-related events in February and March, musicians at the Philadelphia Courier Club joked that if their next tour was canceled, they would just host a concert in Minecraft . “Very quickly the joke came true,” says bassist Michael Silverglade. – We contacted my brother, who was playing. Minecraft and maintains its own servers. He has started to work and we are leaving. ”
This concert even had a trailer with instructions for the audience.
All of this led to the launch of Block by Blockwest, a virtual Minecraft music festival . About thirty groups took part, performing on three different stages (ie servers) in front of several thousand spectators. They tried to do the show in good faith – they raised funds for every band that appeared on stage and even invited people who played the role of technical staff and helped with sound issues. To participate in the festival, it was enough to provide a live recorded song to stream in-game while the square-headed avatars played it. The event was a success: it was viewed by around 134,000 players.
According to Silverlade, it would be impossible to achieve this without the technical support of Digital Ocean and Cloud Flame , two companies that provided their servers. Initially, the festival was supposed to take place in April, then the massive attack was the most important guest, but due to the influx of those who wanted it, the servers were blocked before the start of the show, which had to be postponed for a later date. The musicians raised over $ 7,600 and donated that amount to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. United States
Courier Club guitarist Ryan Conway added that the band is currently discussing with developers and various companies whether to find something profitable for musicians based on this model. The team would like to participate in this event again. “If we do something like this over and over again, over time we will start to receive a stable income that will help artists in difficult financial situations. And the sponsors will appear whose announcements we will announce between presentations, ”he said.
The creators of the project also believe in the power of online concerts in specialized venues. Wave formerly known as TheWaveVR . His development studio (also called Wave ) was founded five years ago. With the help of her show, she offers musicians to organize virtual shows in front of the public. Contrary to what is shown in Fortnite, here all the concerts are alive and interactive: the movements of the artist are captured, while in reality he acts somewhere “behind the scenes”. You can even change the artist’s appearance or the setting: Rapper T-Pain has become a fire-breathing demon, and violinist Lindsey Stirling has traveled through towns and fields in front of 400,000 people.
Such shows allow musicians to interact directly with fans, and they get to know each other while watching. Any Twitch viewer knows how important the element of interactivity is in building a close relationship between content producers and communities – it leads users to their favorite broadcasters. In online appearances, for example, you can ask the crowd to make some noise or invent something unique.
“For interactive virtual shows, the future is sure,” said the CEO and founder. Wave Adam Arrigo, who previously worked as a designer at Harmonix . Compare your business to the owners of halls and performance halls, but they cannot be entered in real life; instead, online rooms and rooms are created in video games and streaming services. “For many people Minecraft , Fortnite and even League of Legends ” It’s not just about games, but being able to chat with friends and have a great night out with them, “Arrigo added.
Wave performances recorded and can be broadcast. Recordings are easily edited by adding sounds or animations, making adjustments depending on the region. This will certainly attract advertisers and sponsors, allow musicians to receive additional profits. In Wave There is even an opportunity to sell products with your brand. “We have a long history of working in technology, forging relationships, forging alliances and forming a team to create a platform with great potential. It is of great value to the industry, which is now in great need, ”said Arrigo.
The effects of Wave are very colorful.
It is not a replacement, but an alternative.
Although virtual concerts seem like a great alternative to live performances, as they can introduce many people to unknown artists, Parker believes that concerts can never be replaced by anything. According to the music agent, performers can “do magic” in their shows, and their fans want to be in the same room with them and see it live. He also believes that it’s not that easy to invite all your fans to a virtual concert: if millions come to the present, that doesn’t mean that everyone will see digital.
For many musicians, concert tours are almost the main source of income. Neck West punk pop guitarist Matt West said in an interview that at least 80% of the band’s income comes from touring. Each tour guarantees bands a certain amount, but the more popular they become, the more important their performances – sound engineers, lighting designers and others who are part of the team and have to be paid. Selling products with group symbols generates a lot of money, and it is more difficult to make money in virtual programs.
But so far, due to the pandemic, touring has been impossible and large queues have lined up in concert halls. West, like many other musicians, went to Twitch and streamed games there, chatting with fans. He would like to participate in virtual shows, but artists have few options. “We would like to have a concert like in Fortnite ” But we suspect that this route is only accessible to world class musicians, “he said. “We don’t even have to think about it: every artist who appears in it is a popular superstar. “
Fortnite’s first concert took place last February, well before the pandemic.
New addresses of old companies
In order for virtual concerts to be accessible to everyone, various technical issues must be resolved, including those related to delay. Producer Matt Squire (Matt Squire), who owns several platinum albums, is currently working on a show that allows remote recording in his studio. In his opinion, something like this should also appear in video games, as such events require “live” audio, not recordings. “When artists perform in front of an audience, transfer their energy to it, listeners feel their emotion. It is an inexplicable and indescribable feeling, ”he said.
After Scott’s concert. Fortnite Some companies want to create their own virtual music rooms. Sony President Kenichiro Yoshida sent a message to his colleagues asking him to study this technology. As early as May, the company opened several new vacancies and was looking for, among other things, network engineer Unreal Engine, who “will create and maintain online multiplayer services for atmospheric music events.”
Electronic arts He also joined the race. The company often uses licensed soundtracks in its games and all kinds of Madden nfl virtual performances and other sports simulations would seem appropriate. Scott Fortnite Concert They were absurd, and obviously many game makers and musicians will want to repeat this success, ”said Steve Schnur, Division President. EA engaged in the selection and creation of music. “But what if you don’t try to implement the exact same idea, but develop and improve upon it? “
Virtual reality is great for online concerts: in the Sansar app from the creator of Second Life, for example, there were shows with the MonsterCat tag.
According to Schnur, due to the pandemic, many promoters and agents instantly felt the precariousness of their situation, although more recently their business has generated a stable income. These same people still view virtual concerts as silly, referring to the lack of the same “energy” that cannot be transmitted over the internet. It’s just the current generation of listeners, says Schnur, not as interested in live performances. “Modern music fans feel good online and look forward to the next step the industry takes. And you EA There are some interesting developments related to that, ”he added.
Thanks to video games, many users have discovered musical groups that are unfamiliar to them. FIFA , Grand Theft Auto , Tony Hawk Pro Skater , Need for Speed – Without these episodes we probably would never have listened to the songs of our favorite artists. And in games like Infinity Pray , Tetris Effect , Wild Hearts of Sayonara , Dreams and Beat SaberWe not only listen to songs, but we interact with them. Quarantined companies and musicians are ready to move forward and discover new opportunities; in the near future, we should expect the realization of original and crazy ideas.
Source: The Verge