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On Wednesday, March 2, Epic Games announced its purchase of Bandcamp and sent waves of surprise and confusion through the gaming and music industries. In statements released by the two companies, Epic and Bandcamp say they “… share a mission to create the most artist-friendly platform that allows creators to keep most of their hard-earned money.Bandcamp plays a key role in Epic’s vision to create a creator market ecosystem for content, technology, games, art, music and more.
Ethan Diamond, CEO and co-founder of Bandcamp, explained that his company will continue to operate as an independent community but will use the resources that Epic has to offer to provide multiple benefits to artists, labels and fans. using the platform.
The clear link between Epic crossover and Bandcamp is in Fortnite’s Virtual Concert Series. As the live music industry responded to the pandemic, virtual concerts became increasingly popular. Artists like Travis Scott, J Balvin, and Ariana Grande all played digital on Fortnite, while Lil Nas X and Twenty One Pilots did the same on Roblox. In 2021, Fortnite launched the Soundwave concert series, which focuses on showcasing leading non -US pop artists around the world. It provides artists with a platform to reach new audiences while allowing Epic to target hyper-specific markets and demographics.
The acquisition is shocking, but certainly seen as the first of many music associations as the industry takes aggressive steps toward unifying the gaming space.
So what are the opportunities for music companies as they enter the metaverse?
Create a tidy environment
Creators are not limited to audio-only releases or music videos. One of the greatest opportunities for playing in immersive digital environments is the ability to design and control every element, from the soundscape to the artist’s interaction.
They can curate the exact emotional experience they want their audience to have. Is this the summer song? Sit the listener in the passenger seat of a convertible driving through Santa Monica. A deeper, self -reflective piece? Take the audience on an intimate journey with the artist as they work through their emotions in the song. Being in complete control of the environment only deepens the account. Listening parties and album releases continue to raise the bar, so it’s an opportunity for artists who can’t put on mega-performances to make the emotional impact audiences crave.
Gamify interaction with fans
In addition to hyper-stylized environments, these activations can include interactive elements. There may be creative ways to enhance the listening experience of a new artist release. The listener can be immersed in the sample environment above with the ability to tour, explore, and interact directly with the setting. There are probably five hidden objects around that, if found, open up a hidden track. Or by interacting with scenes or objects, the listener can influence the narrative or affect the music itself. By instilling a sense of discovery and inclusion in video game-like Easter eggs, artists can directly reward the time put in by their most dedicated fans.
Looking Ahead: Growing Artist Partnerships
McDonald’s has already partnered with musicians on their artist -specific dishes (Travis Scott, BTS, J Balvin) and Fortnite has already featured a performance by Ariana Grande as part of their concert series. Now imagine if collecting these five hidden Easter eggs in one game would open up an exclusive Ariana Grande McDonald track.
With a player base of over 350 million registered players who can expect similar events, companies like Fortnite have plenty of users and data to sell. But there needs to be a logical and strategic connection between brands and artist associations to avoid feeling overly corporate or unrealistic, which can damage reputation. If an insurance company or a paper towel brand approached Epic for a partnership with Fortnite, it would seem completely inconsistent with their existing demographics. Failure to take advantage of the deliberate creativity of the unique features of the platform will result in an overpriced and poor referral campaign.
The future of music, games and interactive digital environments is rapidly changing. Many have turned to tech and virtual reality companies to pave the way for the metaverse while looking for a way to follow in their footsteps. But how can a brand not get lost in the shuffle? True creativity, honest artistic techniques and meaningful collaborations. Develop compelling work and partnerships, and be the company responsible for bringing these experiences to the public. Probably most people wouldn’t think of putting on a great VR headset, at least for now.
Mike Burke is the Director of Operations at Made Music Studio and co-host of the podcast Press A Key.
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