On Wednesday, Epic Games announced its purchase of Bandcamp and sparked controversy among the gaming and music industries. Both companies stated that they "shared the purpose of establishing a creative marketplace for content, technology, games, art, and entertainment."
Ethan Diamond, the CEO and cofounder of Bandcamp, explained that his company will continue to operate as an independent community, but that it will utilize the resources that Epic can offer to provide more benefits to artists, labels, and fans who use the platform.
The clear connection between the Epic and Bandcamp crossover is in. As the live music industry reacted to the epidemic, virtual concerts have become increasingly popular. In Fortnite, artists like Travis Scott, J Balvin, and Ariana Grande have done the same in Roblox. In 2021, Fortnite began a concert series, which focused on attracting large non-American pop artists. It offers these artists a platform to reach new audiences, while perking Epic to target specific markets and demographics.
The acquisition was a major surprise, but it will certainly be seen as the first of many music partnerships as the industry makes aggressive steps toward integrating in the gaming space.
What are the possibilities for music companies as they go into the era?
Making a curatorial environment
The creators aren't limited to audio-only releases or music videos. One of the greatest possibilities at play in is the ability to design and control every element, from soundscape to artist interaction.
The audience may give them the exact emotional input they want for their audience to have. Is it the song of the summer? Take the audience on an intimate journey with the artist while they navigate the environment. This is because listening parties and album releases are constantly increasing the pressures. This is an excellent way to help artists who don't have the ability to perform huge performances.
Fan interaction gamifying
These activations may include interactive elements, such as moving, exploring, and engaging with the audience. Perhaps there are five items hidden around that, once discovered, unlock a hidden track. Or by interacting in scenes or with objects, the listener may alter the narrative or effect the music itself. Artists can also reward time put in by their most dedicated fans.
Using artist collaborations to keep an eye on the future.
McDonald's has established concert partnerships with their artists (Travis Scott, BTS, J Balvin) and Fortnite already featured a performance from Ariana Grande in their concert series. Imagine, now, if collecting those five hidden Easter egg items in a game unlocks a McDonald's exclusive track by Ariana Grande.
Companies like Fortnite have a wealth of users and data to bargain with, avoiding being overly corporate or inauthentic, causing reputations to fall behind. Failure to take intentional creative advantage of the platform's unique features will result in an overpriced and underperforming situation.
The future of music, gaming, and interactive digital environments is rapidly shifting. Many are looking to tech and VR companies to take the lead in the metaverse while also finding a way to ride in on their coattails. But how does a brand not get lost in the shuffle? Authentic creativity, honest artistic approaches, and meaningful collaborations. Foster strong work and partnerships, and be the company responsible for bringing these experiences to the public. Perhaps then most people will not mind putting on a narrow VR headset, at least
Mike Burke is the host and director of the podcast.
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