Crisis hack! Video games as new music venue

How are we adapting ourselves to post-corona life? 
Here’s a glance into the future from the music and concert world, introduced by one of the most popular video games today.

DJ Marshmallow at Fortnite
10 million attendees in 10 minutes. DJ Marshmello set in Fortnite | Photo: Marshmello YouTube

Marshmello: from a candy to a virtual concept

Have you heard of the popular open-world video game Fortnite?
If you don’t have kids or don’t know those who are young at heart; and if you, like me, are not gamers or involved in the video games communities, you probably haven’t heard of this event.

But you should know that a year ago when Corona was still a beer, the creators of Fortnite made a genius move — they hosted a top DJ for a live set inside the game. There have been such initiatives of live concerts since the very beginning of the 20th century but none of them in such a scope. In the first guest set, by DJ Marshmello, 10 million gamers attended.

Here’s what it looked like, I recommend you set your screen to full width and watch with the sound on:

A month earlier, Fortnite competitors hosted an entire festival with 50 musicians, during the game Mindcraft.

5,000 gamers attended the festival within the game itself, and 6,500 more joined through the game’s platform, Discord. However, the one who broke the record for attendees so far is the rapper Travis Scott, who performed in Fortnite with 20 million unique participants, in a round of five virtual concerts inside the game.


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The opportunity created

If we put aside for a moment musical taste considerations and the fact that no virtual concert could replace a face-to-face concert, let’s see the opportunities that Fortnite have created:


Just to compare, the largest stadium in the world is in Pyongyang, North Korea, and can only accommodate 114,000 people. Moreover, if a football game lasts for 90 minutes, Marshmello’s set length was 10 minutes only.

A complete user experience

These include cool customs that get you in the party atmosphere, communication with friends that play with you in the game, and visual effects inspired by festivals such as huge jumping balls. The concert format matches the Fortnite platform: dance moves are a significant part of the game, and the players can use their avatar moves custom appearance. I attended many concerts in my life, but could never manage to successfully jump from one side to another or fly above the audience with such ease.

Online exposure

Let’s analyze Marshmello’s statistics. An audience of millions of players during the game, an increase of 62,000 followers in his Instagram account, and a jump of 3,000% page views of the DJ page in Songkick, a service tool for searching concerts.

Complimentary products

Recently, DJ Diplo performed in a Fortnite surprise concert with his musical trio, Major Lazer. Along with the concert, which was organized to launch a new feature, Diplo sold a designed skin of the band for $25 USD. Translation: a skin is a visual tool that changes the way the players appear in the game. I haven’t yet found the official number of players, but let’s say one million of them participated in real-time, and given that it’s still on-demand, if only 1% of the players will buy the skin, Diplo and his friends will earn $250,000 USD. Not bad, right?

Watch the Diplo and Major Lazer set:

Is it a temporary phenomenon?

When the video games industry is worth $160 billion USD, and there are so many games out there, this is definitely an opportunity. The industry has been affected by COVID19 but not in a negative way. It actually increased while the rest of the culture world took a heavy blow. In times of crisis we can’t look at reality and ignore it. It’s time to think creatively.

In Tel Aviv, for example, during the peak of lockdown, there was a party created in a virtual reality platform. An abandoned loft in the city was scanned in 3D, Corona beer and toilet paper were thrown down to enhance the experience and the participants could connect with their computer (the advanced ones with fitting helmets). If we were told in March 2019 that a year later we’d dance at parties via Zoom, we probably would laugh in disbelief.

Add to that COVID19’s effect and prohibitions on large, in-person events, and we will likely see more collaborations. But these collaborations won’t be found only in the music and video games industries. Actors who will pop up for stand-up sessions and artists who will paint live their next masterpiece can create such cross-fields initiatives. The attendees will be part of this. They will be active participants, whether in going on stage live or by fully contributing to the creative art process.

Would you like to hear more about new technologies and creating opportunities? Let’s talk.


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