In the past few years we have seen everyone from pop stars like Nick Jonas to rock legends such as Metallica playing at esports tournaments. Whilst this might seem like an odd match, it appears that competitive gaming events are increasingly being seen as an excellent place for artists to broaden their fanbases.
It’s important to remember that video gaming is now big business. In the UK alone, the video games sector commands more than half of the overall entertainment market, and is worth more than music and video combined. When you couple this with the fact that the competitive gaming industry is expected to hit the $1 billion mark in 2019, it’s easy to see why musicians are keen to get involved.
Although streaming services have helped keep the music industry afloat, it’s clear that the digital revolution has made things difficult for many musicians. Rather than being able to rely on the revenues of their recorded output, we are seeing live performances as being integral to the economic survival of many music stars.
As esports tournaments regularly entertain many thousands of gaming fans within arenas and stadiums, such events have become an increasingly focal point for musicians who are willing to tap into a brand new market. The heavy metal band, Metallica, famously performed at the BlizzCon gaming convention in 2014, and they even went one step further by providing an exclusive music video for the ELEAGUE Major tournament in 2017.
The ELEAGUE Major is famous for showcasing some of the best Counter Strike Global Offensive teams in the world, and betting resources regularly put on special bonus offers for the event here, so it’s little surprise to find that Metallica would be willing to do all they can to ensure that their brand name gets plenty of exposure at these hugely popular gaming tournaments.
The intersection between esports and music has been especially well mined over the past few years. We have seen plenty of festivals unveiled that aim to bring music and gaming together, and events such as Hyperplay by MTV and Riot Games, and the PLAY Festival by Insomniac show that fans are the real winners as a result of the ventures.
It’s also a smart move on behalf of the games event organisers. We have seen gaming brands aiming to broaden their portfolios to become fully-fledged entertainment firms, and through shrewd choice in their featured musicians, they will be hoping to widen their revenue streams.
We have also seen many legendary music festivals now aiming to make their offerings a little more gamer-friendly. The case was proven in 2018 when the famous Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago unveiled its gaming lounge that even featured the celebrity gamer, Ninja, to get involved in a live gaming session. Ninja is famous for having been involved in gaming contests with hip-hop stars like Drake, and it seems that even Drake is keen to get involved in the esports phenomenon.
This was seen when Drake and Scooter Braun teamed up to plough plenty of their own money into the popular esports team, 100 Thieves. Previously, we have witnessed the likes of Steve Aoki, Imagine Dragons and even Jennifer Lopez investing in esports leagues, whilst the Universal Music Group has already helped develop two esports ventures.
Plus we should also mention the fact that getting their songs featured in a video game represents a huge financial benefit for any artist. Ever since the likes of Grand Theft Auto featured an in-game radio station, we have seen many musicians boosting their revenues through some well-placed music in a video game.
So from guest appearances at some of the biggest esports tournaments, to some wise investments in the best competitive gaming teams, it seems as though the relationship between music and esports is getting closer all of the time.