For the last few years, streaming has been the main platform for consuming recorded music for millions of listeners around the world. To the surprise of many people in the post-2008 recession world that assumed the music industry dead, streaming has succeeded to increase revenues for major & independent record labels, decreased piracy significantly and brought significant revenue to many independent musicians. What we know for sure is that streaming will be here for at least a few years more. But, we are also starting to get a hint of what life after streaming might look like.
The cue comes again from Silicon Valley, but this time from an unexpected area. While virtual reality has been in the works for the last few years, adapting music into the virtual reality area has been highly experimental. On February 2, electronic musician Marshmello performed a concert in Fortnite, a battle royale game. The audience was a total of 10 million virtual people.
The results of this experiment have been incredibly successful. Songkick, the ticket sales platform announced that Marshmello had more fans looking for tickets on Songkick during the past 4 days than he’s had over the past 3 months combined. Moreover, his streaming numbers increased by 24,000% on some songs (Yes, 24,000%). I can not imagine the merch numbers for this account.
Certainly the Fortnite experiment has been the result of the convergence of music industry with the gaming industry. Billboard noted that many artists and music industry people are currently investing in the gaming world. In October, Drake became a co-owner 100 Thieves, an e-sports company. Moreover, Universal Music Group’s Berlin-based division recently made a multi-year exclusive partnership deal with ESL, the world’s largest e-sports company.
Of course, what this means for performing and independent artists is still early. Perhaps independent artists can start performing in virtual concerts in these platforms, although the logistics of this, especially for a live, rock band would be hard to figure out. Electronic music by definition is much easier to adapt into this environment, but it would be more challenging for U2 to do this, I think. Perhaps for live performances this could be done with pre-recorded concerts, such as Superbowl performances. And what about festivals? Or performers from the past? Or duets of your favorite singers? There are many questions and possibilities in the air, but we are headed to a new level of music experience, whether it is good or bad.
Adva Mobile is a marketing services and technology company for creative artists. Using Adva’s mobile services, you can let your fans learn about your latest creative work, run contests, take surveys, reach out to your superfans and engage with them.
Alper Tuzcu is a Berklee College of Music and Denison University alumni, and a Boston based guitarist, songwriter and producer. His new album ‘Aurora’ was released on October 19, 2018 and his debut eclectic album ‘Between 12 Waters’ featuring 8 different vocalists is available on Spotify. In addition to being a musician, he regularly teaches workshops and masterclasses internationally. You can follow him on Instagram or Twitter, and for more information you can visit his website www.alpertuzcu.com