On April 23 American rapper and record producer Travis Scott debuted his new track “The Scotts” in a 10-minute virtual experience taking place on Battle royale video game Fortnite.
The psychedelic show was named “Astronomical” and if you watch it, you will understand why. A giant digital avatar of Travis was performing using the entire Fortnite world as his stage. The enormous singer was underwater, then flying through space, and finally landing on a floating amusement park which was exploding and deconstructing under his feet. There were flames and thunder, there was crazy dancing, there was everything.
The 5-song animated concert was Fortnite’s biggest event ever as more than 12 million players participated live. After the live event took place on Thursday, April 23, it was followed by four replays over the next two days. With a total of five “Astronomical” shows, Epic Games, the creators of Fortnite, have officially reported that more than 27 million unique players attended.
During that week, among Google’s top search words together with “Ramadan 2020”, “Earth Day” and “Mitch McConnell”, users were googling “Travis Scott Fortnite event” as millions of fans were joining the cosmic rave and discussing it online.
The setlist of the unusual production was short but powerful. It went like this:
The last song on the list, featuring Cleveland-born musician Kid Cudi, had its official worldwide premiere during the live event. Kid’s real first name is actually Scott, and so the duo together makes “The Scotts.”
The collaborative single debuted at #1 on The Billboard Hot 100 Chart, marking Cudi’s first Hot 100 leader.
An exciting thought is the fact that “Astronomical” is something that could only happen in a virtual concert. The spectacle was enjoyed by more people than the largest venue in the world could ever fit, and that is a key advantage of doing things online — with technologies continuing to develop and progress, the limitations to what we want to create are becoming less and less.
Empowered by technology, we can create something timeless, something excruciatingly beautiful, and a memorable experience for millions of people spread all over the world.
With worldwide lockdown and self-isolation, avid Fortnite players (and Travis fans or music fanatics who weren’t previously on the game) were given the opportunity to participate in something legendary, and to do that together.
Fortnite, like most video games, has become something much bigger than just a game. It’s an imaginary world that offers a sense of place and a sense of belonging that many of us would appreciate, especially weeks or months into quarantine.
Key aspects of such digital experiences are immersion and interactivity, and these two serve as vital tools towards building and providing something impactful that will leave a mark on users.
Many audience members were sharing they felt as if they were actually attending a La Flame (one of Scott’s nicknames) concert. This only goes to prove that there is space for such concerts and that a whole generation is more than receptive to such ideas.
As much as it is apparent that for gamers it is natural to explore something like “Astronomical” with curiosity and eagerness, it is important to also realize the great potential a project like this has in terms of popularizing the products of both parties. People who don’t play Fortnite came to watch because of Travis, and Fortnite players who don’t usually listen to Travis, were introduced to his music in a never-before-seen way. Some viewers have said the experience was even better than a real-life concert or that they watched it multiple times.
So what does this mean for the future of music concerts?
Because of COVID-19, there has been a newfound demand for alternative forms of entertainment. And Fortnite x Travis is a remarkable example of what we will be seeing more of.
Virtual concerts can be a fantastic additional revenue stream for artists, and in times like these, they are a relevant option more than ever.
Another smart move from the team behind “Astronomical” was their merch strategy. Every single day from April 23 for a whole week they were dropping something new.
The Fortnite Astronomical merch included hoodies and t-shirts, beanies, vinyls, action figures, and Nerf guns, and this physical aspect added a whole new layer to the unique experience and its successful engagement with a huge online audience. Available only for a limited time via Travis Scott’s webstore, the biggest enthusiasts (I guess the ones who love both Travis and Fortnite) were the first to get their hands on the colorful clothing and gaming accessories.
We are thrilled to continue witnessing the innovative and creative projects that our industry is going to be putting forward. Christophe Brumby, Strategy director of brand experience agency Amplify, said,
“I believe the future of entertainment lies in greater interaction with the performance, where the audience and the artist can co-create the experience”,
and I couldn’t agree more.
While dozens of artists and bands have canceled or postponed their shows, Travis Scott just had his entire worldwide tour and in the span of 10 minutes… while the whole world is on pause. This one of a kind musical journey will surely pave the way for more immersive and surprising music experiences in the near future.
What do you think about the video? Would you like to watch and participate in a live, but virtual concert by one of your favorite singers? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.
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