Fortnite was in headlines recently for hosting a 10 minute gig featuring Marshmello, attended by millions of people. It heralds the dawn of a new era in live entertainment.
Well, not THE herald. One of the loudest, though. The Verge recently wrote that the concert showed the future of live music, but that doesn’t fully do it justice.
Fortnite isn’t the first non-broadcast platform to host a live event. Swing a digital stick and you’ll hit 9 platforms offering streaming.
You can watch an NBA game from a player’s POV on Twitter, but it’s still watching, albeit a unique angle. It’s novel, not different. Fortnite’s mini-concert gives a glimpse of the future; not only was it enormous but it combined interests and activities in a new way.
Mixing interests is nothing new. Dinner theatre is basically culinary enthusiasts enjoying a dash of thespianism with their main course and that’s old as the hills. But trekkies who trail run? Trainspotters who fence? Footballers who love 30 Seconds? These don’t scale quite so well.
Fortnite’s got over 200 million players. Finding a niche audience within that is relatively easy.
Wanna listen to a live set from Maroon 5 while you play? If 0.1% of players are keen to join you that’s a 200 000 person gig. For perspective, selling out Wembley Stadium is around 100 000 people. Estimates for Marshmello’s set are around 10 million. Adele sold out 4 shows at Wembley in 2017. She would have had to do another NINETY SIX to match Marshmello. Let that sink in.
It’s not just gaming. Consider Peloton. Riding a bike in the comfort of your own home isn’t new; doing it alongside others while sharing an augmented experience is. Wanna race against Lance Armstrong? The tech (and money) is there to make it happen. A relaxed pedal along the the Van Gogh-Roosegaarde Bicycle Path while listening to a biography of the famous artist read by Anthony Hopkins. Pretty niche. But still probably doable. The same scalability is why Facebook Groups are growing in popularity.
The key concept is the intersectionality of interests.
Technology removes the barriers to execution, but finding a sweetspot where interests converge and complement will require creative, insightful thinking.
The possibilities are endless.
Harmonix, the makers of Guitar Hero and Rock Band, recently previewed Audica.
MMOFPS gaming is an enormous market; it isn’t hard to imagine a game like this offering live concerts where attendees aren’t just listening to a set from their favourite artist, but actively playing along. Highest score wins a prize. It’s a short hop from the Audica preview to a live Skrillex set the fan plays along to. The internet allows intersections of interests that were previously impossible. Increasingly, it will enable spectators to become participants.
A watershed in entertainment is coming. What do you wanna mix ‘n match?