Marshmello’s Fortnite Performance: Redefining a Live Music Concert

What is it that makes a great music concert? The atmosphere in the room, 1000s of voices singing along, feeling like you are just a few steps away from the artist? Well now perhaps all that can be achieved without even leaving your house. On 2nd February Mashmello, the DJ behind hits including ‘Happier’ with Bastille and ‘Friends’ with Anne Marie, played a live concert to 10 million people in the video game Fortnite. The largest of its kind, fans shared footage of the virtual reality concert that showed other gaming characters dancing besides them and a full stage production. The fan reactions online showed the concert went down a real treat, fitting for a DJ called Marshmello.

What makes me happiest about today is that so many people got to experience their first concert ever. All the videos I keep seeing of people laughing and smiling throughout the set are amazing. Man I’m still so pumped— marshmello (@marshmellomusic) February 3, 2019

The place of VR within music has been evolving over the past few years. In 2017 Coldplay teamed up with Samsung to film a concert during their Head Full of Dreams Tour that could then be played using their VR headsets, and last year Gorillaz held a virtual reality house party to celebrate the release of their new album, Humanz. Therefore, this transition to virtual live concerts within gaming seems a natural fit. However, Marshmello tweeted that for some people it was their first ever concert. To someone like myself, born pre 2000, the idea of somebody’s first concert being a virtual one is an alien concept, but it clearly highlights the impact of technology on live music for the younger generation.h

Despite its resounding success a few questions still surround the future of live concerts in gaming. For the music industry, the rise of streaming has reduced the income that songwriters and artists are able to make, and therefore the live music sector has become the industry’s main income source. If live concerts continue to move towards digital platforms, ensuring that songwriters are properly paid will become vital. On the other hand, holding concerts within games offers the chance to reach a much larger audience than is possible for a physical concert, and doesn’t incur the costs that come with the logistics of touring, so these concerts have the potential to be extremely profitable. Financials aside, this innovative concert by Marshmello and Fortnite offers just a glimpse of the future potential of virtual music concerts within video games.

Jennifer Hyman

Header Image Credit: Music Business Worldwide