Let the music play with Fortnite!

Photo cover by: Erik Mclean
Written by: Rémi Bouton
Published Mar 05, 2021
4 min read
  • Cyril Delon
    Cyril Delon
    Global Head of Creative Marketing
  • Valentin Guérin
    Valentin Guérin
    Digital Marketing Manager ASD France

As video gaming continues to grow around the world with larger audiences, artists are increasingly using video games to promote their universe and renew the way they connect with their fans. More than that, we can easily say that the whole music industry is now taking this global phenomenon into account in its business and marketing approach. No one can ignore it anymore.

Much more than a video game

Remember Minecraft? Well, Fortnite is not that different: just like Minecraft offers its players to build their own world and battle mobs, the ‘battle royale’ game created by Epic Games allows people to parachute down to an island, either alone or in teams, to fight a battle and construct buildings. All this for free, from a computer or a smartphone. The video game had all the assets from the start to become a worldwide success and attract the attention of high-profile artists and their teams.

But make no mistake: Fortnite's potential extends beyond the boundaries of a simple video game. As a matter of fact, it has been known in the past within the music industry for hosting several virtual concerts, with performances by Marshmello, Diplo, Steve Aoki, Deadmau5 and Travis Scott alone who reunited 12 million players. This impressive result is a testament to Epic Games' expertise in creating unifying events that are unprecedented in the world of gaming.

And Fortnite wants to go further. It must be said that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased artists’ demand for digital platforms that would allow them to reach their quarantined audience, and vice versa. Epic Games has created a brand-new Los Angeles studio built specifically for in-game concerts. It has a massive LED wall and floor and robocams that can be operated remotely. It’s all part of a bigger plan to turn Fortnite’s virtual stage into a must for artists.

In the future, the team at Epic is hoping to deploy mixed and augmented reality effects. Touring artists will be able to step on this Fortnite stage for a unique digital experience. A way to get in front of an audience that they would maybe not reach through other means.

Artists take over creative games

But it's not only the concerts streamed live from LA. In addition to its flagship game, Fortnite has opened up the possibility for gamers to create their own game maps. In Believe’s Parisian headquarters, an idea emerged. Valentin Guerin, digital marketing manager at Believe, had always been a big fan of online video games. When Fortnite launched this new feature, he came up with the idea of using it to promote an artist's musical universe.

“No other artist could better benefit from this than Jul”, he says. « It suits perfectly to his universe. Fortnite is free, popular, with a global reach. This meant something for Jul, who wishes to remain accessible to everyone ».

French rapper and phenomenon Jul was immediately seduced by the concept: a plus for his big fanbase, and a way for other Fortnite users to discover him. Valentin Guerin called on experts in map creation on Fortnite, influencers Nokss and Vertigo, to create 2 immersive Epic Games's Fortnite maps for the release of Jul’s new album.

Jul x Fornite

"Three days before the release of 'La Machine', Jul's 20th album, we have published the codes for the two immersive Fortnite’s maps on Jul's social networks and the fans got a hold of them. » And it was a tremendous success: 180,000 players in only 6 days, while the album reached a Gold Certification 10 days following the release! Impressive but not that surprising: that is what you can achieve with Fortnite if you do it well.

« We have identified three types of spin-offs: the 180,000 players, media spin-offs in the music and video gaming world, and finally, via UGCs, streamers and gaming influencers, who have a strong presence on social platforms and have generated more than 1.5 million Youtube views », says Guerin. 

This success for one of the current best-selling music French artists shows how much gaming and music can achieve when combined. 

The gaming business is more important than the music or movie business and our audiences are there too. It's a lever that's going to become more and more crucial, like social media.

Cyril Delon, Global Head of Creative Marketing at Believe

Artists need alternatives to the traditional streaming and distribution platforms, and there is a new world to build with video games like Fortnite. « It is clear that video games are becoming essential in the development of our artists », he predicts. 

« I am proud of what Valentin has done. He was able to bring an innovative idea to life and, by exploiting Fortnite's organic features, allow a major French artist to propose a unique experience to gamers without going through partnerships made for international celebrities. It's clever. And inventive », adds Cyril Delon.

« It was an opportunity to make a splash and to clear new territories. That's what we like to do at Believe and that's our main strength », concludes Valentin Guerin.