The synergy between Esports and Music Industry has reached a new high this year. Esports has become one of the most profitable venture and from celebrities to execs everyone is vying for a piece of pie in this nascent but high returning market. The Esports boom started back in the year 2000 in Seoul, Korea with the forming of Korean Esports Association. At that time no one would have thought of brands and companies investing millions of dollars in leagues or players and teams. The Korean Government had a vision for this and took that plunge to invest in a game called Starcraft: Brood War. The game became viral and was televised throughout Korea to make its players overnight Epsorts celebritites.
Why to invest in Esports?
The revenue from PC games alone was projected to reach $1.1 billion by the end of last year, and then surpass $2 billion in 2021. Mobile Games have surpassed PC games and will continue to do so in the coming years. In 2018, Esports revenue is predicted to be $905 million, including $174m from advertising, $359m from sponsorship and $161m from media rights and content licensing. A 38% increase from 2017’s $655 million and the predicted viewership for the coming year is almost 427 million viewers.
A League of Legends Midseason Invitational final match became the most watched Esports match ever with 127 Million viewers. The viewing figures, as reported by Esports Charts, showed that 127,551,726 people tuned in to watch the match in total, with more than 126 million of those watching in the Chinese language and less than 150,000 in Korean.
Newzoo’s research said that SEA (SouthEast Asia) Market was the industry’s fastest growing region, now with 9.5M esports enthusiasts with 2.8M residing in Vietnam and 2.0M in Indonesia. This number is set to double by 2019. These are countries that have large populations, over 50% penetration of internet users, and over 40% penetration of active social media users.
Epsorts and Music Industry 2018
Music has played an important role in popularizing video games since the early days. 2018 saw the highest number of deals among companies that control a significant amount of IP and capital in Music and Esports. The two primary ways in which the music industry is working alongside Esports is by creating content for Esports Community and investing in Esports leagues and infrastructure.
Let us take a look at the current business trends in Esports x Music Industry.
1. Investments in Esports
Many A-list Musicians and Artists have invested heavily in Esports leagues this year. Imagine Dragons announced an investment in esports company ReKTGlobal, and subsequent co-ownership of esports league Rogue. Steve Aoki was one of the first artists to invest directly in the esports scene in 2016, when he bought a majority stake in Las Vegas-based e-sports team Rogue. A&R exec Scooter Braun and Hip Hop star Drake have became the co-owners of 100 Thieves which is considered to be the most valuable Epsorts franchise according to Forbes. Jennifer Lopez was part of a $15m funding deal for NRG.
Allied Esports is a Chinese company which specializes in building Esport arenas around the world. Esport leagues are attended by millions of people globally and watched by millions online. Some artists and record labels believe that music can help transform tournaments into definitive, must-see pop-culture moments that even rival the Super Bowl.
2. Music content for Esports Community
German electronic producer TheFatRat came up with an EP Warrior Songs which was made available for download in Dota 2 store and sold around 25,000 downloads in three days of its release. Universal Music Canada and Luminosity Gaming announced an exclusive partnership, allowing artists signed to Universal Music to advertise their music through Luminosity Gaming’s various social and digital platforms. Riot Games acts as both the label and distributor for most of its own game soundtracks and esports anthems and has direct relationships with streaming platforms like Spotify, where the official League of Legends account has over 1.9 million monthly listeners.
35% of esports enthusiasts in the US have a Spotify subscription. Spotify has over 83 million subscribers and has integration with gaming consoles like PlayStation and Xbox One to provide them and also labels with incremental revenue. Besides this, K/DA, the fictional K-Pop group created by Riot Games have their own artist page on Spotify. The music streaming service is actively involved in Epsorts community by putting out official playlists for various games.
End of Part 1.
Next article will cover other aspects related to Music x Esports like musical performances at Gaming Leagues, official anthems, Streaming service – Twitch and more. Stay tuned