It seemed perfect; it was time for my Music Monday blog post, and there was a story about music in today’s Wall Street Journal. Should have been a no-brainer.
Except for when I read the story, I felt like I was the no-brainer since I had no idea what I had just read.
Here’s an excerpt:
For 10 minutes on Feb. 2, the shooter videogame put away its guns and transported players to a live virtual performance by the electronic-dance producer, who was visible as a digital avatar, with his signature marshmallow helmet.
The shooter videogame being referenced is Fortnite. I’ve certainly heard of it, but I’ve never seen it being played, let alone tried it myself.
And the electronic-dance producer is Marshmello, and not only was I not familiar with Marshmello’s music, I had never heard of him. So the first thing I did was try to look him up, and this is what I found, courtesy of Wikipedia:
Christopher Comstock (born May 19, 1992), known professionally as Marshmello, is an American electronic music producer and DJ. Marshmello wears a marshmallow mascot head for public appearances. He was named by Forbes in eighth place in their annual ranking of the world’s highest-paid DJs in 2017 as he earned $21 million in the twelve months before June 2017. Apparently there’s money in wearing a marshmallow-shaped helmet when you are out in public. Here’s a picture of Marshmello:
During the Marshmello concert, which attracted millions of viewers, the creators of Fortnite prevented participants from participating in the traditional competitive “Fortnite” experience for 10 minutes. Instead, players were placed in front of a virtual stage, where they danced and were thrown in the air in time with the music’s thumping beats. While millions saw the concert, individuals experienced it with a few dozen other players, similar to how “Fortnite” divides players into 100-person matches.
Marshmello performed live from a studio, playing his hit songs and urging the audience to dance. The concert was free, though players could buy virtual costumes, weapons, and dance moves specially designed for the event. A costume with a marshmallow head cost $15. A Marsh Walk dance move, also known as an emote, went for $5.
Here’s the video from the performance, which has been viewed over 22 million times.
Analysts at Loup Ventures estimate the Marshmello promotion racked up more than $30 million in sales of virtual goods, compared with between $5 million and $10 million on a typical day.
And what did Marshmello get out of it?
According to Midia Research analyst Mark Mulligan, “instead of playing to an audience of existing fans, Marshmello was handed, on a plate, millions of new fans in an instant, who felt like they were part of something.” Data from Nielsen Music suggests Marshmello’s set was a hit. Online listening to the DJ’s music skyrocketed following the event, including a 241-fold increase for video streams of “Check This Out”—one of the songs he performed during the concert.
It seems like a long way from going to a live concert, surrounded by 20,000 other screaming fans.
But if this kind of virtual event brings people together to share a musical experience and perhaps be exposed to a new genre of music, then that seems like a good thing.
*image from Wall Street Journal