Whether he meant to or not, Travis Scott made history with his so-called "Fortnite Concert." Let's look at the new future.
Whether he meant to or not, Travis Scott just made history.
A staggering 28 million people tuned in to his so-called “Fortnite Concert” on April 23, 2020. In an age of social distancing, has Scott unlocked the key to the future?
The COVID-19 pandemic launched a cottage industry of “virtual concerts.” From one-on-one intimate and unplugged sessions to ground-breaking Verzuz series, virtual concerts are a hit.
Back in 2017, Italian artist Vasco Rossi shattered concert attendance records when more than 200,000 people attended his concert in Modena Park.
Travis Scott had 100 times more attendees than Rossi during his Fortnite concert. And his new song “The Scotts” (featuring Kid Cudi) debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts thereafter.
Scott has tapped into something.
Historically, record labels have relied on three sources of income: touring, album sales, & merchandise.
The rise of the digital age saw an increase in streaming and download income. It also saw a rise in the dreaded 360 Deal, where labels take a piece of everything the artist creates.
Now that virtual concerts are here to stay, labels and content creators can generate yet another revenue stream. Advertisers, too, can advertise to almost-unlimited viewers. This makes this new wave of virtual concerts equally attractive.
For his part, Travis Scott is both a content creator and a record label. His imprint, Cactus Jack Records, turned a huge profit on the Fortnite Concert. Scott’s older songs have even re-entered the Billboard charts.
And in terms of dollars and cents, virtual concerts make the most sense. They provide the option for maximum profits against minimum costs.
That doesn’t mean “traditional concerts” are a dead deal. Certainly, people miss the shared communal experience. And there’s something to be said for the opportunity to travel to see your favorite band. It’s what made The Grateful Dead successful in the past. And it’s what makes The Dave Matthews Band successful today. Some artists are even experimenting with drive-in concerts.
Whether any virtual concert will ever be as big as Travis Scott’s is a mystery.
But the Fortnite concert provides another opportunity for artists to make money in an increasingly volatile industry.