The video game industry has been rapidly developing and growing every year, and 2020 did not disappoint with an estimated revenue that reportedly exceeded both sports and film combined. With such a boom industry wide, it seems like a perfect time to reflect on where the music industry fits into all of this, namely through sync licensing and brand partnerships.
It’s no secret that sync licensing has always been an effective way to both organically spike activity on a track and collect an upfront sync fee that can range from found money to a generous lump sum. However, with conventional forms of media such as television, film, and advertising, sometimes the impact isn’t lasting. This is why the gaming industry is so interesting in regards to sync – it provides moments of peak innovation that can and will stand the test of time.
Anyone who owned a console, remembers their first – whether it be Gameboy Color or N64, Playstation 1 or Xbox 360. It’s easy to recall the feeling of turning it on for the first time, reflecting at just how far games have come. There’s inevitable nostalgia connected to the full experience, an experience that almost always includes an original soundtrack or licensed music. Iconic franchises like Tony Hawk Pro Skater, Fifa, NBA 2K (and for those of us that remember, NBA Live), and Grand Theft Auto, to name a few, put the spotlight on the carefully curated soundtrack that helps to elevate the gameplay.
Where Does Sync Come In?
The Orchard Sync team has contributed to these gaming soundtracks through a couple different types of spots: diegetic sound, which is music or sound that originates from a source within the video game world, and non-diegetic sound, which is music or sound that does not originate from or interact with the video game world.
Our recent placements include:
Madden 2021 – “Work (ft. Saint Bodhi, Duckwrth)” by Nez (threesixzero)
Rocksmith – “Black,” “Angel’s Son,” and “Praise” by Sevendust (TVT)
Just Dance Streaming – “Here Comes the Hotstepper” by The Hit Crew (TUTM)
Grand Theft Auto V Online – “Pattern Channel (ft. SQ Diesel)” by ESSIE GANG (Black Butter)
Telling Lies – “Fever” by Halie Loren (Burnside)
On top of the in-game spots, there has also been a spike in virtual concerts held in gaming ecosystems, most notably through Epic Games’, Fortnite, Mojang’s Minecraft, and Roblox. A noteworthy aspect of launching these concert series, is that these gaming ecosystems have built in audiences with known demographics. This should enable artists to be plugged into potentially untapped markets that make sense for large growth opportunities.
Sync & Brand Partnerships
Here at The Orchard, we develop meaningful and authentic brand partnerships with our distributed artists and labels. For many acts, gaming is a passion, so we’ve collaborated with partners on everything from virtual events, social content, sessions, and more.
You may have noticed some of your favorite artists performing in Fortnite, Roblox, and Minecraft. Being able to be transported into these different worlds elevates the music and the connections to the musicians we love. Over the last few months, singer-songwriter Ruth B. (Downtown Records) performed a 10 song concert in Minecraft as part of a campaign with the Ad Council and She Can STEM that encouraged young girls to get creative in the Minecraft space.
Also in Minecraft, hip-hop trio Flatbush Zombies (The Orchard’s Artist Services) headlined Open Pit’s Lavapalooza, a two-day virtual music festival where their fans got to interact with the pixelated versions of the artists. Those who weren’t on Minecraft were able to stream the fest on Twitch.
Knowing what artists of ours are genuine gamers and discovering their favorite franchises and consoles is important to the Brand Partnerships team. Having this knowledge helps us connect the right talent to potential opportunities in the gaming space. Alt-rockers The Unlikely Candidates (The Century Family) shared their love of Call of Duty franchise with us, and when the new game Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War was dropping, we were able to get them early access as well as create content on social media to support a giveaway.
Because the group has a genuine love and passion for Playstation, when an opportunity to have talent as part of their Playstation Music Presents series came to light, we were able to successfully pitch The Unlikely Candidates. Check out The Unlikely Candidates talking about their favorite games for Playstation here.
The connection between music and gaming in brand partnerships will continue to evolve and develop. What’s most important is establishing authentic ties between the two industries to create these special experiences that allow gaming and music fans to feel connected and inspired.