Hybrid music and gaming start-up Five Vectors, headed up by former UMG and ESL execs, has raised US$1m in a funding round led by Bitkraft Esports Ventures
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IQ talks to the co-founder of music-gaming start-up Five Vectors about how music can propel esports’ entertainment value to the next level
By Anna Grace on 14 Nov 2019
Five Vectors, a start-up founded by former Universal Music Group and ESL executives, is on a mission to create “the first real baby” of the music and gaming space.
The company, which recently received US$1 million in seed funding from esports investor BitKraft, is aiming to “bridge the gap between the two worlds and create an end-to-end system”, creating and integrating music into games, streams and live esports events.
Esports has burst onto the entertainment scene in force in recent years, with revenues from the competitive gaming sector set to exceed US$1 billion in 2020. Esports events are now filling large-scale venues such as the O2 in London and New York’s Madison Square Garden with a host of new, purpose-built stadia also popping up to house the events.
However, for Five Vectors co-founder Andres Lauer, the role of music in the gaming space “is not being pushed to its limits”.
“All we’ve seen is the promotional angle, but no one is truly looking to understand what best fits the situation”
“All we’ve seen is the promotional angle – of pushing artists out there through gaming events – but no one is truly looking to understand what best fits the situation,” says Lauer, “so neither side is really benefiting.”
Lauer met fellow Five Vectors co-founder Wasae Imran while working on a multi-year partnership deal between Universal and esports giant ESL. Lauer, then head of digital strategy at the music company, dropped out shortly after the deal was signed, teaming up with ESL’s global head of video network, Imran, to work on a different kind of music/esports hybrid.
The Five Vectors team is looking at how music can be integrated into competitive gaming to “truly enhance the experience”. Lauer believes that the emotive and social qualities of music have the power to make physical and digital events much more immersive for players and for fans.
Working with gaming partners, the start-up creates data-driven profiles of the kinds of music that gamers, and those watching them, best respond to, and their research is revealing that the music best suited to esports events is not necessarily what would be expected.
“A lot of times dance music or mainstream pop tracks are used at esports events, but we found that often more instrumental music is preferred”
“A lot of times dance music or mainstream pop tracks are used [at esports events], but we found that often more niche music is preferred, and the arrangement always varies due to the curve of the game,” says Lauer.
Livestreaming also forms a big part of esports viewership, with those watching at home demanding a different kind of experience. EDM, for example, works in an arena but could be difficult in the livestream, states Lauer, so Five Vectors is looking to help create or find the right composition with pieces to fit a range of specific situations.
Once the company has identified the right kinds of music for the gaming space, the plan is to help artists, producers and independent labels find access and new ways of monetisation in the esports space, allowing them to flourish and grow their audience
“We are moving into a virtual age. The new generation identifies with their ‘online selves’ and is leading a more and more virtual lifestyle – this is why esports is so important to us,” says Lauer. “With Five Vectors, we are going to integrate music into this sector in completely new and engaging ways.”
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