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Ariana Grande to headline Fortnite’s Rift Tour

Ariana Grande will be the next artist to perform an in-game concert for the hugely popular multiplayer video game, Fortnite.

The Grammy award-winning artist is set to headline the forthcoming Rift Tour, a virtual ‘musical experience’ that will take place within the online game.

The Rift Tour comprises five shows in early August: Friday 6 August at 18:00 ET, Saturday 7 August at 14:00 ET and Sunday 6 August at 00:00 ET, 10:00 ET and 18:00 ET.

“Working with Epic and the Fortnite team to bring my music to life inside the game has been so fun and such an honour,” says Grande. “I can’t wait to join my fans and see all of your reactions to such an unforgettable, magical journey to new realities.”

“Fortnite is a place for the imagination and the impossible”

Fortnite is a place for the imagination and the impossible. With the Rift Tour, we’re bringing a musical journey to life that players can experience, feel, and join alongside their friends,” says Phil Rampulla, head of brand for Fortnite developer Epic Games.

“We’re so grateful to have an iconic superstar like Ariana Grande and her team join us for a musical experience at metaverse scale, and for players and fans alike to experience the Rift Tour!”

Republic Records-signed Ariana Grande is the latest artist to perform within Fortnite, after the likes of Marshmello, Travis Scott, Steve Aoki, Deadmau5, Easy Life and J. Balvin.

The singer’s performance follows a virtual show at the in-game O2 in June, which was performed by the UK act Easy Life.

The iconic London venue became the first real-world arena to get its own venue in Fortnite. 

Watch a teaser for Ariana Grande’s appearance on the Rift Tour below.

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IMS: Covid-19 set to cost electronic sector $4bn

After slight growth in 2019, the value of the global electronic music industry is estimated to fall by 56% this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the latest edition of the annual International Music Summit (IMS) business report has revealed.

The yearly report, which is usually presented at the IMS conference in Ibiza, this year cancelled due to the pandemic, states the value of the electronic is sector is set to fall from $7.3 billion to $3.3bn this year, with dance and electronic clubs and festivals set to lose 75% of their income, equivalent to $3.3bn.

By 20 April, around 350 electronic music festivals had been cancelled or postponed, the majority in Germany, with almost 9 million fans unable to attend. According to event discovery and ticketing platform Skiddle, around 4,000 electronic music events in total have been affected by Covid-19 so far.

In Ibiza alone, 2m club tickets were sold last year, with clubbers spending €260m and contributing €500m to the local economy. Bigger clubs and mid-sized venues (over 300-cap.) on the island are to remain shut this season.

DJ and artist income is predicted to fall by as much as 61%, from $1.1bn in 2019 to $400m in 2020. Earnings of the top-ten electronic artists had increased 4% year-on-year in 2019, with the Chainsmokers ($46m) and Marshmello (40m) coming in as the highest earners.

Despite a bleak outlook for 2020, the IMS report notes that the positive trends that led to growth in 2019 – the first since 2016 – “should help fuel a strong recovery in the coming years”.

“The value of the global electronic music industry is estimated to fall be 56% this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic”

The report also details the sector’s livestreaming success. It it predicted that streaming will grow by 18% in 2020, with continued growth expected to generate around $100m in additional revenue for the dance and electronic sector this year.

In May 2020, seven of the ten most watched music streamers on Twitch were electronic focused, totalling 6m viewer hours. EDM promoter Insomniac racked up 2.6m viewers hours by running virtual versions of their events, including the Electric Daisy Carnival rave-a-thon. The promoter is putting on digital editions of Secret Project, Peekaboo and Awakening festivals later this month.

The IMS report also shows that DJs who performed in the video game Fortnite, following the initial success of Marshmello, saw their Instagram followers grow by ten times during and after the event.

Dillon Francis, Steve Aoki and Deadmau5 played the launch of the game’s virtual hang-out Party Royale mode, adding a collective 55,000 to their Instagram followers in four days.

Overall, however, it is believed that livestreamed events, as well as other alternatives including drive-in shows and socially distanced club nights, are “unlikely to be commercially viable, with live streams serving predominantly to raise money for good causes and capacities art physical shows greatly reduced.

Some platforms have started to adapt to paid-for models, the report notes, with Soundcloud introudincing a ‘support link’ button for fan contributions; TikTok launching ‘donation stickers’ for good causes; and Festicket allowing the sale of merchandise. Brands including Coca-Cola, Amazon and Henieken have also sponsored DJ live streams.

The full report is available to download here.


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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Fortnite launches Party Royale with Steve Aoki, Deadmau5 shows

Epic Games, developer of Fortnite, has announced another in-game concert, this time featuring dance music DJs Dillon Francis, Steve Aoki and Deadmau5.

The Party Royale Premiere event, which celebrates the launch of a new mode of the same name, will take place today (Friday  8 May) at 9pm ET (1am GMT), with a rebroadcast at 2pm (7pm GMT) on Saturday.

Party Royale is set on a new violence-free map with no weapons allowed, and comes as Epic seeks to increase the number of music events in Fortnite and grow the game as a space for online meet-ups, following Travis Scott’s record-breaking pre-recorded performance last month.

After the show, players on the Party Royale island will be able to “try aerial obstacle courses at Skydive Rift, participate in boat races at Fishsticks’ Boat Race and grab new items in the Plaza”, the BBC reports.


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“Golden age” for Benicassim as 177k attend in 2017

Festival Internacional de Benicàssim (FIB) festival director Melvin Benn has said the Spanish festival is entering a “new golden age” after its 2017 edition attracted more than 177,000 people over four days.

Benicassim 2017 – headlined by Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Weeknd, Kasabian, Foals, Deadmau5 and Spanish band Los Planetas – took place from Thursday 13 to Sunday 16 July, protected by what Spanish paper El País calls the “largest safety device” in the history of music festivals in the region: a security perimeter around the festival site, closed to vehicles.

Speaking to El País, Benn says 2017 marked the beginning of a “new golden age for FIB, and we want it to last a long time”, while Javier Moliner Gargallo, president of Castellón’s legislature, calls the festival the “jewel in the crown” of the province.

“It was the best FIB of the decade”

He also praises the “courage” of Benn, whom he credits with turning around the formerly struggling festival “in just four years.”

“It was the best FIB of the decade,” he says. “We have even bigger ambitions for 2018, and we are going to make them a reality.”

A total of 161,100 festivalgoers attended last year’s 21st FIB, which was hailed in the Spanish press as “rebirth” for the event after years of dwindling crowds and financial mismanagement. The festival’s promoter, Maraworld, was jointly acquired from Vince Power by SJM Concerts and Denis Desmond’s MCD in 2013.


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Hurdl raises $2.5m after successful Techstars demo

Nashville tech start-up Hurdl – whose Pixl LED wearables and SMS-based marketing platform allow promoters and artists to connect directly with audiences at live events – has raised US$2.5 million in seed funding following its presentation at the Techstars Music Accelerator demo day on 18 May.

Hurdl was one of 11 music start-ups to participate in the new Techstars programme, which culminated with an LA demo day where businesses pitched to a room full of investors and music industry execs.

The new, unnamed investors are drawn from a range of entertainment and sports organisations, says Hurdl, including the National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, record label 300 Entertainment, production company PRG and broadcasters CBS and CNBC.

The company bills the Pixl, an illuminated wristband handed out to concertgoers on entry, as improving the live experience for both fans and artist/promoter/venue – the former by allowing a greater degree of interactivity with the event, and the latter through collecting all-important audience data.

After opting in using a code bundled with the Pixl, attendees are asked a series of questions via text message to gather data for the event’s organiser. The wristband, meanwhile, can be illuminated different colours by the show’s lighting director – including on the basis of the questions asked, turning attendees into a human light show with unique colours for specific genders, birthdays, musical tastes or favourite sports teams.

“Hurdl can collect unique data in a way that is engaging for fans and improves the overall live event experience”

It was trialled in April at a series of Deadmau5 shows at the Shrine Auditorium (6,300-cap.) in Los Angeles. Analytics from the events showed nine out of ten concertgoers completed five or more questions, producing a 364% increase in the number of conversions compared to traditional advertising, including ‘likes’ on social media.

“For example,” explained founder and CEO Betsy McHugh, a former CAA agent, at the demo day, “we learned that Deadmau5 has more PlayStation users [as fans] in LA than Xbox users, and that their favourite music streaming platform is Spotify, with less than 1% on Amazon’s new streaming platform.

“Insights like these enable us to connect artists and brands with highly qualified marketing leads, knowing how best to reach and engage with each individual fan based on their unique preferences. Perhaps most importantly, the Deadmau5 activation proved that Hurdl can collect unique data in a way that is engaging for fans and improves the overall live event experience.”

While the primary mode of interaction is by text message, McHugh says Hurdl also has an API that be integrated into mobile apps.

According to Crunchbase, Hurdl has so far raised $3.28m in two funding rounds.


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