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“The next gen is virtual”: Five Vectors on the rise of esports

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.

Major music industry players including DEAG, AEG, CAA, MSG, TEG and Vivendi have pricked up their ears at esports’ potential, investing in or partnering with those operating in the gaming space.

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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Five Vectors receives $1m from esports investor

Five Vectors, a start-up bridging the gap between the music and gaming industries, has raised US$1 million in seed funding, in a round led by esports investment specialist Bitkraft Esports Ventures.

Five Vectors was founded earlier this year by former Universal Music Group executive Andres Lauer and ex-ESL executive Wasae Imran, and is based out of Los Angeles and Berlin.

Combining the two founders’ expertise, the company produces music for esports tournaments, leagues, games and teams, working in partnership with gaming industry publishers and esports organisations.

Five Vectors has created music for esports league Rainbow Six Siege, SK Gaming’s League of Legends team and the Japanese esports projects of creative gaming agency PlayBrain, among others.

Currently, Five Vectors initiatives engage over 4m gamers, with 600,000 monthly active users, and its artists collectively have more than 15m streams on Spotify.

“Music and games are coming together in new ways”

The funding will be used to attract additional music talent and to make music more accessible to game publishers, platforms, teams, leagues and creators across the gaming and esports industries.

“We are extremely proud to welcome the Bitkraft Esports Ventures family as an investor in Five Vectors,” says Lauer, CEO and co-founder of Five Vectors. “We see a powerful overlap between music and gaming and created Five Vectors to fill the gap in the industry by providing customised music solutions for the global gaming audience.

“Music and games are coming together in new ways,” says Bitkraft founder and managing partner, Jens Hilgers. “With our investment in Five Vectors, we are supporting an incredibly ambitious team that has subscribed itself entirely to music experiences and technology in gaming and esports.”

Esports revenues are on track to exceed $900m this year as more and more sponsors and investors show interest in the competitive gaming sector.

Live music-related companies that have invested in, or partnered with, major esports competitions and teams in recent years include DEAG, AEG, CAA, TEG and MSG.


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