Fortnite to Host More Metaverse Concerts
Radio conglomerate iHeartMedia is set to establish its own dedicated space in the Fortnite metaverse where it will host concerts and events.
iHeartMedia’s virtual park in Fortnite is named iHeartLand and is being built up using Fortnite’s creative mode. The virtual space will have different sections.
The park features the main stage which is dubbed State Farm Park. This main stage has been established in collaboration with the insurance company State Farm. The virtual park will also feature mini-games as well as iHeartMedia’s virtual “headquarters”. As the park evolves, the mini-games are also likely to change. On launch day, there will be a handful of games such as car racing, a building game as well as an obstacle course.
The virtual headquarters will have a virtual broadcast recording studio as well as a replica of a tunnel similar to the one in iHeart’s real New York headquarters. iHeartMedia hasn’t revealed what its recording studio will be for. It is possible the radio network’s presenters are likely to hop into the digital space and record event commentary.
The State Farm Park stage has a huge screen where users can watch performances; a red carpet for snapping selfies; a lawn area where vendors are selling emotes and virtual fireworks for gold. You earn gold when you play the mini-games. The gold currency is exclusive to iHeartLand. It isn’t clear whether the exclusivity will also be applicable to the emotes or whether they will be available on other platforms outside Fortnite.
Although iHeartLand was built using the Fortnite creative mode, it is still an independently created experience that is not linked in any way to Epic Games.
Fortnite will host 20 events over the next 12 months. The first of these events is a Charlie Puth prerecorded concert performance that will be shown on September 9th. This concert will showcase new tracks from Charlie Puth’s upcoming album. Players who take participate in the concert get the opportunity to win gold when they take part in a trivia game that will be hosted by the musician. On October 7th, a screening of a separate album release party will also take place in iHeartLand. In this Fortnite concert performance, Puth does not appear as a digital avatar which is different from other virtual concerts like those of Travis Scott and Ariana Grande where the artists appear in the form of a virtual Fortnite character. The Puth concert was prerecorded for 2D screening in the metaverse on iHeartLand’s State Farm Park stage.
iHeartLand is part of iHeartMedia’s big Web3 investments as the radio network pivots toward younger audiences. There have been other metaverse-based marketing stunts by entertainers in the past two years. Ariana Grande’s Fortnite performance was a highlight and was widely successful, being attended by 27.7 million unique users. It also attracted 12.3 million concurrent users.
Stats such as those are attractive to many marketing teams and iHeartMedia is probably hoping to replicate similar successes. However, the most successful metaverse-based performances involved big names who already had star power and whose shows were widely publicized. It remains to be seen whether the younger demographic iHeartMedia is targeting will be just as excited about watching a prerecorded concert in the metaverse relayed in a 2D screen in iHeartLand.
However, iHeartLand and State Farm are also showing a willingness to make adjustments if their metaverse play flops. iHeartMedia’s chief marketing officer Gayle Troberman told The Hollywood Reporter that the virtual park collab could “evolve differently and dramatically” depending on player preferences.