Live concerts are over, videogames are the new music gigs. While Fortnite probably holds some kind of record for hosting the most concerts, film premieres and documentaries, it hardly holds a monopoly on virtual performances. Tonight, it’s Roblox‘ turn, as rapper Lil Nas X steps onto the game creation platform’s stage to premiere a new track in a somewhat blocky online show.
The Old Town Road artist’s gig kicks off tonight at 9 pm UK time. As teased on Twitter, Nas X’ll be debuting his new track Holiday in front of a crowd of stocky digital avatars.
These sorta in-game gigs have become big business in recent months. Sure, they’re invaluable alternatives to live music with the Covid-19 outbreak still in full swing, but it’s also worth not sleeping on the fact that they’re meeting their (often younger) audiences where they’re already at – in Fortnite, in Minecraft, and yeah, in Roblox.
This won’t be the first time Roblox has hosted music on its user-created game platform, either. Last month, a million Roblox’ers (?) queued up to watch pop artist Ava Max perform. But the game’s creators can’t have missed the massive success Epic have found in these blow-out concerts. There’s been a fascinating evolution in how Fortnite runs these gigs, too – starting from Marshmello’s relatively subdued virtual stage to a Travis Scott fever dream that took full advantage of existing in virtual space.
Granted, tonight’s show is probably the first time my old ears have heard of the artist headlining one of these virtual concerts. Even I, corrupted as I am by whiny folk punk and indie rock playlists, have heard Old Town Road.
While it tends to fly under our collective radar, it’s easy to forget that Roblox has a massive platform, one VG247 reports often exceeds Minecraft’s. I wouldn’t be shocked if we started seeing a similar push for the kind of brand promotions Fortnite brings in over the coming months and years.