Concerts in video games aren’t a new thing, though still relatively novel. Minecraft music festivals like Block by Blockwest and concerts from performers 100 Gecs, Grandson, Anamanaguchi, and others were happening in 2016. Video game concerts go as far back as the life simulator Second Life which had a live concert with Suzanne Vega in 2006. All of this is to say that concerts inside video games are not a new phenomenon, but were only given new life in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the beginning of quarantine, many big name rappers have hosted virtual concerts with the support of various video game companies. The first of which was Travis Scott’s Fortnite concert, followed by Lil Nas X’s Roblox concert, and most recently occurring with Post Malone’s partnership with the Pokémon Company. All the mentioned events have shown renowned success, so much so that it begs the question of could this trend shape the future of concerts to come?
Obviously, a virtual concert will never surpass the real life experience. I’m sure that as soon as vaccines are mass distributed and public events are safe, we will return to business as usual. While the answer isn’t as clear as a “yes or no,” it does offer an interesting look at new avenues of entertainment that have only been globally realized due to current pandemic circumstances. Smaller artists are suffering financially due to an inability to do tours and live shows, which many artists make a living from. There is also the acknowledgement of targeting younger audiences for these virtual concerts, as they can’t as easily go to see live shows. Much like how the film industry has irrevocably changed from the closure of movie theatres and the full embrace of streaming, the music industry must be aware of the foreshadowed changes the success digital concerts has wrought.
This is all just speculative, but stranger things have happened. Who knows.
P.S. I went to the Lil Nas X Roblox “experience.” It was okay. The Minecraft Rat Rave from this January was better.