In recent times, we've seen an explosion of EDM and eSports crossovers. Due to the high-tech nature of both mediums, video games and electronic music have gone hand-in-hand for decades. As eSports have quickly become an international sensation, its symbiotic relationship with electronic music has led to the inevitable intertwining of the two major entertainment forces.
To highlight eSports and electronic music's peanut butter and jelly-like relationship, we've compiled a list of some of the biggest ways our favorite music is being incorporated in the eSports world and vice versa. Since artists streaming games themselves has become so common, this list will focus more on actions that affect the industries as a whole.
Music Licensing for Streamers
On many of the popular live streaming websites, using music without permission can get your stream temporarily suspended or banned. If your stream is monetized, you can also get your advertising revenue diverted to the artists whose music you used without permission. While this seems like it would lead to many awkwardly quiet streams, the labels, artists, and platforms have found a way to let you use music from some of your favorites. Some labels and artists now enable streamers to purchase licenses that allow them to use their music in their streams without risk of penalty, and with the ability to collect advertising revenue as usual.
For example, a major player in both the video game and electronic music worlds, Monstercat allows streamers and content creators to pay a small fee per month to use the label's music in their content on Twitch, Mixer, and even YouTube. With more labels and artists recognizing the immense popularity in live streaming, it seems very likely more will adopt a similar approach in due time.
While including artists' music in live streams is a great way to build a brand, some have skipped that step and jumped into the video game entirely. Many will remember Fortnite's massive Marshmello in-game event which allowed players to attend an in-game concert from the masked EDM star. The event would become one of the biggest gaming and EDM crossovers to date and break the concurrent player record for the popular battle royale game.
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The game would later add Major Lazer to their roster of characters, further expanding on its commitment to electronic dance music. These events are such a big deal due to their temporary nature and the fact that they are streamed by a large majority of the major eSports stars and personalities leading to millions of viewers as well as players.
We've seen artists include their music and likenesses in streams and games, but some have taken things to the next level (pun intended) and participated in major eSports events. At the Fortnite World Cup over the summer, artists like Marshmello, Alison Wonderland, RL Grime and more competed in the celebrity Pro-AM with the latter of the three winning the competition for the second time. It's also worth noting that Marshmello and the streaming mega-star Ninja won the first iteration of the same competition.
Alongside participating in the various tournaments, some major EDM acts have got behind the decks during the festivities. Some notable examples include Zedd's performance at the 2019 Overwatch League Grand Finals as well as Alan Walker, The Crystal Method, and more at the League of Legends World Championship.
eSports Star-Powered Albums
We've gone over EDM stars invading various video games and tournaments, but the reverse is also true. Some of the biggest streaming and eSports personalities in the world have burst into the EDM world with their own albums. Ninja teamed up with Astralwerks to give us Ninjawerks Vol. 1 which featured original music from Alesso, Kaskade, NERO, Tiësto and more.
On the heavier end of the electronic spectrum, Disciple Records joined forces with the massive content creators and EDM fans JERICHO and Miniladd for their albums Disciple X Jericho and Disciple X Miniladd, which featured tracks from Virtual Riot, Pegboard Nerds, 12th Planet, and more.
Artist-Powered Gaming Teams
Realizing their passion for the nerdiest portion of the entertainment industry, some of EDM's biggest names have either founded or invested in eSports teams. Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike announced their team SMASH Esports in the fall of 2019 while Getter's team Chaqatas was announced at the beginning of the same year. While they didn't found their teams like the previously mentioned artists, Nicky Romero joined Steve Aoki and Imagine Dragons and became an investor in ReKTGlobal helping the eSports industry gain even more traction worldwide.