Like the Marshemello concert in Fortnite that came before. Millions tuned in for the first Travis Scott “Astronomical” concert. According to the PR, it set a record at 12.3 million viewers for the first show.
The reviews were glowing. Everyone was blown away.
The only thing live about the concert was the audience.
Travis wasn’t performing live. No live singing over his avatar. No real-time motion capture of his performance.
It was all pre-recorded and pre-designed. It was more akin to an elaborate cut-scene than a live performance.
I had immediate flashbacks to the 2Pac hologram at Coachella.
Let’s not diminish the achievement here.
It must have taken a really good sized team a fair few months to put this together. And it shows.
It was a masterfully designed and executed experience. An incredible amount of care and attention making Travis a digital avatar that made him into a giant Hip Hop God.
The crowd loved it. Like really loved it. The Easter Eggs were abundant. Those that follow the Fortnite lore were already working double time to make videos for their viewers to dissect and debate in the Youtube comments section.
It’s ability to appeal to the casual fan and satisfy the hardcore was a great achievement.
So what was it?
Was it a music video?
It felt like it to me. It felt clear that the vision of the Artist came through. That’s the hallmark of all great videos.
But this WAS different. Like a real concert, you could move around and jostle for a better view. At one point, you were whizzed off into Space which was an incredible moment for fans of Fortnite.
Because not even Fortnite lets you easily go into Space. This was another nod to the community who try to glitch their way there, and also huge coup for this experience to actually take you there.
It also felt like I was being marketed to. An elaborate way to sell more streams or even Astroworld merch.
It was great marketing for Fortnite and clearly worked as App acquisition. Forcing you to download and signup to view the concert was such a pain — but a hoop I went through to view rather than watch via a stream.
The PR impressions on this must be Astronomical. Not just from the press but the countless people streaming to Twitch.
Was it one future of virtual concerts?
If it is one possible future of virtual concepts, then it needs to step it up. Yes you are making the artist literally larger than life and transporting the viewer to a set far beyond what’s possible IRL.
But. If you are afforded all the tools of being in a virtual environment then by all means explore those.
Let the Artist perform live.
The artist should be able sing live and broadcast. That energy and excitement makes the live performance. Otherwise it’s just an interactive music video.
Let the artist even perform beyond singing. We can use real-time motion capture to bring that performance into the world.
I don’t know the full details, but I feel the Fortnite “Star Wars” event was more ambitious as a live experience.
Let viewers be part of the show beyond passively watching.
Let’s go further.
Let viewers control or affect the show just like how they can in the Fortnite world. It would have been wild to have had Travis as a giant hulking boss and you collectively have to take him down to trigger a new sequence.
There could have been a sequence where the viewers had to shoot down targets and when each one explodes it could have triggered a sample — thus allowing the viewers to remix in realtime. It’s additive to the experience, doesn’t effect the main performance and then the viewers have a bigger impetus to share out the video after - they helped create that unique remix.
So many possibilities of this. Some might be hokey and corny. Some might not work. But put them out into the world and let the fans decide what’s right for them.
You’ll see a lot more of this. Right now it’s unique and a shiny object.
Brands and advertising will try to replicate it. Fortnite hold the keys. Their platform and community won’t let you in no matter how much money you want to throw at them.
The way in right now seems to be a partnership with an artist. How Lady Gaga and Intel have worked together to elevate creativity.
I’m a music snob but also hugely excited about what that would look and sound like.
To us all of this might be sacrilege but this isn’t for us.
It’s definitely a stepping stone to a future of music and performance.