Leveraging the gaming world to score new fans

It’s just after 11pm on a lazy Wednesday night. You worked late; perhaps you even just got back from a long evening of studying after dinner. So, you do the natural thing and log-on to play some COD… (it’s Call of Duty… nube!) You’re feeling a bit rambunctious so you swing the old headset on and start sniping fools left and right. Headshot here, headshot there… you know, the usual. You’ve noticed a pretty dope soundtrack playing in the background. It’s a little electronic blended with a touch of hip-hop, and it seems as those breakdowns line up perfectly for your big kills. You’re in the zone and the hours fly by thanks to this killer playlist and, well, your killer kills.

Realizing it’s well after your usual bedtime, you log-off the video game and onto the Internet in search of the music that carried you to this point.

Walking to class/work/the gym/etc. the next morning, do we even need to mention what you’re listening to?

Traditionally, this is how musicians and performers have leveraged the gaming industry to find new fans. And it has worked over time. But the times, they are a changin’ and with them, artists have started to change to.

Take world-famous disc jockey DeadMau5 for example. For a moment let’s set aside the fact that his concerts look like something out of a video game and focus on the fact that his music, now used in some games, was first influenced by game. In a 2016 issue of Rolling Stone, the artist gave a nod to the old Nintendo game, Castlevania, for influencing his music. But even DeadMau5 knows simply being heard in a video game isn’t enough anymore.

That same article details how the DJ invited some professional gamers to a COD (see first paragraph) tournament and live-streamed the entire thing in front of a TON of viewers. And for that, he was rewarded with fanship from the gaming community and has since hosted many other events, gaining sponsors, and raking in the dough.

DeadMau5 isn’t the only one cashing in on the gaming boom though. In addition to the EDM world, hip-hop is working its way into the mix as well.

I Only Love Fortnite and My Momma: Sorry, NOT Sorry

It was only a few months ago when a pair of hip-hop giants and perhaps, the world’s most popular streaming game collided in the best way possible.

Back in March, Drake and Travis Scott got into cahoots with Twitch streamer, Ninja. Twitch is a live-streaming video platform, which, much like everything else, is owned by Amazon.

If ya don’t know, now ya know.

Anyways, the trio worked through Fortnite maps in a hunt for the ever-elusive Battle Royale, for hours. Guess how many people watched at once? 600,000 concurrent viewers were enough to knock out the reigning number of 288,000 for an individual stream.

That’s bonkers!

In addition to gaining exposure in front of all of those users, the three walked away with a nice payday.

Think about that from a marketing standpoint for a moment. In addition to gaining access to the interests of all of those people, you introduced yourself with the best “digital handshake” possible.

In addition to straight merkin’ some fools, Drake made himself relatable. The discussion of pineapple on pizza came up. (By the way, that’s delicious) They even got a bit nerdy, talking about ways to develop Fortnite further. Talk about getting to know your audience?!

This is a far cry from the days when rapper, Redman dropped lines like:

“My dress code is all black when I’m makin’ the moves. Similar to the new Playstation 2.”

Don’t get me wrong, there were probably a few people who went out and bought Red’s CD in addition to a new PS2, but nothing like more than 600,000 people, all at once, getting to know you through your gaming interface.

The lesson here is this: as the way we live our lives continues to evolve, those who “sell” to us have to evolve with us. Sometimes that means throwing a guitar pick into the crowd, and sometimes that means picking up the controller and really getting to know who’s listening to your stuff.

Rebecca Smart Bakken

Rebecca Smart Bakken

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About Me


Hi there! I’m Rebecca, a world citizen and digital marketing nomad.

Some of you may have also seen me on HGTV´s show “Beach Around the World”.

Over the years, I’ve made a name for myself in the tech/ startup industry by helping 250+ startups scale with growth hacking strategies.

Now I want to help musicians and artists to promote their music and engage better with fans on social media.

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