Fortnite’s latest music move is a virtual event with rising British band easy life and London Venue the O2

Epic Games, the maker of popular battle royale game Fortnite, is making another move in music – this time in the UK with Island Records UK-signed alt pop band easy life.

On Thursday (June 24), easy life will headline what Epic Games calls an “interactive music experience” at a virtual recreation of London’s music venue The O2 arena, within Fortnite Creative.

Launched in 2018 as part of Fortnite Season 7, the Creative mode is described as a “sandbox” game within Fortnite, that lets players “design games, race around the island, battle your friends in new ways and build your dream Fortnite”.

The virtual event, a partnership between Epic Games, O2, Globe, which is Universal Music UK’s Commercial and Creative division, and Island Records UK, marks a number of firsts for Fortnite.

Constructed by a team of Fortnite creators, KKslider, DolphinDom and Team Cre8, The O2’s recreation in Fortnite will be the first time that the venue has appeared within a video game, while easy life will become the first UK act to perform in Fortnite Creative.

It’s not the first real-life venue to be created with an Epic Games-owned platform however. Back in March, Madison Beer, signed to Sony Music owned-Epic Records, performed a virtual concert within “a meticulous recreation” of New York City’s Sony Hall, which was created using Unreal Engine, the games engine developed by Epic Games.

Easy life’s interactive music experience in Fortnite is described in a media release as “much more than just a gig” with the band’s music and lyrics “influencing the world around players” during the performance.

During the show, attendees can virtually visit six areas, each inspired by a different track from the bands debut album life’s a beach, which entered the UK Album Chart at No.2 last month.

easy life and Fortnite have also created a brand new, in-game-only lobby track that “anyone can unlock and listen to” within Fortnite after attending the experience.

Epic Games’ collaboration with a Universal Music label-signed artist marks a change from the various Sony-related Epic Games headlines to hit these pages over the past 15 months.

Back in April last year, a virtual Travis Scott (Epic Records) performance was seen by 27.7 million viewers in Fortnite and in May last year, MBW discovered that Sony Music was building a team “dedicated to reimagining music through immersive media” using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine.

In July last year, Sony Music Group parent Sony Corporation acquired a minority stake in Epic Games, making a strategic investment of $250 million.

In April this year, Tokyo-based Sony Corp invested another $200 million into the US video game company, with this investment arriving within a new $1 billion funding round for Epic Games.

“Managing the project has been brilliant in so many ways.”

Jennifer Hills, Globe

Jennifer Hills, SVP Strategic Marketing & Partnerships at Globe, said: “Managing the project has been brilliant in so many ways.

“O2 continue to celebrate and innovate with The O2, not only creating a historic moment for the venue but creating the first opportunity for a UK band to play inside Fortnite Creative.

“It further demonstrates our ability to deliver all the aspects of brand activation on a global scale – bringing together the artists and the brands combined with the expertise of Mercury Studios, which is truly a unique offering.

“We have really enjoyed working with the biggest players in the industry to offer something special. We look forward to seeing people’s reactions.”

“This amazing partnership could not have come at a better time for easy life and everyone at Island.”

Louis Bloom, Island Records UK

Louis Bloom, President of Island Records UK, said: “This amazing partnership could not have come at a better time for easy life and everyone at Island following the great launch of life’s a beach.

“It has been a fantastic opportunity to collaborate alongside O2 – a massive player within the UK music scene now – Epic Games and of course our wonderful Universal Music Group colleagues at Globe who have pulled this whole initiative together.

“The band and their close-knit creative team have delivered something truly special and groundbreaking that is sure to capture the hearts and imagination of the millions of Fortnite players who may not have heard or seen easy life before.

“For Island to be working so closely with Globe to make easy life the first-ever UK act to play a concert within Fortnite Creative is hugely exciting!”

“We’re so excited for people to experience our set in the game.”

Murray Matravers, easy life

Murray Matravers, easy life frontman, said: “Being the first UK act to ever perform in Fortnite Creative, and for that performance to take place inside a venue as iconic as The O2, is truly humbling.

life’s a beach is a deeply personal album that marks the culmination of our life’s work and we can’t wait to finally perform it for our fans.

“We’re so excited for people to experience our set in the game – it promises to be a lot of fun and is just a taste of things to come ahead of our UK tour of O2 Academy venues later this year.”

Gareth Griffiths, Head of Sponsorship at O2, added: “We are delighted to bring such an incredible experience to O2 customers and music fans all over the world, collaborating with Fortnite creators and Island Records.

“O2 has a rich music heritage so it’s fitting that we’re bringing the world’s most popular entertainment venue into the world’s biggest game.

“We know how much everyone has missed going to live shows and we’re excited to bring the UK’s hottest up-and-coming band to music fans globally through The O2 in Fortnite Creative.”

Epic Games has been getting increasingly close to the music business over the past couple of years.

Marshmello set a precedent for large scale virtual events back in February 2019 when he played a live set to 10m people inside the game, but when COVID hit last year, Fortnite and the engine on which it’s created, Unreal Engine, became a prominent destination and development tool for virtual events during the pandemic year.

Easy life’s virtual performance also follows the likes of Kaskade, BTS, Travis Scott and Diplo in appearing in Fortnite.Music Business Worldwide

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