Games developer Riot Games, which is owned by Tencent, has become fairly well-known for working with superstar artists.
Founded in 2006, the Los Angeles-headquartered company is the developer and publisher behind hit games like League of Legends, Valorant and the award-winning Netflix animated series Arcane.
Arcane premiered at No.1 globally on Netflix in November 2021 and held the top spot for three weeks in a row, hitting the Top 10 in over 87 countries. Enemy, the hit single by Imagine Dragons from the original soundtrack, has reached over two billion streams, with 1.28 billion on Spotify alone.
League of Legends (LoL) is one of the most-played competitive games in the world. According to Activeplayer, LoL averages 144 million active players in a 30-day period.
Imagine Dragons also performed the track Warriors as the anthem for the League of Legends World Championship in 2020.
In 2021, the anthem was called Burn It All Down, by American band Pvris, and in 2022, it was performed by Lil Nas X with Star Walkin’. You can see Lil Nas X’s performance from the 2022 World Championship Finals Opening Ceremony below:
This year, the artists selected to perform the 2023 League of Legends World Championship anthem are HYBE-signed rising K-Pop superstars NewJeans, with a track called GODS.
The track and video will be released at 10 p.m. PT on October 3.
It’s not hard to see why an artist would want to perform the anthem for The League of Legends World Championship.
Also known as ‘Worlds’, it is one of the most widely viewed e-Sports tournaments, with Worlds 2021 generating an average minute audience (AMA) of over 30 million, with 73 million peak concurrent users and over 1 billion hours watched. It’s among the largest and most popular gaming and sporting events in the world.
This year, the competition will be held in NewJeans’ home country of South Korea.
NewJeans’ song was written by Riot Games principal composer Sebastien Najand and Alex Seaver of Mako, whose co-writing credits include Legends Never Die, RISE, Awaken, and multiple songs on the Arcane soundtrack.
Signed via ADOR, a label under HYBE led by Hee Jin Min, NewJeans debuted last summer and scored a No.1 album on the Billboard 200 in August this year.
The group was also one of HYBE’s top sellers in the first half of the year (see below).
“We’re honored to be partnering with NewJeans for Worlds 2023 – both a historic breakthrough year for the group and momentous for esports fans as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of Worlds anthems,” said Maria Egan, Global Head of Music & Events at Riot Games Entertainment.
“We’re honored to be partnering with NewJeans for Worlds 2023 – both a historic breakthrough year for the group and momentous for esports fans as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of Worlds anthems.”
Maria Egan, Riot Games
Egan joined Riot Games’ entertainment division in May 2022, having previously served as Chief Music Officer at music creation marketplace Splice, since June 2020. Prior to Splice, Egan was President and Head of Creative at Los Angeles-based music company PULSE Music Group.
Added Egan: “NewJeans joins the ranks of superstars such as Imagine Dragons, Zedd, and Lil Nas X who have helped make the anthem such an iconic moment for our community.”
“Between Worlds taking place in Korea and NewJeans’ meteoric rise, this partnership felt fated as a true cultural celebration.”
Carrie Dunn, EPic Games
Commenting on the news, Carrie Dunn, Global Head of Creative, Esports at Riot Games, said: “The Worlds Anthem is the rallying cry for our community every year, and we’re so excited to partner with NewJeans to deliver this incredible moment.
Added Dunn: “Between Worlds taking place in Korea and NewJeans’ meteoric rise, this partnership felt fated as a true cultural celebration. GODS juxtaposes epic and intense production elements with NewJeans’ beautiful and powerful vocals – conveying both the grind and the glory that awaits our players at Worlds.
“We don’t want to spoil too much of the music video, but expect to see familiar faces and unforgettable moments reimagined as we follow Deft’s story from its beginning in 2013 to his victorious World Championship last year.
“Allies becoming adversaries is a story all athletes can relate to, and we think ‘GODS’ will set the stage for what’s bound to be an incredible Worlds.”
“It was a new experience for all of us. It was fun to try a new genre and sound.”
NewJeans said: “It was a new experience for all of us.
“It was fun to try a new genre and sound. Through this collaboration, we are happy to present a song that incorporates both NewJeans’ and League of Legends’ unique colors. We hope it brings you a new sense of empowerment!”
Riot Games launched its own (virtual) K-pop girl group, K/DA at the 2018 League of Legends World Championship. The four K/DA members – Ahri, Akali, Evelynn and Kai-sa – are promotions for skins that can be purchased in the game.
K/DA is composed of singers Madison Beer and Jairan Burns, as well as I-dle members Miyeon and Soeyeon. Their first single, Pop/Stars, has had 302 million streams on Spotify, and the band has more than 3 million monthly listeners on the platform. Several other tracks of theirs have surpassed the 100-million-streams mark.
The video for Pop/Stars, on the League of Legends YouTube channel, has had 551 million views, while a more recent track, MORE, has clocked 184 million views. They have 290,000 followers on TikTok, and nearly 540,000 on Instagram.Music Business Worldwide