Sony Music unveils ‘next generation immersive music experiences’ for Fortnite and Roblox

In 2020, MBW broke the news that Sony Music was building a team ‘dedicated to reimagining music through immersive media’ – using Fortnite maker Epic Games‘ Unreal Engine.

The following January, Sony Corporation of America took the wraps off a new Los Angeles-based subsidiary called Sony Immersive Music Studios, which focuses on “developing immersive music experiences through the power of creativity and technology”.

The first project from the then-new Los Angeles-based Sony Immersive Music Studios division was unveiled exclusively via the virtual edition of the CES 2021 technology conference: a “groundbreaking” virtual performance from Epic Records-signed singer-songwriter Madison Beer in partnership with Verizon, to showcase songs from her debut album, Life Support.

The division is led by digital entertainment veteran Brad Spahr, who according to Sony is “an award-winning developer of next-generation experiences at the intersection of music, immersive reality, and gaming”.

Now, Sony Music has returned to CES, this time, in person in Las Vegas, to showcase how it is developing what it calls “new opportunities for artists to expand their engagement with fans on gaming platforms and in other entertainment environments using game engine creation and virtual production technologies”.

In Las Vegas this week, as part of the wider Sony Group exhibit, Sony Music is showcasing three applications of what it describes as its “next-generation immersive music experiences”.

These projects are being led by the Sony Immersive Music Studios team.

One of those projects is Journey Through Jericho, a new Fortnite Island based on the music video for the song Jericho from Columbia Records artist Iniko, which has been created using Sony’s virtual production capabilities and Unreal Editor for Fortnite (UEFN) from Epic Games/Unreal Engine.

The game uses the digital background of the music video, which was shot on Sony Pictures’ LED virtual production stage built by Sony Innovation Studios, in Fortnite via Unreal Engine’s UEFN community developer tools.

Sony is also introducing Nitewave, a new music-themed island for Fortnite in which players form teams and compete in a game of ‘capture the flag’ to control the soundtrack of songs from Sony Music artists.

Produced by Sony Immersive Music Studios, it was also created using Unreal Editor for Fortnite (UEFN).

Additionally, Sony is showcasing a Roblox-based project called ‘AVNU: Where Music Meets’,  described as “a music destination for Roblox centered around music-related gameplay, challenges and virtual goods collecting”.

The project features music from Sony Music talent including Arista Records artist Paul Russell.

Sony also hosted a press conference in Las Vegas featuring presentations from Sony Group Corporation Chairman and CEO Kenichiro Yoshida, as well as Sony Music Publishing Chairman and CEO Jon Platt.

Commenting on the Journey Through Jericho project, Columbia Records artist Iniko, said:  “It was dope to be the first musical artist to use Sony’s virtual production stage. When I wrote the treatment for the video, it was important that the city felt real to my description: dystopian and barren; seeing it come to life was so cool. It’s basically a giant sphere and the city is placed there.

Added Iniko: “And I really wanted to expand more into the realm of gaming. I think it’s a great way to expand the art that is my song Jericho and a great way to get people to be a part of the Jericho world.”

Previous Sony Music-related music activations in the immersive space over the last few years have included Travis Scott on Fortnite and Lil Nas X on Roblox among others.Music Business Worldwide