Artists are dropping new songs in video games

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The Future. Video games aren’t just the most popular form of entertainment for Gen Z and Gen Alpha, but they’re also becoming a key way for both established hitmakers and up-and-coming artists to debut new music. As the war between Universal Music Group and TikTok rages on, expect UMG (and other major labels) to strike unique partnerships with upcoming games to fuel music discovery.

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The hottest playlist to be on these days is from a hit video game.

  • Fortnite and Roblox have hosted several in-game shows over the past few years, with artists like Diplo, The Kid Laroi, and Weyes Blood releasing new music during performances and experiences.
  • Rappers Big Sean and Sheck Wes debuted new songs on the game NBA 2K, which is constantly updating its playlist with new tracks (and artists as playable characters).

Why the focus on video games? While song clips can go viral on TikTok and Reels, whole albums can be easily consumed while people play games, and the virtual concerts typically have a playable element keeping people engaged. Atlantic Records licensing exec Joe Khoury told WSJ that games bring in “strong licensing income and are huge marketing drivers as well.”

Just ask Eminem. When his 2020 single “Godzilla” was included in a Fortnite event, it shot up to No. 63 on the Spotify charts in the US the very next day.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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