Virtual Music Festivals & 3 Other Ways Young Gamers Are Changing Music’s Future

Gaming is invading every aspect of Gen Z's & Millennials’ lives—and the music they listen to (and how they listen to it) is no exception…

Gaming takes up nearly as much of young consumers' time as watching TV. (Let that sink in.) So, the impact of this shift in their entertainment consumption on other industries can’t be overestimated. They’re buying fashion based on their favorite titles (ahem, Moschino’s The Sims-inspired line), and they’ve been watching movies that star their digital idols for ages (lest we forget that Tomb Raider was a game before Angelina Jolie became Lara Croft).

But the music industry is where gaming’s impact is starting to level up beyond gamers’ wildest, most pixelated dreams. Video game soundtracks have millions of views on YouTube (like this one), the nostalgic favorite Twisted Metal has inspired album covers, Nicki Minaj has an entire song celebrating Street Fighter character Chun-Li, The Weeknd just became a major investor in the esports organization OverActive Media, and the list goes on...

This new cultural conversation goes both ways: artists are drawing inspiration from the digital world, but they’re also stepping into that world to meet young listeners where they’re spending so much time. Video games have become a digital stage for stars, a place where artists debut new tracks and play virtual gigs that draw much bigger audiences than any IRL experience could. In our State of Gaming report, we found that 28% of 13-36-year-old gamers say that the titles they play have influenced the music they listen to, 35% have learned about music from games, and 29% have listened to a new artist they discovered in the digital world. Below, we break down four times young gamers gave us a glimpse at what the video game-influenced future of music might look like:…


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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “I think we’re already seeing alcohol lose its health halo. Next, the assumption that alcohol is essential to a good, sophisticated life will fade.”—Joy Manning, Deputy Editor, Edible Communities (Medium)

“The doofus dad” TV stereotype is being remade for role-resisting Millennial parents. Inept at care-taking and almost everything else, the tired stereotype is saying its last “D’Oh!” as The Simpson’s Homer Simpson and Peppa Pig’s Daddy Pig get replaced with a new wave of capable fathers like Bluey’s Bandit. The switch could have a real impact on the way kids understand family life, with one research fellow explaining, “The media reflects reality and also constructs reality.” (SMH)

Apple's new subscription gaming service Arcade will cannibalize its own App Store downloads—and that’s a good thing. Downloads in the App Store are on the decline, despite mobile gaming maintaining popularity and raking in revenue. If Apple can turn Arcade into young gamers’ go-to for mobile play, they’ll be poised for success that could outstrip even Apple TV and Apple Music. (The Motley Fool)

Gen Z music artists are “post-genre.” Mixing several influences into one song has become a way for rising artists to set themselves apart, and thanks to self-upload services like SoundCloud, they don’t need music industry exec’s approval. Meanwhile, the Genreless Generation can curate blended playlists via Spotify to fit moods and occasions rather than “rock” or “pop” and are streaming has also globalized their content consumption, so U.S. genres are no longer a limit. (Vice)

Carl’s Jr. has a CBD-infused burger that costs exactly $4.20. The chain restaurant is giving fast food a Cannabis Infusion, but only at one Denver, Colorado location, and only for one day. The Rocky Mountain High Cheese Burger Delight packs 5 mg of the chemical that won’t get you high. CBD is the trendy ingredient du jour, with 57% of 18-36-year-olds telling us they’re interested in trying it, and the chemical has made its way into everything from lotion to La Croix-like beverages. (LAT)

Axe is challenging masculinity with “bathsculinity.” The brand has been blurring gender lines for the Genreless Generation for years now, and their latest series of YouTube spots is showing that men can take baths, too. They’ve enlisted comedian Lil Rel Howery, who takes bubble baths surrounded by candles in the humorous videos. And they couldn’t be more on-trend: bath time is seeing a surge as a salve for Millennial anxiety. (Marketing Dive)

Quote of the Day: “I think for a cohesive strategy and for really helping to build awareness as well as grow the market size for new things, there's definitely digital and social media. But also, there has to be this in-real-life element.”—Alicia Yoon, Founder, Peach & Lily (YPulse)

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