Virtual concerts might not be as close up and personal as live shows, but they can reach a vast audience, unimaginable in any physical venue.
The virtual concert history is short but has already demonstrated impressive numbers both in viewers/attendees and profit made on the tale of the event. While sometimes these shows make money from admission fees, the most lucrative model so far has been to perform for the audience without restrictive access and then sell them merchandise.
This approach proved to be working very well in Fortnite, a game which is free to play and allows all its players to attend big in-game events.
Among all music events held in the Fortnite universe, three stay apart. First, the Marshmello show in 2019. That was the first significant and highly successful event of a mainstream music star within the game. Over 10.7 million people attended the show on its first day. The DJ released a special merchandise series for this event, but the sales profit was not reported publicly. The number that was easy to spot, though, was the 20,000% increase in his streams.
Travis Scott followed the script with his “Astronomical” in-game concert in April 2020. If Marshmello’s concert was relatively humble visually, then Scott’s show was full of visual effects, placing the performer into outer space, underwater, on top of a plant and so on. The beginning of the pandemic also contributed to boosting attendance, as Scott’s performance saw over 12.3 million concurrent viewers and 27 million unique viewers. The concert took place five times during three days and eventually amassed 45.8 million views. Forbes estimated that Travis Scott earned over $20 million from this event. Not too bad for a 9-minute-long event. Also, his streaming catalogue surged 136% the day after the Fortnite concert, and “The Scotts”, Travis’s collaboration with Kid Cudi that premiered during the show, rocketed to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart the following week.
Ariana Grande held her own event in Fortnite in August 2021. It included elements of the game, making players defeat enemies in the dimensions they were transported to before the concert even started. The show itself was again even more elaborate and placed the singer in multiple settings, changing from song to song. Grande’s performance was no longer than Scott’s, bringing 27 million viewers. The concert aired five times between August 6 and 8 and allegedly has amassed 78 million views. Again, no official numbers were released by the Epic Games. Still, according to the same Forbes estimations based on the size of Ariana’s fanbase and her lifetime stream count, the profit had significantly surpassed Scott’s $20 million.
So, what turnout should we expect for Eminem’s concert on December 2? Forbes based its estimations on the fanbase and streaming numbers. It is enough to say that Eminem easily beats Travis Scott in both departments. Marshall’s numbers are relatively close to Ariana’s, though. The younger artist surpasses Em in streams as a lead artist (Ariana Grande 39.2 billion, Eminem 38.6 billion). Still, Slim has more streams coming from features (4.9 billion against 2.9 billion by Ariana). So, with 43.5 billion total streams, Eminem leaves Ariana Grande behind with 42.1 billion.
Meanwhile, Ariana Grande has a bigger and younger audience. And there is reason to believe that more people from her 69.6 million Spotify followers play Fortnite than from Marshall’s 63.9 million Spotify fanbase. Although many of Marshall’s fans are installing the game on their devices now, so they do not miss a chance to witness a unique event: Marshall descending to the Fortnite universe.
So, we might not be able to see over 27 million Eminem fans coming together in virtual reality. Still, the audience must be sizeably bigger than 12 million. Will you be in this virtual crowd on December 2?