Turns out the cloud has room for more than just sound. On Wednesday, music streaming platform SoundCloud announced that it is partnering with Twitch — the gamer-centric livestreaming service — to launch SoundCloud Player One, a three-hour gaming tournament that will start on February 18th at 8 p.m. Eastern Time.
Eight of SoundCloud’s artists-turned-gamers will compete in Fortnite‘s online world during “a game of fortress-building, opponent-smashing, and smack-talking,” a press release explains; the full lineup of players has yet to be revealed. Esports commentator MonsterDface will co-host the free event alongside rapper Rico Nasty, who will also provide entertainment in the form of a halftime concert. Fans are encouraged to watch on SoundCloud’s Facebook page or Twitch channel, where they can interact with players through a real-time chat function.
SoundCloud’s VP of brand marketing, Erika Leone, said in the release that the entertainment industry’s lack of in-person events — resulting from the pandemic — has placed increased importance on providing community members with more relationship-growing opportunities. Since more than 49 percent of SoundCloud users identify as gamers, according to a survey, the way to boost creator-to-fan engagement seemed obvious. “With so many of our creators and listeners sharing a real passion for gaming culture, we’re stepping into the gaming space for the first time to bring them together to engage in innovative ways and connect rising creators with new fans,” Leone wrote.
When Rolling Stone asked if SoundCloud intended on making SoundCloud Player One a reoccurring event, a representative did not reveal any immediate plans. More experiences are definitely in SoundCloud’s future; whether those take shape as more gaming tournaments or other gaming activities is unclear.
Lately, gaming gatekeepers have appeared ready and willing to welcome a widening array of musical partnerships. Travis Scott’s record-breaking Fortnite show opened the flood gates to a slew of virtual bookings. EDM duo Disclosure designed a world within Minecraft to promote their last album, and Grand Theft Auto recently announced a string of in-game DJ residencies. And there’s plenty of room for these types of marketing efforts to exist in a post-pandemic world. Just ask Marshmello, who arguably kicked off the trend a year before the world shut down. There’s also no shortage of ways for SoundCloud to explore this area further. The question is: Where and when it will do so?