Over 12 million people watched Travis Scott’s Astronomical Debut on April 23rd. Not only did it set records on the platform but it’s a glimpse into the future of events and good news, our future is not that bleak.
First, let me briefly explain what Fortnite is. It is a free, multiplayer game where users can customize, build worlds, fight zombies, interact, and carry on fairly full relationships without really leaving this virtual environment. In the same way that relationships built inside World of Warcraft often lead to real-life relationships and even marriage, today internet friends are still equal to real-life friends.
On April 23rd, Travis Scott, “Cactus Jack” debuted his tour for “Astronomical.” An excerpt from the Fortnite website reads “From April 23-25, blast off into a one of a kind musical journey featuring Travis Scott and the world premiere of a brand new track. Astronomical is an other-worldly experience inspired by Cactus Jack’s creations, built from the ground up in Fortnite,”https://www.epicgames.com/fortnite/en-US/news/astronomical
Obviously, small businesses aren’t going to hop on Fortnite and start attending events right away. Any small business owner who might be reading this is probably wondering why a boutique marketing agency would even write about Fortnite. These two things are for more connected than you realize.
Another thing that is obvious, is that traditional small business networking is forever changed. The likely hood of hundreds of business owners gathering monthly for a breakfast seems absurd in this context. We can open things up again but are people going to attend? Some will, for sure but hundreds? seems unlikely in 2020.
So what should a small business owner do if that was their primary lead generation strategy? It’s not what you know it’s who you know, right? How do you meet people when there aren’t more events? Should we attend webinars on how to survive? Should we attend Zoom meetings, with a hundred people listening to one talking head’s bad audio? Our agency is not built for survival but instead to thrive. Barely scraping by is unacceptable and I bet our business colleagues out there feel the same way. I didn’t become an entrepreneur to barely make it.
Cactus Jack’s tour is a perfect example of something I’ve tried hard to communicate my entire career. Internet friends are just as good as real-life friends. During this concert, users danced together from the comfort of their own home. Young nerds with muscle-bound avatars approached attractive looking avatars and experiences were shared. Avatars gathered and enjoyed the show together, in groups over 10. Real-life friends missed out and developed FOMO. Is that any different than if they all went to see Cactus Jack together? Will the way they remember it be any different?
So if young people can do it, why can’t we? If there can be virtual events with 12 million engaged users dancing and exploding color onto each other’s screen, why can’t hundreds of us gather in the same way? Right now, the answer is because the only platform available for this magnitude is Fortnite. Small businesses are again, unlikely to start “Fortnite Networking.” It won’t always be so unlikely, though. Experienced marketers like myself will remember when silver-haired experts laughed me out of rooms and told me Google was a “trend” and “Facebook is just for college kids.”
Fortnite is a platform worth paying attention to. Its reach is very wide and its users are still growing. However, the real takeaway is what it’s showing us, a glimpse into the future of concerts and events. After watching a dozen or so Facebook Live Streams of at home rockstars, I think we’re all ready for a little more production value.
Written by Eric Parent, CEO
Next Level Digital Media & Marketing, LLC