bbno$ discusses esports collaboration following OFFMETA launch

OFFMETA, a new record label designed to intersect the esports, gaming and music industries, has officially launched.

The label will act as a gateway for music companies and artists to enter the esports sector. As such, OFFMETA will represent a range of established and emerging artists which will be integrated into broadcasts and content around esports and gaming.

Image credit: OFFMETA

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Alongside OFFMETA’s launch, the record label has revealed that its first collaboration with Canadian rapper bbno$ and ESL. As a result, bbno$’s new song and music video ‘bad to the bone’ will be integrated into the ESL Pro League CS:GO Season 13.

Esports Insider spoke to OFFMETA Co-founders Jannis Wenderholm and Line Rindvig, as well as bbno$, real name Alexander Leon Gumuchian, on the reasoning for the firm’s launch and its first collaboration.

“It’s kind of like a dream come true,” said bbno$ when asked about ‘bad to the bone’ being integrated into ESL Pro League Season 13’s broadcasts. “As far as being in CS:GO and in ESL, I think people are gonna like it and I’m really excited about it. I’m super happy with the opportunity to do it.”

Canadian rapper bbno$ gained mainstream momentum following the release of Lalala in 2019 alongside Y2K. Photo credit: Mats Schram

The collaboration holds significant importance to the rapper as he opens up about being brought up on titles such as Counter-Strike 1.6 and Diablo II. bbno$ also shared that he was able to have a lot of creative freedom during the activation.

“They were like, you take the horns. I was really surprised to be honest because it’s a massive corporation and you would have assumed they would be like, ‘this is what you have to do’.

“There are obviously guidelines, but as far as anything else, they were like ‘be creative’. I’m like, dude, that’s dope. That’s what I’m good at.”

To assist with the distribution and marketing for the debut release, ​OFFMETA has also partnered with mtheory, whose clientele includes Diplo and Major Lazer.

As stated prior, bbno$ is the first artist to be involved with OFFMETA. When asked about being apart of the record labels first collaboration, he said: “Truthfully, this one opportunity is huge.

“If anything, it feels like a perfect suit. I kind of label myself as a gamer. I love to play video games. So, why wouldn’t I want to do this?”

The Vancouver based rapper also took the opportunity to speak about the cultural significance of gamers in 2021. “My mum would disconnect the internet when I was younger, all the time. I’m now on Twitch, I have a YouTube channel. Now, if she was disconnecting the internet, she would be disconnecting the ability to potentially make money on the internet as a different alias or a different brand.

“That perspective alone, just the ability to profiteer off being creative online through gaming, I think is such a telltale that gamers are probably the future of the world, period.”

OFFMETA Co-founders Line Rindvig (left) and Jannis Wenderholm (right). Photo credit: Stephen Daly / Frank Wang

The topic of music rights has become a major discussion in the esports and gaming sector over the last 12 months, particularly with Twitch’s DMCA crackdown on streamers playing unlicensed music. According to Wenderholm, OFFMETA looks to provide the esports sector with a solution.

He commented: “It’s actually a legal grey zone when you play music on a live stream because you’re legally not allowed to because you would need a licence. 

“We need to be like a one-stop solution when it comes to licensing and clearing licences for our partners. That’s why we were going to guarantee if we’re partnering up with an esports broadcast or a team, we’re going to guarantee them that they can use the music without being claimed of blocked.”

According to Rindvig, securing rights to songs is much more complicated than just gaining an artist’s permission. “There is also an equally important part of the record, the publishing side, which is the songwriter, the producers, and the composers of the song. They also all have their own publishers. Although you can have clearance from the artists, you also need clearance from every single person and all of their partners.” 

As an independent artist, bbno$ is able to allow his music to be utilised across the gaming communities. However, as Rindvig rightly highlighted, many artists tied in with music publishers and other entities may struggle to follow suit.

As such, solutions to ease this transition, like OFFMETA, are being created. Particularly as artist involvement in the industry helps push gaming evermore into the mainstream.

“I think if given the opportunity, as you saw with Lil Nas X and Roblox which was ginormous, that springboarded the global mass appeal and acceptance of pop artists collaborating with games,” bbno$ said.

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Both Rindvig and Wenderholm come into this new venture with existing experience in the music industry. Wenderholm was formerly a Product Manager at Universal Music, while Rindvig is an ex-artist manager known for her partnership work with Mercedes-Benz EQ, Reebok, and StockX. OFFMETA is also co-founded by investment company NumLock Ventures.

Music and esports crossovers have indeed become more common in recent years, with the likes of Astralis partnering with Universal Music, League of Legends partnering with Spotify, and the involvement of the likes of The Weeknd with Overactive Media, Post Malone via Envy, Steve Aoki and ReKT, Jay Chou with J Team, and Drake with 100 Thieves, amongst plenty more.

As the esports and gaming sectors continue to expand, OFFMETA will be looking to provide a different pathway for artist integration across broadcasts and content activations.

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