Singapore Showcase: Finding the Rhythm with Esports and Music

Ahead of Esports Insider’s latest industry conference, ESI Singapore (20-21st June), we delve into the context behind an upcoming panel on music and esports.

Lil Nas X esports
Image credit: Lil Nas X

The integration between music and esports has been nothing short of revolutionary.

These two sectors colliding have launched esports into mainstream conversations, whether it was Riot Games introducing a virtual K-pop group to bbno$ being integrated into CS:GO’s ESL Pro League.

The power that music possesses in everyday life is palpable, so whenever there is an opportunity to integrate it into another sector, it must be taken. Not only does music help connect people with the artists creating or performing the track, but it can also strengthen ties between fans of specific games through clever wordplay and reminders of esports’ greatest moments. 

Music and traditional sporting events have gone hand in hand for decades. Europe’s biggest football competition, the Champions League, has a symbolic anthem that reminds people of the tournament. Moreover, every modern-day final is preceded by an opening performance. 

These same techniques are more and more prevalent in esports. Last year, ESL launched its own anthem, and the 2022 League of Legends World Championship opened up with a live performance from Lil Nas X — building on a history by Riot Games of grand musical opening performances at its events.

ESI Singapore Session Banner Music And Esports

Interested in this topic? On June 20th-21st ESI Singapore will be delivering an engaging panel featuring major industry stakeholders on this very subject! Secure your tickets now

Discover the future of esports, uncovered, as we deliver unmatched networking on the Singapore River, enriching industry discussions, delicious F&B and a fun evening reception!

When speaking to Esports Insider in 2021, bbno$ highlighted how artist integration has become more accepted in the gaming sector. He said: “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.”

What’s perhaps not talked about enough is the benefit these artists also get when collaborating with the esports industry. Despite the ecosystem going through financial hardships, it’s undisputed that there is a growing audience and a young demographic that most musicians love to tap into. 

The likes of Against the Current, Jackson Wang and Ashnikko, all of which have collaborated with esports tournament organisers, will be seen by a hardcore audience, with some of their songs immortalised in esports history. Meanwhile, these tournaments gain extra recognition and star power, enhancing the prestige of the event, it’s a win/win situation. 

ESI Lisbon 2024

Whilst the convergence of music and esports at a tournament level is nothing new, what is rising in popularity is esports teams utilising music to bolster fan experiences and their brand image. 

Warner Music’s many divisions have collaborated with multiple esports organisations over the last couple of years. Notably, the record label’s Spanish brand has teamed up with MAD Lions, and in 2021 Warner Music Group invested in Tier One Entertainment, the parent company of Southeast Asian powerhouse Blacklist International. 

Some esports organisations, such as Talon Esports and Fnatic, have gone one step further by creating their own music albums. Last year, Gen.G also signed Korean American hip hop artist Jay Park as its Executive Music and Entertainment Advisor, with the goal being to bridge the gap between Korean music and gaming communities. The list of examples goes on and on, with seemingly another esports organisation creating a collaborative song every passing month. 

One of music’s best assets, no matter the genre, is its ability to relate to the listener, whether it’s through the track’s words or sound. This relatability factor is also incredibly relevant in the esports sector, particularly when creating and bolstering fandoms. As a result, it’s critical that the artist is passionate about the game it is ultimately promoting, in order to avoid perceptions of corporate pandering.

This is why, in most cases, just making a song isn’t enough. The marketing around it is equally as crucial. One major recent example of this was Riot Games’ stunt to name Lil Nas X the ‘president’ of League of Legends ahead of his Worlds 2022 song ‘Star Walkin’. These marketing campaigns, alongside the artist themselves showcasing their love for gaming, legitimises these efforts to the fans of the artist and the esport/organisation. 

At Esports Insider’s upcoming business conference ESI Singapore, representatives from Warner Music Singapore, play-and-earn metaverse company Affyn and music-based game Star Symphony IO, discuss the synergy between music and competitive gaming.

Alongside providing insights into how the SEA market has embraced music and esports together, the panellists will look at what more can be done to push this relationship further, how more esports organisations and tournament operators can be a part of this growing partnership, and other pertinent themes.

If you wish to join in on this discussion, and contribute your own thoughts or questions, then make sure you grab a ticket here! ESI Singapore commences June 20th-21st. 

Tom Daniels
Tom has been part of Esports Insider's team since October 2020 and is currently the platform's Editor. When not playing Football Manager, he enjoys reporting on the mobile esports scene as well as the betting sector.