DJ Marshmello's 'Fornite' Concert Has The Music World Buzzing What does DJ Marshmello's Fortnite concert mean for the future of music performance? The 10-minute virtual concert was one of the largest digital gatherings ever.
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DJ Marshmello's 'Fornite' Concert Has The Music World Buzzing

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DJ Marshmello's 'Fornite' Concert Has The Music World Buzzing

DJ Marshmello's 'Fornite' Concert Has The Music World Buzzing

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

So what's a club DJ to do when a lot of kids would rather sit at home and play video games instead of go out and dance? DJ Marshmello recently tried to solve that problem by making himself part of one of the most popular video games out there. He created an avatar of himself and staged a performance inside Fortnite.

For those blissfully unaware, Fortnite is a virtual battlefield game played by millions around the world, often at the same time - not exactly the place you'd expect a dance party to break out. It was the first ever Fortnite concert. And as NPR's Elizabeth Blair reports, it was such a hit, we're probably going to see more.

ELIZABETH BLAIR, BYLINE: A video of Marshmello's Fortnite concert has been viewed more than 20 million times on YouTube. Neon colors pulse as avatars dance, wave glow sticks and leap through the air while DJ Marshmello revs up the virtual crowd.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MARSHMELLO: Let's go. Let's go. Let's go. Let's go.

BLAIR: According to the ratings company Nielsen, some 10 million people - or their avatars - attended this virtual concert. When Marshmello's concert was over, players commented, best event ever, and, better than the Super Bowl. Marshmello tweeted a video of kids dancing.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Oh, my God.

BLAIR: This isn't the first time musicians and video games have converged. Michael Jackson...

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BLAIR: ...And David Bowie both appeared in games in the 1990s.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DAVID BOWIE: The survival of your soul is at stake.

BLAIR: But back then, they played together in the living room, not in a massive virtual arena. Today, musicians are gamers, and famous gamers are into music. Marcie Allen is president of the music and sports agency MAC Presents.

MARCIE ALLEN: It's about being in the center of culture. And with music and gaming, that's where these kids are sitting, you know, the generation Z and then on the cusp of millennials.

BLAIR: Joost van Dreunen is managing director of SuperData Research, a part of Nielsen. He says there's an interesting juxtaposition between the Fortnite concert and the failed Fyre Festival, an expensive music festival in the Bahamas promoted by celebrities on platforms like Instagram that never delivered on its promises.

JOOST VAN DREUNEN: And then you compare that to, like, these silly kids on the fringes of the entertainment business, you know, these 14-year-olds. And they're just having a good time, and they're just sharing with their friends. And I think that that's a really interesting indicator of what's to come down the line, right?

BLAIR: For anyone worried that video games will spell the end of physical clubs and concert halls, composer and DJ Sam Spiegel says it won't happen.

SAM SPIEGEL: There's something very visceral about being at a show, feeling the sub-bass hit your body and being next to people that are sweating and screaming. And, you know, at least so far, we've never been able to create anything that lets you experience music that way in the digital world.

BLAIR: And hey, maybe there's a future for radio too. Elizabeth Blair, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF MARSHMELLO'S "CHECK THIS OUT")

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