The esports and music pulse has been throbbing for years. As such, entertainment companies like Warner Music Group have probed across the globe searching for new ways to activate its portfolios in new markets.
Warner Music Central Europe was the first to take the plunge with a partnership with the LEC in 2019, a deal that has since been extended into its third year.
On the other side of the world, Warner Music Australia partnered with DoorDash LCO, Oceania’s tier-one LoL competition. Warner Music Asia also penned a deal in April with Esports Players League (ESPL), an online global amateur tournament platform in the sector’s high-growth region.
On June 22nd, ESPL and Warner Music India debuted the music video for ‘Weekend Vibe – Jubel feat. Desi Crew’ — an adapted version of the hit single by Swedish duo Jubel featuring Punjabi producers Desi Crew. As of this writing, the video has more than 4.5m views.
WATCH: ‘Weekend Vibe – Jubel feat. Desi Crew’ on YouTube
The debut coincided with the launch of ESPL Jungle Rumble 2021, a new tournament brand by the esports platform in India for Clash of Clans, a highly successful mobile game title in India published by Supercell. The version of ‘Weekend Vibe – Jubel feat. Desi Crew’ has been positioned as the anthem for the new tournament brand.
Warner Music Asia invested in ESPL’s Pre-Series A earlier this year, led by Sweden-based RightBridge Ventures.
Launched out of Singapore, ESPL operates outside of the professional esports space, rather focusing on amateur and community competitions. Since starting operations in January 2020, ESPL has expanded to 16 countries across Latin America, South Asia, Southeast Asia and Europe.
ESPL Jungle Rumble 2021 will make its debut with a Clash of Clans tournament from July 25th to August 15th. Moreover, Kin W. Lau Co-Founder of ESPL, told Esports Insider that there are also plans for future installments to include another Supercell title, Brawl Stars.
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Kin said that ‘Weekend Vibe – Jubel feat. Desi Crew’ is the first time an esports company has ever appeared in a non-endemic music video. The Travis Scott x Fortnite shoe might have made its way to the other foot.
The beginning of the video sees the main character registering for a tournament on ESPL.gg before being prompted to join in a VR experience by the video’s ‘love interest’. ESPL branding is shown throughout the video.
Kin further commented on the debut in a release shared with Esports Insider: “ESPL and Warner Music India’s first collaboration on this new music video release synchronised with being used as an anthem and the launch of our upcoming esports tournament is the first step in a direction of how we see music and esports continuing to merge.
“We look forward to exploring new avenues that bring engaging unique experiences to our community of gamers.”
The esports and gaming overlap has tried its hand at joint ventures before. Virtual endeavours, such as this video, have been reported as generally successful forays. However, these ventures into the physical realm are still in its nascency.
In 2018, Insomniac Music Group, North America’s largest electronic music event promoter, announced PLAY Festival. Billed as the group’s first-ever interactive music and gaming experience. An Insomniac representative told Esports Insider that the festival is “currently on hiatus.”
In June 2019, Metarama Gaming + Music Festival unveiled its lineup featuring prominent streamers, entertainers, and musicians complete with an esports exhibition tournament to be hosted at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds. However, as reported by ESPN, the event was cancelled in August.
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With ESPL’s collaboration with Warner Music India featuring a digital-only activation, this could be the secret sauce to the collaboration’s success. Music premieres have evolved with the times, leveraging prominent platforms like YouTube, as well as in-game events such as Fortnite and Roblox.
‘Weekend Vibe – Jubel feat. Desi Crew’ wasn’t specifically created for the tournament nor for the platform and its debut was simply on Youtube, not through an elaborate metaverse play. Keeping it simple might be the ticket. The catchy tune and popularity of the established artists have proven that non-endemic music may be exempt from esports’ infamous ‘authenticity radar.’
Part of ESPL’s partnership deal with Warner Music allows for the embed of the music group’s songs directly onto the tournament platform; creating a new music ecosystem where, so far, the label’s artists are the only players.
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The success of ‘Weekend Vibe – Jubel feat. Desi Crew’ and its association with ESPL could mean a windfall for the popularity of the ESPL Jungle Rumble brand and a new audience for the song’s adaptation.
Following the partnership’s debut, it’s likely that ESPL and Warner Music Asia will take aim at other experimental music activations between each group’s portfolios. ESPL’s platform features tournaments for over 25 game titles in over 16 countries with a focus on the emerging growth market and the possibilities of combinations seem endless.
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