Epic Games’ Fortnite promising more revenue for musicians

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Epic Games’ Fortnite promising more revenue for musicians

Fortnite The Kid Laroi
Words By Christie Eliezer

Epic Games’ Fortnite has come up with a new strategy to create more revenue for musicians with 'Creative Islands'.

Epic Games’ Fortnite, which has 400 million registered users, has come up with a new strategy to create more revenue for musicians.

Artists will reportedly receive up to 40% of revenue made through engagement and purchases from Fortnite’s user-generated content “creative islands”.

Read up on all the latest features and columns here.

Islands are where creators create their own universes, offering experiences like kart racing, death matches, hide and seek in ruins and underwater labs, obstacle courses, video game recreations and collaborations/battles with other islands.

According to Fortnite’s Creator Economy 2.0, which  launched in late March, island creators can sign up on its website and be eligible for payment retroactive to March 1.

Musicians Float Their Islands

Musicians and their teams can use this wide canvas to invent their own universe, usually for up to four hours at a time.

Marshmello created a 10-minute concert via the platform which streamed to 1.2 million viewers.

Indie legends Weezer launched a themed island to promote their 2019 Black Album, with players offered track previews and the challenge of choosing the right portal to enter the limited time island where they could find mini-games in an amusement park.

British group Easy Life’s island recreated London’s O2 Arena in 2021. 

Earlier this year, the Kid LAROI took a step closer in conveying the dual experience of virtual concerts and games on ‘Wild Dreams’, which included his life story, skins, quests, cosmetic rewards and an ICON series.

Epic Games’ Fortnite will now use online music store and direct-to-fan platform Bandcamp, which it bought back in March 2022, to curate its ‘Radio Underground’ radio station, which includes music from 11 indie artists, which are used on games soundtracks.

The Launch Of The UEFN

The March 2023 launch of the Unreal Editor for Fortnite (UEFN) PC-based app offers tools used by professional games developers to make it easier for artists, management teams and record companies to build Fortnite islands.

“The money in the economy comes from players spending in the Item Shop,” explained Fortnite Ecosystem Executive Vice President Saxs Persson. 

“Fortnite generates billions of dollars a year in revenue from player purchases. 

“Fortnite players who have fun engaging in islands tend to spend more money in the Item Shop. 

“Creators who make popular islands are bringing real value to the Fortnite ecosystem and we’re going to share the resulting revenue with them.

“We believe this so strongly, we will distribute 40% of Fortnite’s global net revenue to eligible creators who publish games in Fortnite, both independent developers and Epic’s own islands like Battle Royale.”

The 40% payouts take into account aspects like island popularity, engagement, and attracting new players.

The calculation includes the real money spent on Fortnite, purchase of V-Bucks, real money transactions, and Fortnite Crew subscriptions.

At the moment, these payouts are for creators over the age of 18, but Epic hopes to expand the pool to younger creators in the future.

Battling The Roblox Factor

Actively attracting music talents and younger players to Fortnite makes sense, as it heightens its flip-out with Roblox, whose majority of users are under 16, with just 14% older than 25.

Roblox’s music integration has already set the bar, whether it be Charli XCX’s levitating futuristic stage and all-purpose avatar; 24kGoldn’s stunning landscapes and merch hunts for 12.9 million visitors; the sci-fi themed David Guetta DJ Party with changing performers also to 12.9 million; Lizzo’s floating sky stage and shapeshifting; and The Chainsmokers’ Festival Tycoon which allowed 18.7 million users to build up a festival via stages, lighting, lounges, pyrotechnics and merch booths.

This year’s Spotify Island had the streaming service’s 500 million users from around the world hang out, chat with artists, unlock merch items and create their own tracks from musical notes sprinkled throughout the island.

Also this year, Warner Music set up the permanent Rhythm City for users to play video and social games, watch virtual concerts by Warner acts, and collect digital merch.

Money From Fortnite

So what kind of revenue can musicians and their teams get from Fortnite islands?

Quite a lot, it would seem.

Since appearing in 2017, it’s estimated to have made  $20-25 billion.

It was an instant money-maker:  $5.4 billion in its first year and a total $9 billion in its first two years.

In 2022, Fortnite’s turn-over was an estimated $5 billion. So 40% is $2 billion.

How much is shared with the music industry remains to be seen.

Fab Is Coming…

Later in 2023, Epic Games’ Fortnite is launching Fab, which brings together its marketplaces—Unreal Engine Marketplace, Sketchfab, Quixel Bridge, and the ArtStation Marketplace.

The company revealed,  “Fab (is) a unified marketplace where creators can find, publish, and share digital assets for use in creating digital experiences.

“Fab will bring together a massive community where creators will earn an 88% revenue share, and the marketplace will host all types of digital content.

“(These include) 3D models, materials, sound, VFX, MetaHumans, and more; supporting all engines, all metaverse-inspired games which support imported content, and the most popular digital content creation packages.”

MetaHuman Animator lets users reproduce any facial performance as high-fidelity animation on MetaHuman characters.

Learn more about Fortnite Islands here.