Spotify is entering the gaming market. The company has announced Spotify Island, a new location inside Roblox where fans can meet up, take on missions, buy band merch, and celebrate music together in the metaverse. Spotify has described the island as as a “paradise of sound” that aims to bring fans and artists closer together.
This is Spotify’s first big push into gaming (and they are the first streaming music platform to have a live destination inside Roblox) but Spotify and gaming are already connected. Spotify has 2.2 million gaming-related playlists, the company said in a presentation attended by GameSpot. The arrival of Spotify Island in Roblox today, May 3, is Spotify’s attempt to reach the next generation of fans (and subscribers), executives Alia Calhoun (global head of partner marketing) and Abby Stewart (director of business development) said.
An interactive experience, Spotify Island is a “reimagining” of the Spotify brand as a video game via Roblox. Players will immediately notice the island’s green color scheme, which is meant to match Spotify’s official branding. Spotify Island itself is described as a meeting place for players to play, explore, and connect, with the aim of bringing artists and fans closer together. The gameplay involves platforming and parkour; players can collect items spread throughout the island and track their progress on a leaderboard.
One of the key components to Spotify Island–and the appeal for artists, in particular–is merch sales. Spotify is partnering with artists to sell virtual merch that Roblox users can use on Spotify Island and throughout Roblox. Similar to how Spotify pays artists for streams of music, artists will also receive a cut of virtual merch sales via Roblox.
The success of Spotify Island will likely come down to the caliber of artist that Spotify can partner with, and the company is starting with some big global names. Korean pop stars Sunmi and the K-pop band Stray Kids will sell merch on Spotify Island through Roblox, with more artist partners to be announced later. There will also be four free items available to players for completing missions on the island.
In addition to the main Spotify Island, there will be off-shoots. The first of these is “K-Park,” a land themed around K-pop music. This will launch in the coming weeks, and there will be additional partnerships of this nature announced in the future for Spotify Island on Roblox.
Stewart said fans should think of Spotify Island like a “constellation” or an “archipelago,” in that it will expand with new experiences over time. K-Park is just the first.
Spotify Island has support for its Soundtrap music offering of royalty-free tracks, so players can listen to tunes inside the game as they play. In the future, Spotify teased that additional elements of the Spotify service will be baked into Spotify Island, though whether or not genuine licensed music offerings are made available remains to be seen (there could be copyright issues).
Roblox has hosted in-game concerts before, and that would seem like a natural fit for a company like Spotify, but Calhoun said Spotify’s aim is to do something different. Spotify Island isn’t just for the “broadcast moment,” Calhoun said–instead, it’s a place for fans to engage with artists and fans together.
Also during the presentation, Spotify confirmed that Spotify Island will have no third-party ads. Additionally, Stewart spoke about how it aims to provide a “low-lift” option for artists and bands who want to engage with fans and reach new audiences by offloading this to Spotify to help do the work.
Bands are already stretched thin, Stewart said, due in part to pressures related to COVID and the impact on tour dates. Spotify Island could be a way for artists to help engage with existing fans, find new ones, and montetize through the sale of in-game merch–or at least that’s the plan for how this all could work.
Stewart said artists briefed on Spotify Island have been “super excited,” but no one beyond Sunmi and Stray Kids has been announced for Spotify Island thus far.
Spotify is just the latest massive brand to partner with Roblox. Earlier this year, Sega announced a new Sonic experience inside Roblox, while Chipotle teamed up with Roblox for free burritos.
In other news about music and video games, Billie Eilish is rumored to have an in-game concert inside Fortnite coming up, though Epic Games has yet to confirm this.
While Roblox has had a strong year, having passed a number of big milestones for its platform as well as increasing revenue, its share price recently took a dip, disappointing investors. Roblox founder and CEO David Baszucki’s base salary is dropping to $0, but the executive is poised to receive a “Long-Term Performance Award” worth up to $233 million.