Lil Nas X's Roblox Digital Merchandise Sales 'Creeping Towards 8 Figures'
Artist merchandise is much more than just T-shirts now. Merchandise bundles have given way to some pretty creative ideas that play into themes of the music or an artist’s particular aesthetic, but the way we consume media now has yielded new forms of “merchandise,” including stuff we can never even see in the real world.
Online gaming platforms like Fortnite and Roblox have enormous user bases, and that has prompted artists to “perform” within the games as some form of a livestreamed concert. Since these games rely so heavily on customization, those artists often have corresponding merchandise for in-game characters.
Lil Nas X performed in Roblox in December, racking up more than 33 million views in one weekend. Jon Vlassopulos, global head of music for Roblox, said that the merchandise haul from the event is reportedly “creeping toward eight figures.”
Lil Nas X's 'Roblox' performance recieved over 34 million viewshttps://t.co/nRyCq2eywN
— NME (@NME) July 7, 2021
“That’s money,” Vlassopulos told Music Ally, in what is possibly the most obvious statement ever. “Creeping towards! Officially seven, but on its way to eight, and that’s with very little working.”
Lil Nas X is one of the biggest stars on the planet right now with colossal global appeal. But being a part of a video game that people already like expands his potential audience even further. That’s part of what brands like Roblox use to entice artists to use their platform for virtual concerts.
Vlassopulos told Music Ally that Roblox is working on expanding into licensed merchandise rather than relying on specific labels to allow permission.
“We’re excited to have done all the things we have done over the last year, and be able to put money in the pocket of publishers and record labels, and give artists and songwriters a new platform to reach millions and millions of fans around the world,” he said. “So we’re going to continue doing that, and we hope to continue doing that with more labels and more publishers. so we hope that things resolve soon in terms of the lawsuit.”
While digital merchandise doesn't exactly pertain to traditional promo businesses, the trend of “digital merchandise” often comes with complementary in-person merchandise. If a video game studio wants to create a piece of apparel or an accessory that players can equip, they often also partner with real-life apparel brands or stores to create an approximation of the real thing.
Right now, when concerts are happening in both Roblox and Madison Square Garden, creating merchandise to tell viewers that you were “there,” wherever that is, will be in-demand.