This article investigates the sociabilities that surround in-game concerts and music scenes in the massively multiplayer online games Fortnite and Minecraft. Drawing on ludomusicology and cultural studies, it will rethink the virtual music scene concept to better incorporate the technical, economical, aesthetic, and social aspects that affect how relationships are developed inside MMOs among members for whom music and games play a primordial role in their personal life-worlds. Focusing on Travis Scott’s Astronomical performance in Fortnite sponsored by the video game and music industries, as well as the independent music festivals in Minecraft organized by volunteer-run virtual events producer Open Pit, allows for comparisons that are valuable in highlighting the characteristics that define a virtual music scene and differentiate it from an in-game concert. In order to conduct such a task, this essay will analyze Scott’s Astronomical performance currently hosted on YouTube while also considering statements made by the rapper in his 2019 Netflix documentary Travis Scott: Look Mom, I Can Fly and magazine interviews with the rapper and the team responsible for this event. In order to understand Open Pit’s festivals, several interviews with its members available online, as well as excursions undertaken by journalists to these events, will be investigated, providing an immersive account of what attending an Open Pit music festival can feel like from their perspectives. In the end, the article argues that as much as Scott’s performance changed what can be expected of in-game concerts by joining game and music aesthetics, Open Pit’s periodic events and their connection to the hyperpop music genre are a better representation of the virtual music scene concept developed in this article.
Opening Up Virtual Mosh Pits: Music Scenes and In-Game Concerts in Fortnite and Minecraft
Karina Moritzen is a PhD student in communication at the Fluminense Federal University in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and in musicology at the Carl-von-Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg as part of the Gestalten der Zukunft program. She is working on establishing a cotutelle agreement between these two institutions. Her current research investigates virtual music scenes and gaming scenes, in-game concerts, Minecraft, Fortnite, Brazilian GTA RP, and hyperpop.
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Karina Moritzen; Opening Up Virtual Mosh Pits: Music Scenes and In-Game Concerts in Fortnite and Minecraft. Journal of Sound and Music in Games 1 July 2022; 3 (2-3): 115–140. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/jsmg.2022.3.2-3.115
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