Original songs being written for visual media is a tale as old as time. From Disney tunes that remain as popular as ever, to original Bond opening tracks, official credits songs in tv shows and movies, music specifically made for a visual medium continues to create hits. “Higher Power” from Coldplay, along with its unique Twitch debut, is creating a new link between music and games.
More frequently than ever, video games are joining that music to visual media trend. Of course, video game music with lyrics dates back all the way to the ‘80s, growing further when the CD format rose to prominence. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and Need for Speed: Underground come to mind there. But, pop artist tracks such as Imagine Dragons’ “Warriors” being used as the official League of Legends 2014 World Championship theme or, more recently, Coldplay celebrating their latest track on Twitch alongside content creators, is a newer phenomenon.
On Thursday, May 20, Coldplay will join Luminosity Gaming’s musician ZHU, and Twitch streamer Fresh, to celebrate their latest single “Higher Power.” ZHU will debut his own remix of the song, but whatever else Coldplay has in store is still up in the air. The hour-long show will be hosted on the official Luminosity Gaming Twitch channel, starting at 7 p.m. ET.
Bridging the gap between pop music and gaming
While in-game shows and Twitch performances are growing in popularity, they actually date further back. In 2005, Gorillaz held a concert in the online virtual community Habbo Hotel. In 2006, the English new wave band Duran Duran performed live in the virtual sim Second Life. Several others followed in the mid to late-2000s as well.
But it wasn’t until the rise of K-Pop that virtual performances started truly taking off. With virtual performers in physical locations, K-Pop brought a new phenomenon to the mainstream in 2013 with pseudo-holographic performers on a real stage.
Then, in 2018, League of Legends and VALORANT developer Riot Games saw the potential and launched its own virtual K-Pop band, K/DA, composed of popular League of Legends characters. At the 2018 League of Legends World Championship in Incheon, South Korea, these virtual characters performed on stage in front of a live audience, alongside real-world K-Pop stars as well as American singers.
Pop artists and other famous figures are more and more frequently showcasing their passion for the games they play. Famous athletes play alongside professional players on Twitch, while musicians work alongside developers to host in-game concerts. A recent example of this, is of course Travis Scott’s Fortnite show in April 2020, where nearly 28 million unique viewers participated in the five in-game events.
Where there was once a gap between popular musicians and video games, there is now a well-established bridge. Coldplay is next in line to cross it, with “Higher Power” streaming live on Twitch.
Disclosure: Luminosity Gaming is a subsidiary of Enthusiast Gaming, which owns and operates Upcomer.