iHeartMedia’s virtual world includes a main stage and mini-games, which will kick off with a Charlie Puth concert on Sept. 9.
iHeartMedia has launched its first virtual world in Fortnite called iHeartLand, in order to expand its marketing investments in the Metaverse and reach younger audiences.
iHeartMedia and the Metaverse
iHeart, which posted second-quarter revenue of $954 million, first announced plans in January to launch its own branded virtual world on platforms such as Roblox, as part of the streaming giant’s broader Web3 strategy.
Wednesday’s launch of iHeartLand in Fortnite marks iHeartMedia’s first virtual world launch and will serve as a testing ground for future iterations of iHeartLand in other world-building games.
Who created iHeartLand?
iHeartLand was created by game developer Atlas Creative using Fortnite’s creative mode and includes a main stage, multiple mini-games and an iHeart “headquarters,” which features a recording studio and a replica of the tunnel entrance to iHeart’s New York City headquarters.
What will players be able to do in iHeartLand?
Players will be able to explore the virtual island, play games, take selfies on the red carpet and watch performances on the main stage, called State Farm Park, which is expected to host 20 events over the next year featuring musicians and popular iHeart podcasters.
At launch, mini-games will include a car racing game on an iHeart-shaped track, an obstacle course set in the clouds, a construction game and a musical chairs-like game that requires players to jump from various colored tiles and avoid landing on certain colors.
By playing these games, users will have the opportunity to earn “gold,” which is an iHeartLand-specific currency in Fortnite that can be spent on items such as fireworks and Boogie Bombs, a grenade-like object that forces players’ avatars to dance.
The main draw for iHeartLand will be the main stage, which will kick off a series of events with a Sept. 9 performance featuring Charlie Puth.
The concert follows similar in-game performances by artists such as Ariana Grande and Travis Scott in Fortnite, though Puth will not appear as an avatar in iHeartLand as Grande and Scott did in their respective shows.
Instead, Puth’s concert – which was pre-recorded at iHeartRadio’s Burbank theater – will be a 2D projection shown on the main screen at State Farm Park.
In addition to the performance, which will include new music from Puth’s upcoming album, fans will be able to participate in an interactive trivia game, in which Puth asks a series of questions and fans can earn XP coins for answering correctly.
A launch party for Puth’s upcoming album, Charlie, will be held at iHeartLand on October 7.
As these artists are coming up, they’re super excited to reach these new audiences as well because, keep in mind, this is also a discovery platform for them to unveil new music with audiences here on Fortnite,” Jessica Jerrick, evp of business development and partnerships at iHeartMedia, tells THR.
iHeartLand will remain free to players, according to Conal Byrne, president of iHeartMedia’s Digital Audio Group, who highlights Fortnite Island’s ability to bring concerts and events to more people. “This was a way to capture events like Charlie’s and really democratize access to it a little better using technology,” Byrne says. “There’s no intention to restrict access to this in the future or anything like that. I think, in fact, it’s the opposite.”
Instead, the company can monetize the virtual world through sponsorship deals and other advertisements. At launch, State Farm has exclusive naming rights to the iHeartLand arena across all of its iterations on different world-building game platforms, which will include Roblox in the future.
In March, iHeart also partnered with Super League Gaming to sell ads in iHeartLand and other virtual worlds, allowing iHeart to receive a portion of the revenue from any deals facilitated through the partnership.
Alyson Griffin, State Farm’s vice president of marketing, declined to share the specific terms of the insurance company’s deal with iHeart, but the executive pointed to State Farm’s previous entries in games – “Jake from State Farm” appears in this year’s NBA 2K game, for example – and the company’s longstanding relationship with iHeart. “We want to learn. We want to try new things, we want to see how it evolves, and we’re committed to this,” Griffin says. “Obviously, you don’t make an entry like this to do this for a few months.”
And depending on user feedback and post-launch engagement, “iHeartLand and State Farm Park may evolve differently and dramatically” based on what players “love and what they love less,” says Gayle Troberman, iHeartMedia’s director of marketing.
Charlie Puth, is a British singer, songwriter and music producer. He is known for producing and performing “See you Again” with Wiz Khalifa, in honor of the death of his favorite actor Paul Walker. He was nominated 4 times for Grammy Awards.
In 2016 he released the first singles from his debut album Nine Track Mind, Marvin Gaye in 2015 with the collaboration of Meghan Trainor which climbed to the top spot in his native country and three other countries, and the songs One Call Away and Dangerously. She also released We Don’t Talk Anymore with Selena Gomez.
In 2017 he released his second album called Voicenotes, which would include singles such as Attention which reached the fifth position on the Billboard Hot 100 on August 26, 2017, where it remained for 40 weeks, written, produced and performed by himself.
The second single from the album was titled How Long and was released on October 19, 2017, this single stayed on the Hot 100 for 24 weeks and reached position No. 21.
iHeartMedia (NASDAQ: IHRT) is the number one audio company in the United States, reaching nine out of ten Americans each month. It is comprised of three business groups.
For more information visit their website: iheartmedia.com
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