The launch is just the first step in iHeartMedia’s ambitious plans for the metaverse, as the company undertakes a campaign to attract younger audiences and to become a leader in the growing Web3 economy.
iHeartMedia is a major force in the music and content creation industry, bringing in $954 million in its most recent quarter. The company first announced its plan to launch its own virtual worlds in January as part of its wider Web3 ambitions. That plan includes metaverse worlds on major platforms like Fortnite and Roblox that are currently leading the transition into a three-dimensional, virtual version of the Internet.
iHeartMedia has partnered with game developer Atlas Creative, which used Fortnite’s creative mode developer platform to create a concert stage, several mini-games, and a virtual iHeart headquarters, which includes a recording studio and a digital duplicate of the company’s tunnel entrance to its real-life HQ in New York City.
Users of iHeartLand will be able to explore a virtual island, play games, and view performances on the main concert stage, which is called State Farm Park through a licensing and branding deal, similar to the way real-life stadiums sell off their branding to corporations. The stage is expected to host roughly 20 events next year starring various musicians and podcasters.
As well, players will be able to earn gold, a virtual currency created for iHeartLand within Fortnite. Gold can be spent on a variety of in-game items, but the coolest is probably the Boogie Bombs, which are essentially grenades that explode and force other players’ avatars to dance.
Concerts in Fortnite are not an entirely new phenomenon, as the Epic Games platform has already hosted some high-profile events starring Ariana Grande and Travis Scott. The first concert in iHeartLand will feature a performance by Charlie Puth on Sept. 9. Puth is also holding an album release party for his next album on Oct. 7.
iHeartLand events will be free for Fortnite players, with the company explaining it intends to generate revenue through sponsorships, licensing deals and advertising.