Ariana Grande’s rainbow-filled, pastel-hued concert in Fortnite last weekend may have lasted under 10 minutes, but its impact lingered long after the show, helping fuel a spike in streams for the songs included in her set.
During the concert, an avatar version of the pop star performed hits like “7 rings” and “Positions” in a range of enchanted settings, from a swing set in the clouds to a floating marble castle. Titled “The Rift Tour,” the spectacle aired five times inside the free-to-play video game between Aug. 6 and 8. Epic Games, Fortnite’s developer, declined to state how many viewers tuned in over the weekend.
Among the five of Grande’s songs on the setlist, Dangerous Woman track “Be Alright” was the breakout hit, leading the way in post-show streams. Total on-demand audio and video streams of the song surged 123% between Aug. 5 (the night before the event kickoff) and Aug. 8, from roughly 42,000 streams to 93,000, according to MRC Data. As with most of the songs on her setlist, streams of “Be Alright” steadily rose throughout the weekend: “Be Alright” collected 53,000 streams on Aug. 6; 83,000 on Aug 7 and 93,000 on Aug 8.
The second-biggest gains went to Sweetener’s “R.E.M,” streams of which rose 94% from 43,000 on Aug. 5 to 84,000 on Aug. 8. Streams of “The Way,” Grande’s 2013 collaboration with Mac Miller, rose 44% from 146,000 to 211,000. Streams of thank u, next standout “7 rings” rose 23% from 446,000 to 552,000. “Positions,” Grande’s most recent hit single, gained an extra 10,000 or so streams – from 611,000 to 621,000 – but given the song’s high starting stream count, the surge only accounted for a 2% increase.
Grande’s concert also included a handful of tracks by other artists, which enjoyed streaming gains as well. Australian rock band Wolfmother’s “Victorious” saw the biggest percentage jump of all: Streams rose from close to 3,000 to close to 23,000, marking a 663% increase. Streams of the Labrinth, Sia and Diplo supergroup LSD’s track “Audio” jumped 222% from 21,000 to 68,000, and streams of “Come & Go” by Juice Wrld featuring Marshmello rose 35%, from 564,000 to 759,000.
The event doesn’t appear to have made much of a difference on streams of Grande’s total catalog, which actually dropped by 2% between Aug. 5, when her catalog accumulated 7.29 million streams, and Aug. 8, when her catalog collected 7.18 million streams.
“The Rift Tour” was billed as Fortnite’s follow-up event to Travis Scott’s “Astronomical” in-game concert in April 2020, but Grande’s streaming gains from the concert pale in comparison to Scott’s – whose entire catalog surged 136% the day after his debut Fortnite concert. So what could account for the gap in streaming impact?
Unlike “The Rift Tour,” “Astronomical” included the arrival of a brand-new track: “The Scotts,” Scott’s collaboration with Kid Cudi that was live-debuted during the concert and rocketed to No. 1 on the Hot 100 chart the following week. Not counting “The Scotts,” streams of Travis’ discography still rose by 38%. But when comparing these events, it’s also worth noting that “Astronomical” took place just a month into the coronavirus pandemic, when music fans across the globe had nowhere else to go but online – and at roughly the same time that Scott would have been headlining the cancelled Coachella 2020, inadvertently framing his Fortnite performance as a replacement. All these factors helped Scott draw a stunning 27.7 million unique players to his concert.
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