Brooke Rascoff, the global music marketing a streaming lead of League Of Legends creator Riot Games, has suggested that AI has the potential to democratise music distribution and level the players for upcoming artists.
On Day One of Digilogue Days 2023, a music and tech conference focused on bringing together music workers and artists looking to build their careers, a panel of executives from across various entertainment industries met to discuss the intersection of music with sports, fashion, and gaming.
Brian Desrosiers (Bashment Management/SossHouse Records), Brooke Rascoff (Riot Games), Gabrielle Gomes (Dinner Service NY), Jonna Valente (Gotham FC), and Shauna Alexander (SOUND x VISION) discussed how artists, agencies, and companies were connecting to serve their mutual interests in expanding their audiences through collaborations that help them tell their stories with different media.
Rascoff compared her company’s strategy to Disney’s Marvel, if it had a music division.
“It’s not just a gaming company, it’s a massive media company,” she explained. “It’s taking Intellectual Property (IP) from a very, very successful game, and characters that people are already in love with and want to see more of a story from, and then scaling that and truly intersecting that with music. Esports is on the scale of a Super Bowl.”
One of Riot’s more innovative strategies at the intersection of music and tech has been its virtual K-pop girl group K/DA. While virtual artists aren’t necessarily new – Google Hatsune Miku or the disastrous launch of FN Meka, if you’re curious – Riot has managed to leverage the insanely popular characters from its game League of Legends to start a virtual group with a built-in fanbase, named Heartsteel.
Image: Respective Collective
“Obviously we’ve worked with real artists and writers and producers to create the music behind it,” Rascoff admitted. “But those are already beloved characters that are the face of this brand.”
It’s the same model the company used to create its wildly popular animated series Arcane, which draws its narrative from the backstories of some of its most popular champions. And everything down to the soundtrack they created for the show is rooted in the characters that already have their own stories – and crucially, their own fans.
When asked about the future of AI in music and gaming, Rascoff drew parallels to how the evolution of technology has already changed how we make, share, and listen to music.
“I think the most glaring thing is [technology] broke down the barrier to entry and democratised distribution, and I think that will be the same here,” she said.
“And I think companies like BandLab and Splice, which has been around for a long time, allowing people to be their own creators, and I think about fashion and different content industries and how that intersects with music, being able to learn a lot from how music has evolved and adopted technology. And I know we look, at Riot, for a lot of ways to jump on new technologies and allow our players to feel like they’re in the game.”
Learn more about Digilogue Days.