BTS, Fortnite, and the Future of Concerts With Sophie Chivanova

Moscow-based K-Pop concert promoter Sophie Chivanova returns to How Music Charts to talk BTS, Fortnite, and the future of concerts in a post-COVID world.

BTS, Fortnite, and the Future of Concerts With Sophie Chivanova
Jason Joven
Jason Joven
October 12, 20203 min read
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In Part 2 of our talk with Moscow-based live music concert promoter Sophie Chivanova, we continued our discussion on how forms of live music have survived in the coronavirus era. You can catch up on The Russian Music Industry and Concert Promotion in Asia & Europe here.

BTS' Bang Bang Con: The Live and K-Pop Fandom

Formerly the Head of Europe & Commonwealth of Independent States for Korean live music company MyMusicTaste, Chivanova worked primarily with K-Pop acts, new and old. Chivanova marveled at the BTS ARMY fanbase when the Korean group continued to innovate in June 2020 with a Bang Bang Con: The Live special livestream on for 765K concurrent viewers at $26-35 per ticket, yielding a minimum of $18 million USD:

I wish I'd been BigHit Entertainment! It's great: We are witnessing a sub-genre, something that used to be called small and very niche, to become massive and mainstream.... Look at the Billboard Top 10, it's "Dynamite" by BTS.... ARMY fans are taking loans from banks to actually buy stocks.... Other than BTS, SM Entertainment [and the large Korean music agencies] ... are doing insanely well.... Super Junior, NCT, Super M ... those fandoms are no joke ... real power.

How Fortnite's 'Tour Stop' Provides an Alternative Funnel for Future Live Ticket Sales

We also touched on the Los Angeles soundstage that Epic Games built as a tour stop for artists — most recently, for Dominic Fike. For her, however, it's not quite the same as a live physical experience:

Not to offend anyone, but it's nowhere near a real concert experience.... But it's fun, it's innovative, it's a crazy interesting thing.... I was the one to download Fortnite for [Dominic Fike's] concert.... First, I'm interested in how those shows are happening; secondly, I'm his fan ... but it made me super sad, cause I felt so lonely! It's like drinking with people using Zoom.

The fact that the Fortnite demographic skews so young, suggests it could be a great funnel for future ticket sales in real life:

Some of these online game players haven't experienced live music in their lives yet, ever... Those 10 years old... up to 15 years old ... that potentially can attract them to shows, which is super important I feel for the live music industry, definitely for artists.

Choreography from BTS' "Dynamite" appeared on Fortnite in September 2020, the latest in a long string of music integrations and memes from Epic Games.

Gaming Provides New Demographics for Artists

In a world where music is constantly a partner to other entertainment verticals, Chivanova highlighted how the demographics of the gaming world could provide reach for acts with different audiences. Here, she discusses the September 2020 BTS "Dynamite" choreography in Fortnite:

[Fortnite] promised to have BTS there, performing the second version of their "Dynamite" choreography.... Just imagine how many girls/fans are gonna download Fortnite just to see that happening, and then just deleting the app.... Or, maybe not: Maybe 20-50 percent of them are going to stay and play Fortnite.... It's playing with gender and gaming, how women are involved in gaming.... It's super interesting.

When Will Live Concerts Come Back?

Finally, we touched upon her thoughts regarding when the concert industry will truly come back in full force. According to Sophie, it probably won't be until 2022, irrespective of any expedited vaccine development:

I just participated in this amazing conference held by Ticketmaster.... They created three profiles of concert-goers: People who return after all the restrictions are lifted ... and then four to seven months after all the restrictions are off ... and then the most pessimistic or health-aware, and they'll come back after one year or more ... [but] everything can change drastically in one month. [After a vaccine], some genres could sell in one month, some in one year ... but nothing can be planned in three or six months.... The full recovery is definitely not coming back in 2021.

Listen to BTS, Fortnite, and the Future of Concerts With Sophie Chivanova on your favorite podcast listening platform here.