J Balvin Will Play a Fortnite Show on Halloween

Epic Games announced early Wednesday (4 a.m. ET to be precise) that J Balvin will be the latest star to have a gig on Fortnite. The Colombian singer is set to headline the game’s “Fortnitemares” event on on Halloween, and the show will air in Fortnite’s casual “party royale” mode.

Balvin’s show, which will be pre-recorded at Epic Games’ studio in Los Angeles, represents another first for Fortnite, as it will be shot using extended reality (XR) technology. Balvin will be recorded using LED walls and camera tracking, which will give the star a more real-life in a virtual world look instead of the digital avatars showcased before, the company tells Rolling Stone. 

“I am always looking for innovative ways to connect with fans that have been so incredibly supportive of my career and music, as well as gain exposure to future fans,” Balvin said in a statement accompanying the announcement. “Partnering with Fortnite is an out of this world way to perform a concert in 2020.”

With live music at a standstill since the pandemic began in March, Fortnite has become a major music destination for artists looking to perform and interact with fans. Fortnite has been bolstering its music presence in recent months, opening up a performance studio and Los Angeles and setting up its Spotlight series, where Anderson .Paak and Dominic Fike both performed in September. Scott’s infamous “Astronomical” show helped launch his single “The Scotts” to a Number One debut and placed several of Scott’s tracks back into the Rolling Stone song and album charts. That remains the game’s most popular event.

Nate Nanzer, head of global partnerships at Epic Games, previously told Rolling Stone the company is looking to turn virtual concerts into consistent, highly marketable events for artists similar to late night television. “The message to the music industry here is the stage is open,”  Nanzer said. “We want great partners who are into what we’re doing and are going to be great collaborators. Everything we’ve done in the past with music has been a deep collaboration with the artist, everything from Marshmello to Travis to Diplo, and we’ll continue to do that.”

Balvin seems bullish on the mixed reality concert space in general: The news of his Fortnite concert comes a day after Rolling Stone reported that he, along with Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, Jillionaire and indie label Top Dawg Entertainment were all part of a recent star-studded investment round for virtual concert producer Wave. Balvin said in a statement to Rolling Stone that he was impressed with the Weeknd’s virtual performance that aired on TikTok, which played a role in his investment in the company.

“I am joining a group of music legends, performers and tech entrepreneurs that are on the cutting edge of amplifying concert experiences and fan engagement to audiences worldwide,” he said of the Wave investment. “I am excited to be part of the movement and provide input that allows the company to help artists such as myself.”

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