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UMG announces partnership with ESL

In an unprecedented multi-year deal, the world leaders in music and gaming are joining forces to discover and promote new musical talent worldwide

By Molly Long on 23 Aug 2018

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players at the ESL One tournament at Lanxess Arena, Cologne

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players at the ESL One tournament at Lanxess Arena, Cologne


image © ESL

Universal Music Group’s Central Europe division has this week announced a multi-year partnership with the Electronic Sports League (ESL) to discover and promote new artists throughout the world of gaming, creating what is hoped will be “the ultimate destination for esports and music fans.”

Part of the deal includes the creation of a joint-label between the two entities. Using ESL’s extensive global platform, which last year attracted more than 300 million viewers in total, the label team will scout out promising new talent and integrate music into live game broadcasts and the various ESL social media channels.

Artists signed by the label will also have the opportunity to perform at live game tournaments. This will not be the first time UMG artists have crossed over into the world of gaming; 2017 saw Years & Years, Chase & Status, Wretch 32 and Jaguar Skills – all of whom are signed by Island Records, a division of UMG – take to the stage of the UK’s Insomnia Gaming Festival.

Commenting on the partnership, Frank Briegmann, president and CEO of Central Europe UMG says: “Together, our dedicated new label, with its laser-sharp focus on the artists and music of esports, will provide the soundtrack to the gaming experience for this massive global audience for years to come.”

“Music is a universal language and, like gaming, one of the key-pillars of pop-culture”

Music and gaming have indeed become increasingly intertwined in recent years. Since 2016, the ESL has signed a number of impressive deals tying it to the music industry, including a partnership with AEG which introduced esports to the O2 and the Barclays Center, and a union with UMG parent company Vivendi to co-promote a new esports championship across the Canal television network.

More recently, ESL joined forces with the world’s largest heavy metal music gathering, Wacken Open Air festival, to create a world-first esports arena at this year’s event. Festivalgoers were able to play against each other and watch tournaments between professional gamers and artists, set to the soundtrack of heavy metal music.

Speaking of the new deal and the link between music and gaming, Bernhard Mogk, senior vice president of global sales and business development at ESL says: “Over the last couple years, live music acts have become an integral part of our global tournaments.

“Music is a universal language and, like gaming, one of the key-pillars of pop-culture. ”

 


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