Travis Scott and Fornite won the weekend with an astronomical event of cross-branding with merchandise ready to continue the conversation long after the concert ended. More than 12 million people tuned into the in-game affair, according to Epic, a figure that dwarfs the 5.3 million live viewers for ESPN's feverishly anticipated The Last Dance documentary.
While Fortnite's numbers account for multiple airings over three days, the massive audience still says a lot about the pull of last year's highest earning video game and one of the most relevant artists of today. Even five years ago, such a collaboration would never have happened. Now, it's one of the biggest pop culture moments of the year, even taking into account the likely boost that came from an audience of shut-ins due to COVID-19.
Still haven't seen it? — For those who missed out on the one-of-a-kind show, Scott has uploaded the full performance to his YouTube channel, providing non-Fortnite players with the opportunity to join the psychedelic affair without a console or drug consumption.
The animation of Scott as a towering figure over the game's landscape with otherworldly visuals adorning him are wilder than any IRL production budget could create. Over nine minutes, the player is transported from Earth, down to the ocean, and up into space along with the artist — a welcomed adventure as the United States is more than a month into widespread social distancing. If any of this sounds hyperbolic, just watch the damn thing above.
Want some IRL goodies, too? — Scott has been replenishing his website since the event's launch Thursday with wearable merch and trinkets. Right now, there's a T-shirt ($45) bearing his in-game character, a new "CJ Gamer" logo on a tee ($45) and hoodie ($85), and a rave-appropriate digital logo beanie ($45). The most fun to be had is in the co-branded Nerf Gun, which will cost $65 for many fans to leave in-box, and a set of action figures featuring two of his in-game looks for $75.
Scott has run with the Kanye West model of artist merch and arguably made it even bigger. Taking a page from streetwear brands like Supreme, he's even sold out boxes of cereal with his own designs. Given what's transpired over the last week, it's hard to imagine any artist delivering for Fortnite as well as Travis Scott and his highly monetizable brand.