Next-generation music company Five Vectors is looking to disrupt the music for gaming space with a unique and data-driven blend of tech and creativity. We recently sat down with co-founder Wasae Imran to find out more…
Five Vectors is “a music start-up that works with emerging artists and produces new music for gaming audiences.” What does that mean? Can you explain the business model and how it works?
Five Vectors was created to provide a distribution funnel from Artists and Producers into the gaming industry, which has a highly virtualized audience. It’s an audience whose social life and interactions exist pretty much solely in a virtual space, and who have a very different mindset regarding the consumption and monetization of goods and services. This audience currently has no access to music that speaks to them in a contextualised setting, and so they’re stuck with half-hearted solutions like playing streaming services in the background or listening to non-mainstream music on Twitch. This is where Five Vectors comes in. We want to prove that it is possible to provide this gaming audience with contextualised music – music that speaks to multiple communities with their own idiosyncrasies.
“This [gaming] audience currently has no access to music that speaks to them in a contextualised setting, and so they’re stuck with half-hearted solutions like playing streaming services in the background or listening to non-mainstream music on Twitch.”
We are building a central machine learning system that is looking at millions of points of data that we collect from the gaming industry to build an integrated solution, so that people can consume music within the app they spend the majority of their time in. We are partnering with big gaming companies like Ubisoft and working with young, mid-tier artists and producers who are creating music for these spaces. The data generated allows us to experiment with genres and to educate the music and gaming industries, because there’s currently this consensus that EDM is the only thing that works in this space. The gaming industry is young and has never had the chance to truly experiment with music in this way. We want artists and labels to come to us to have their music placed in the right space in the best way possible.
“The gaming industry is young and has never had the chance to truly experiment with music in this way. We want artists and labels to come to us to have their music placed in the right space in the best way possible.”
You come from an esports background (as former Global Head of Video Network at ESL) and your co-founder Andres Lauer comes from a music background (former Head of Digital Strategy and advisor to the President & CEO Universal Music Central Europe). What made you realise that there was the opportunity for a company like Five Vectors?
Andres and I knew each other from our work at ESL. He was the person pushing Universal Music into esports, and I was part of the team that was pushing ESL into music. We had been placing music in ESL events and we realised that what we were doing was very much encapsulated by existing thinking – it was still EDM and it was still not contextualized. It was a great marketing gimmick and PR story, but beyond that it did not resonate with the audience in a way that it had the potential to. ESL has millions of views across its events, but when it came to the music there was no resonance beyond the impact of the event. So we got to thinking that there needs to be a more unique music solution, and a deeper appreciation that this is not some generic mainstream culture that you’re attaching music to, these are very unique, niche communities.
“We got to thinking that there needs to be a more unique music solution, and a deeper appreciation that this is not some generic mainstream culture that you’re attaching music to, these are very unique, niche communities.”
You’ve just raised $1 million in seed funding, led by BITKRAFT Esports Ventures. How do you plan to invest the money in the company?
Right now we’re looking to get more young artists on board because they tend to be part of this future virtual generation who are gamers as well as musicians. We want to help these artists define their sound and place themselves in the space. And then the resources are earmarked for developing our tech infrastructure, whether it’s the machine learning system or our integrations into gaming spaces.
Can you talk us through some of your current partnerships?
The biggest one so far has probably been Ubisoft for Rainbow Six Siege, which is generally considered to be the little brother of the three major esports games Dota, League of Legends and Counter Strike. It’s a very popular game but it doesn’t have any music beyond the main menu, so we partnered with Ubisoft to find the sound for the different regions where they hold competitions, and to build a music ecosystem around their audience. The next step is to integrate the tech, so for example our extensions which will give users a more holistic experience with the music. Ubisoft has been very supportive and very happy with the results, and people have been pleasantly surprised.
The other interesting partnership is League of Legends in Japan. We’re working on the musical identity for the Japanese league and it’s interesting because it’s a very unique market with huge potential. It’s one of the most tech savvy markets out there, but one of the youngest when it comes to esports. We will launch with a complete redesign of their musical identity and a new anthem that defines the next couple of seasons. We’re looking to the music world to bring in edgier stuff and talking to managers and smaller labels. We have over 14 different partnerships right now but those two are definitely very exciting.
We’re just scratching the surface of what can be done with music and esports. Aside from what you’ve mentioned so far, where do you see the opportunities for revenue emerging now and in the future?
We believe that the main source of revenue will circle around monetizing fan engagement and fandom itself, not solely music streaming. We want to allow artists and their fans to engage on a completely different level. With Apollo, the interactive music app, if you’re a fan of a specific artist for example, you can have that artist’s theme on your app. When you’re in the game you can have the artist talking to you saying, “Cheer up champ. You just died but there’s going to be another chance.” This is how I see this music layer coalescing into the space.
“We believe that the main source of revenue will circle around monetizing fan engagement and fandom itself, not solely music streaming. We want to allow artists and their fans to engage on a completely different level.”
How you are navigating the world of music rights and ensuring that creators are getting paid for their work?
Our proposition to our artists is let us help you build your identity and your profile to create a real fanbase, and we can do this in a space that interests you. Our partners get royalties for the work. They are aware that we are doing something different and they want to push the needle when we deliver this music to a gaming space. It’s been a big hurdle at the beginning, but now more and more artists and labels are understanding our approach. We are driving innovation right now by educating both spaces.
How can artists and labels submit their music to you?
Join our discord server, where we have a ton of people submitting music to us, or send it over at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enjoyed this article? Why not check out:
- Game Changer: Enter Records Head Gustav Käll on the Future of Esports and Music
- The Convergence of Music & Esports: Industry Pros Weigh in on Opportunities, Trends & What’s in Store for the Future (Part 1)
- The Convergence of Music & Esports: Industry Pros Weigh in on Opportunities, Trends & What’s in Store for the Future (Part 2)