Fnatic have ventured into the world of music with the launch of its new label, Fnatic Music, and the release of its first album “Fnatic Island Vol. 1”. The man behind the esports organisation’s jump into the music industry, Fnatic’s Head of Marketing Joshua Brill, sat down with Dexerto to explain how the project came together.
Fnatic have jumped into the music industry with the launch of a lo-fi hip-hop album with over 40 artists attached. “Fnatic Island Vol. 1” will feature the typical cozy aesthetic of a traditional lo-fi playlist but with allusions to Fnatic itself with song titles referencing Fnatic esports players, moments and creators.
Fnatic’s Head of Marketing Joshua Brill, a veteran of the music industry, told Dexerto how the album will be available for the company’s content creator network and how he hopes to see it grow from their fan base and Fnatic’s own brand.
“We have a whole rollout strategy to hit their fan base. Basically, they’ll be proud of a track named after them, like Nikita ‘Derke’ Sirmitev and Jake ‘Boaster’ Howlett with “Bald Buff Activated,” and that will reach an audience. Because to be honest, some of these esports fans are not just esports fans, depending on where how they kind of gravitate towards certain things and we also have our creator roster that is featured in the lo-fi animation,” Brill said.
The album launch will also feature a short looping animation with other fan references and Fnatic content creators on a live stream on the esports organization’s YouTube Channel.
Brill hopes the album, or just individual tracks, will get picked up on music streaming playlists across Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music and others. The album will not, however, be available royalty free for any streamer to play on launch, though this could change in the future.
“I think at this stage, we want to first focus on our Fnatic network and kind of give an additional bonus when you get onboarded into the Fnatic network,” Brill said. “I think what we’ll do is, depending on how well this performs, maybe in like five months or something, we’ll say ‘Okay, let’s open up to everyone because we do want to empower creators generally everywhere.’”
Lo-fi music and esports crossover
Brill said he started this venture into the lo-fi world in March, almost right as he joined the company, and was surprised to find how much the genre features collaboration and fans of Fnatic.
“They were talking about Worlds, they were referencing some of the older Fnatic players from years gone back. So there was like an immediate crossover from that side where they were like, so excited to work with Fnatic,” Bril said.
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The project ballooned to its current state of over 40 artists because of word of mouth about Fnatic’s involvement, and the company’s generous streaming revenue split with the creators. The arrangement was 60% in the favour of the individual artists with a small cut from DashGo, the album’s online distributor.
“I didn’t really care about the revenue at all. This was much more of a brand play, so I didn’t mind giving them what is the best deal that most of these artists get,” Brill said.
Thanks to the artists’ request for a healthy revenue split instead of an upfront check for commissioning the work, Fnatic spent under $3,000 on the project, according to Brill.
The future of Fnatic Music
Brill first helped Fnatic dip its toes into the music industry with a commissioned anthem song back in April 2022 from UK artist Che Lingo.
Now, with a full-length album, Brill said he will listen to what the fans want to see from the new label moving forward. While we could see a “Fnatic Island Vol. 2,” the executive isn’t afraid to hop genres to hit another audience.
“I’m bullish on going into places that no one else has been,” Brill said.
“For instance, if everyone’s going to jump on lo-fi, let’s do classical music… It’s early days, but we’re planning to be different, alongside knowing what our fans want us to do. So I think what we’ll do off the back of this is we needed to give our fan base a shape of what we could do, and I think the next step is actually asking them, ‘What would you like us to do next? What is the genre that you’re listening to or that you think we should move into?’”