For thousands of people, All Out was the most anticipated music release of 2020. The five-track EP launched on most major streaming platforms including Spotify and Apple Music. What sets it apart from projects created by conventional bands or singer-songwriters is that it’s entirely created by the fictional band K/DA composed of ‘champions’ from the popular MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) game League of Legends.
Read this article to see how they managed to peak at number one in the iTunes K-pop chart, Billboard’s chart. Maybe you will find something useful and will think of ways to implement it in your own promotion.
The idea to create a virtual band was born and implemented back in 2018. The virtual music band, with team members Ahri, Akali, Evelynn, and Kai’Sa as singers and rappers, debuted with Pop/Stars, a single that blended K-pop and Western pop. It was hugely successful. Peaking at number one in the iTunes K-pop chart and number two in the all-encompassing pop chart, the track also paved its way to the top of Billboard’s World Digital Song Sales chart. Now, the music video has close to 390 million views on YouTube.
In 2019, though, K/DA was absent. Riot Games was busy working on True Damage, another League-inspired group that performed using a holo-projection effect at the opening ceremony for the World Championship final in Paris. A follow-up was inevitable, but Riot would need many months to put it together.
“We always want to make sure that we put in the right time and effort to make [each song] just as special,” Toa Dunn, the head of Riot Music Group explained.
Riot Games started discussing the comeback of K/DA last December. The team was keen to do something bigger and a little different this time.
That’s when they decided to release multiple tracks and the concept behind the EP. World Championship was an obvious time to promote the project and was the right time to create songs that could match Pop/Stars’ quality. That’s why the company eventually settled on a five-track EP.
Although K/DA is known as a K-pop band, they are a hybrid fusion of EDM (electronic dance music) elements and Pop. Ahri and Akali, are voiced by (G)I-dle members Miyeon and Soyeon while American singers Madison Beer and Jaira Burns embodied the other champions for PopStars.
Which is understandable as two of the band members, Ahri and Akali, are voiced by (G)I-dle members Miyeon and Soyeon. American singers Madison Beer and Jaira Burns embodied the other champions for PopStars. Copying K-pop trends could have been disastrous, though. On one hand, that section of the music industry moves phenomenally quickly. On another, it would have wasted the pop vs. K-pop formula that made K/DA so special.
Riot Games was going to promote the EP with some kind of real-world presence that included music festivals such as SXSW in Austin, Texas. COVID-19 messed up everything. At the same time, the team was aware that a music-based champion for League of Legends, called Seraphine, was currently in development. That led to a social media campaign that combined her reveal with K/DA’s comeback EP.
The campaign started with a Twitter and Instagram account — both with the handle @seradotwav — for Seraphine. The musician shared “Hello world” on June 26th alongside a few selfies. She quickly followed up with a tweet that said “starting this account to share music and hopefully connect with people.” Later, on August the 20th, Riot Games launched a similar set of social media accounts for K/DA, which simultaneously announced that their next song, “The Baddest” would be released later that same month. The very next day, Seraphine posted a brief video of an acoustic Pop/Stars cover on her Instagram and Twitter accounts.
It is safe to say that the music community will help Riot become a broader entertainment company. One that doesn’t just make video games, but TV shows, board games and albums too.
“It’s not just about games, but the experiences that we aim to give our audience,” Patrick Morales, Creative Director of Riot Games said.
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