THE GAMING LOUNGE: BEAT SABER
Our gaming department’s recent involvement with indie developer Beat Games resulted in Monstercat Music Pack Vol. 1, the first add-on to the hit title, Beat Saber that expanded upon its already outstanding tracklist.
Virtual reality is more than just fascinating to us, it represents a lot of what the future holds for the gaming industry. Take a look at Beat Saber, which sold over 100,000 copies in its first month of availability, and you’ll see what we mean. The uniqueness of the game comes out in how it takes advantage of everything virtual reality has to offer, where you slash to the beats of adrenaline-pumping music as they fly towards you, surrounded by a futuristic world.
To bring out the beauty of the beat, you’d best be a Beat Saber beast!
There’s never a dull moment working with Beat Games. Their dedication, from the countless hours poured into game design to the formulaic work that went into refining what it should feel like to play Beat Saber, was something that caught our eye early on—so early, in fact, that they weren’t even called Beat Games yet when we made first contact!
“It was a collaborative conversation with their CEO, Jaroslav Beck, and the rest of the Beat Games team,” says Gavin Johnson, Monstercat’s Head of Gaming, addressing the origin of our partnership with Beat Games. “We were originally introduced through a music industry friend of ours. He introduced Jaroslav to our director of A&R, Jon Winter. I was pulled into the conversation to continue talks about how Beat Saber is looking to provide a new stage for artists through Music packs. We loved the idea and began curating the first Music Pack together. It was a collaborative effort on what music we were going to introduce to the Beat Saber community."
On March 14, 2019, the Monstercat Music Pack Vol. 1 was released on PC and PSVR. Highly touted by game critics, content creators, and fans of both Monstercat and Beat Saber, the game’s first DLC was a monumental success.
“Beat Games wanted something that was challenging and familiar to the Beat Saber community," explains Gavin. “They wanted to keep it the same flavour as the current Beat Saber tracks, but in the vein of Monstercat. We picked tracks that we felt were Beat Saber, not trying to include too many tracks outside of what their user base was already used to. A lot of our more classic tracks that were drum and bass, dubstep, and drumstep heavy—and then we incorporated a couple of our newer trending tracks that we wanted to challenge the community with. Particularly ‘Overkill’ by RIOT, which is, arguably, the most popular track from the pack.”
Considering the incredible tracklist already in place, we needed our offerings to stand out in some way. According to Gavin, one way we were able to do this was to provide a bit of a bump up in difficulty. “We really wanted ‘Overkill’ - RIOT to be positioned as the new ‘Through the Fire and Flames’ but for Beat Saber. A challenging record that has elements of metal and EDM infused in it that would really be a head-turner for the pack.
Meet the man behind Monstercat’s gaming department!
As our Head of Gaming, Gavin Johnson has been instrumental in the orchestration of gaming partnerships and appearances. He works feverishly to come up with new ideas and plans that will see our artists’ music popping up in primary play spaces, as well as the homes of the fans in our gaming community. Having been highly involved with Monstercat and the gaming industry for seven years, there is nobody more fit for the role than him.
“I’ve immersed in gaming my whole life,” chuckles Gavin. “I started with the Game Boy Color, into the PlayStation, into Xbox/Xbox Live, then into more PC gaming growing up. Then, out of high school in 2011, I discovered a site called Twitch—I actually met the Monstercat guys over Twitch shortly after. They were looking for people in the space that had some knowledge of the area so that they [could] build their presence in gaming. From there, I used what resources I had to start building the partner program for Monstercat which has helped thousands of content creators worldwide enhance their monetized content with amazing EDM records from headlining artists.”
Gavin understands, better than anyone, the importance of the gaming industry to Monstercat operations as a whole. “Games are an incredible resource to us and our artists to reach audiences that we wouldn’t have been able to reach otherwise. For example, I remember watching a video on Youtube of a four-year-old girl and her dad playing an Aero Chord song on Beat Saber together. It was really cool to see those memorable moments being created through our artist’s music.
Gaming is a huge part of our culture here at Monstercat and it wouldn’t be farfetched to say it runs in our blood. We are a community-driven brand and, because so many of you are indeed gamers, we want to find ways to join you in your virtual ventures as well!
Music holds a special place in the realm of video games!
Over the next few months, we will be looking at some of the most exciting and compelling developments in Monstercat Gaming, as well as some of the spectacular things we’ve been able to accomplish by becoming increasingly involved in the gaming industry. Through it all, one major thing to keep in mind is the role our music plays in the effectiveness of the game and its ability to tell a story or evoke a certain feeling. The joys of interactive storytelling are often communicated through the amount of power you are given or relieved of the moment you touch the controller.
“Music enhances the experience,” Gavin points out. “It can, in some ways, drive the experience that the user is having. I think music can create a memorable moment that ties them to a certain memory or experience that they had. It’s the soundtrack to what they’re doing, and it can make them feel various emotions and reactions and it makes what they’re currently experiencing a lot more colourful and a lot more in-depth.”Gavin has a pretty good idea of what it’s going to take to get Monstercat music into more games. Video game music allows a game to truly live beyond its base form and link audible tunes with visual experiences that will stay with the player. Realizing this and the value of music as an inherently valuable storytelling tool is one thing. However, Gavin’s plans never compromise or overlook Monstercat values and the community-driven culture we strive to establish within our borders. We’re out to help video game makers, content creators and fans in any way we can.
"My ethos and philosophy around Monstercat being involved in games is we are always trying to look for problems within the gaming industry and trying to solve those problems with the resources Monstercat currently holds,” says Gavin. “If we’re able to really find those pain points and be able to execute a solution for it effectively, then that is how we decide what to put our resources into. For example, Monstercat started at a time in 2011 where EDM was blowing up, gaming content was blowing up, monetization of Youtube channels and Twitch channels were rolling out publicly, where people were able to monetize off their content. Content ID also started where creators were losing monetization through music, and their content the only way that creators would generate revenue. So we had a lot of music—three tracks a week at the time—where we could supply that to creators and have them be able to monetize their content with premium music. We were one of the only few suppliers at that time, so we were able to solve that problem of obtaining access to quality music in their content while other labels were actually suing content creators at the time. It’s been what we have done since the beginning, is finding those pain points for content creators, for developers, for esports, and solving it with the resources that we have.”Expanding and networking through the video game industry has brought about unbelievable opportunities to work with people like Jaroslav Beck and the team at Beat Games. Those initial conversations culminated in a partnership we’re looking forward to cultivating and building upon for a long time!
“We’re looking to partner with games that have a strong affinity with music” Gavin says. “Games that are looking to become a new platform for artists and a new discovery mechanism for discovering artists. We’re looking for people that are really keen on building creative projects and campaigns. We’re really looking for partners that want to work with us long-term, and to build something that’s innovative and new and fresh. We understand that a lot of games are going to have five to ten to twenty year lifespans, and provide recurring music content for that longevity.”Having our artists featured in a space receiving a great deal of outside attention allows us to do many things at once. For one, we get to see where our fans are at and what kind of content they have a vested interest in. We accumulate more attention and credibility from audiences previously unfamiliar with us and we’re able to open up routes for growth that very well could have been closed off. At the same time, we’re always trying to grow and help our artists reach for the stars. By working with games such as Beat Saber, we’re able to check all of those boxes in a new and exciting way!
Stay tuned for more Monstercat music in Games!