Roblox Inks Deal With Sony Music to Bring More Artists Into Its Game

Roblox signed a deal with Sony Music Entertainment, under which the companies plan to feature more Sony artists in the popular massively multiplayer online game.

Terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed. The company said the partnership will “offer a range of new commercial opportunities for Sony Music artists” to reach new fans and generate new revenue streams around virtual entertainment.

The Roblox-Sony Music tie-up comes after they previously partnered on select events — including a virtual concert in the game by Lil Nas X in November 2020. More than 36 million people watched Lil Nas X perform in the first ever live virtual concert on Roblox, which included the debut of “Holiday,” according to Roblox. The concert venue in the game also included virtual merchandise sales, mini-games, a scavenger hunt, an interview with Lil Nas X, and other interactive activities. More recently, the Zara Larsson launch party on Roblox in May 2021 drew over 4 million visits, the highest number for a launch party on Roblox to date.

Last month, Roblox announced a similar deal with BMG, the world’s fourth-biggest music company, after the companies settled BMG’s claims relating to the use of BMG-controlled songs and recordings in the game.

At the same time, Roblox’s has drawn fire from some corners of the music industry for allegedly not paying its fair share. Last month, the National Music Publishers’ Association sued Roblox on behalf of NMPA members seeking monetary damages of at least $200 million, alleging the platform allows rampant unauthorized use of songs without paying songwriters or copyright holders.

According to a statement from Roblox, the company said it “respects the rights of all creators and uses advanced technology to screen all uploaded music. Roblox has no tolerance for repeat offenders and quickly responds to all submitted DMCA requests.”

For the first quarter of 2021, Roblox reported average daily active users (DAUs) of 42.1 million, up 79% year over year. Revenue soared 140% to $387 million in Q1, while the company’s net loss nearly doubled to $136 million.

“With this new agreement, we look forward to expanding our successful partnership with the Roblox team to further unlock commercial opportunities at the intersection of music and gaming,” Dennis Kooker, Sony Music’s president of global digital business and U.S. sales, said in a statement. “Immersive online environments represent a meaningful opportunity for reaching a growing number of fans who want to use virtual communities to enjoy shared music experiences.”

Sony Music “has been a fantastic partner and I am pleased to deepen and lengthen our relationship,” said Jon Vlassopulos, Roblox’s VP and global head of music. “They truly understand the massive opportunity that the metaverse presents for their artists and we are committed to helping them unlock new creative and commercial opportunities on Roblox. We are just scratching the surface of what Roblox can deliver to the music industry and to music fans around the world.”

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