3 Thoughts on Travis Scott’s “Astronomical” Fortnite concert

Ed Elson
3 min readApr 29, 2020

His Fortnite concert experience racked up 12m participants. What does the future of live virtual events have to offer?

Psychedelic, ethereal, and virtual, Epic Games just proved that the Stay-At-Home model is equally applicable to live events as anything else. If you haven’t already checked out Travis Scott’s Fortnite debut of his Kid Cudi collaboration, “The Scotts”, do so now.

The signal is clear: live events will go virtual across the board. No more nosebleed seats at MSG, no more standing at the back of the crowd on your tiptoes, no more 3-hour waits moshing to “Lil Secondary-Act” before Young Thug comes on. Astronomical offers about a 70% less valuable experience at a 100% markdown. As 12 million fourteen-year-olds will tell you, that’s a steal.

What changes will come with a world of live virtual events? A lot, but here’s three quick ones I think are certain:

1) Fashion will go virtual:

It wouldn’t surprise me if Louis Vuitton and the like release a Fortnite skin for users to wear in-game. They could likely sell the skins for a price comparable to that of their physical clothing. After all, fashion is becoming more and more about indicating personal taste with signage, rather than choosing high-quality materials. You think the “John Wick” skin is cool? Try the baggy tan Jedi suit, otherwise known as the “Yeezy Season 6” skin. Like an Instagram-influencer, I don’t care for having it in my closet so much as I care for virtually attaching it to that online avatar I call “myself”. Watch other fashion houses follow suit.

2) “Viewers” vs “Participants” will become an important difference:

Watching a YouTube replay of Astronomical is very different to participating in the live event. One is a far less valuable experience than the other. Live virtual events will likely start upping their exclusivity to affirm their unique value, i.e. you can only experience the Travis Scott Fortnite concert if you pay/win a raffle/enter a waiting list. This opens up a huge set of marketing and branding opportunities for live virtual events, as well as a timely opportunity for our good friend, Class Divide, to do its thing. NOTE: Astronomical racked up 12 million “participants”, not 12 million “views”.

3) Realism will become a waste of time:

Astronomical did not try to make a realistic concert experience. They took advantage of the psychedelic visual opportunities of virtual to make an experience you could ONLY enjoy on a device. It’s not a virtual version of a music concert, it’s an entirely differently thing — that’s what makes it so valuable. Time to steer clear of AR/VR/gaming companies working on “recreating” real life experience, as opposed to the ones like Epic Games who are exploiting the virtual surrealism that real life simply cannot offer.

Hat-tip to Travis Scott’s management team, too. From Astronomical, to the conception of Stormi Webster, they never fail to exceed my expectations.