Cultivating Deeper Fan Engagement: Warner Music Group’s Journey into Web3 with The Sandbox
Warner Music Group is always seeking ways to establish deeper connections between their artists and their respective fan bases.
Today’s fans are searching for more than just a one-sided relationship with artists; they desire to engage in the journey. The community provided by The Sandbox has already fostered stronger relationships between other fans and creators through gaming and social interactions. Recognizing this, WMG has pursued activation in The Sandbox with the aim of replicating such success across their numerous artists.
“Fans desire some form of influence and interaction with content in a different manner. It’s not solely about listening to music anymore; fans are increasingly interested in immersive experiences where they can actively participate, create, and have fun, and gaming offers an excellent avenue for that.”
One WMG artist who has already benefitted from participating in The Sandbox is Sueco. The experience that was launched helped to showcase his “split personalities,” providing insights into his journey from a rap artist to his later transition to rock music. In this experience, players can embody shadowy beings to recover missing pieces of Sueco’s vandalized car. Since its release, Sueco’s experience has been visited over 430,000 times by more than 165,000 unique visitors. By engaging with this experience, fans were able to immerse themselves in Sueco’s journey through his creative ideas.
“I believe what makes The Sandbox truly interesting for our artists is the opportunity for them to allow fans to explore a different facet of their persona and delve deeper into their world and narrative through a gaming experience.”
Vabyanti has vivid memories of entering The Sandbox’s Discord channel and perusing The Sandbox’s Twitter feed, where she encountered genuine, passionate members of the community engaging with one another. She discovered people who shared a keen interest in collaboration, building relationships, and genuine enjoyment. There was “a general enthusiasm for web3 technology” and forming connections. This remains a primary reason why WMG is committed to becoming more integrated into this global ecosystem.
Investing in community building and exclusive Web3 rewards to nurture authentic fan engagement.
Warner Music Group isn’t hesitant to embrace new platforms to push boundaries for their artists. They initially entered virtual platforms by offering virtual concerts during the pandemic and have since developed strong relationships with other UGC platforms, even investing in Roblox in 2019. As the pandemic has subsided, they’ve allocated resources to explore what experiences people enjoy most in both real-life and digital immersive environments.
From a corporate and commercial perspective, WMG sees The Sandbox as an opportunity to become well-versed in gaming and relevant to web3 culture. They are primarily using their strategy with The Sandbox to discover new ways to bring their community closer to their artists. They acknowledge that, from a business standpoint, the real opportunity lies in engaging, creating, and nurturing a web3 community that cares deeply about the experiences they offer.
Vabyanti recalls an interesting conversation after WMG hired a new marketing director to promote all their experiences.
“He asked me, ‘How much marketing budget do you want to allocate to The Sandbox?’ For me, marketing on The Sandbox is all about cultivating a community, and that can only come from the platform itself.”
While there is certainly a desire to increase viewers and players of their experiences within The Sandbox, WMG acknowledges that paid marketing isn’t always the solution. They aren’t running ads on platforms like YouTube; instead, their team is dedicated to organic growth of their community. Their goal is to develop one-on-one relationships with the traffic that comes from social channels into The Sandbox; their marketing and business objectives for their experiments within The Sandbox are all organic.
“The music and gaming industry rely heavily on relationships, so our focus isn’t on large-scale paid marketing campaigns. We are more committed to fostering genuine connections and growing our community organically.”
The WMG team has embraced the idea of creating social roleplay experiences in The Sandbox and recognizes that, while there are specific KPI goals to achieve, web3 is not just about numbers; it’s about building deeper relationships with their community. They have demonstrated this commitment through their experiences and activities released thus far.
WMG has previously introduced multiple experiences and activities to reward their community members within The Sandbox. They launched the WMG Pass, which offered holders the opportunity to receive two exclusive NFTs, a T-shirt designed by Sueco’s team, the ability to add a song to Spotify’s “Sounds of the Metaverse” playlist, and access to The Rockstar role in WMG Gaming’s Discord server, granting the holder access to the private Rockstar Community. Sueco NFT holders also had the exclusive opportunity to participate in an AMA with Sueco himself within the WMG Gaming Discord channel.
Holders of the “Fusion Armored Recorder” from Spinnin’ Records Grunge and “Punk Sueco” by Sueco received extra raffle tickets in the Infinite Pulse LAND sale. WMG also hosted the World’s Biggest Demo Drop (WBDD), offering users a share of a 50k SAND reward pool, an extension of the IRL event that has been the biggest DJ talent contest for over 20 years. All of these experiences, activations, and rewards were designed with community members in mind. WMG plans to continue pushing the boundaries of the relationship between community members and artists.
Taking Fan Experiences to the Next Level
WMG has shifted its business strategy from a strict web2 focus to one that fully embraces the concept of web3, with artists and communities taking precedence. With this pivot, WMG is eager to further expand what’s possible by fostering genuine communities with personal interactions between fans and artists.
WMG will continue to grow its community through exclusive events tailored to its members. They have previously hosted AMAs with artists like Sueco and have also released apparel. WMG is looking forward to making artist-fan connection events more accessible within The Sandbox and is excited to further enhance the relationship between fans and artists. As the metaverse continues to expand, there is an exciting opportunity to build stronger relationships with fans through deeper activations linking WMG’s artists to their audience!