Video game characters are taking over the pop charts

One of the top songs in the world right now features a bunch of League of Legends characters.

September 15, 2020

Want to feel old? Right now, the top slot on Billboard’s World Digital Song Sales chart isn’t occupied by Drake, Rihanna, or Kanye.

It’s held by K/DA — a virtual band from the video game League of Legends.

K/DA who?

The group is composed of real-life pop singers who perform as digitized characters — and they’re part of a long-running attempt by Riot Games (the maker of League of Legends) to churn out hit music.

K/DA, which debuted in 2018, is Riot Games’ star artist. But League of Legends has also produced a virtual hip-hop group (True Damage) and a virtual metal band (Pentakill).

A secondary purpose: ‘skin’ sales

The slickly made music videos that accompany these songs are great ads for skins — outfits and accessories that players buy in the game.

After showing off a neon outfit in the “Pop/Stars” music video, League of Legends put it up for sale within the game. Players pay $10 to $20 a pop for virtual Louis Vuitton outfits worn by True Damage.

Video games have yet to pump out Billie Eilish-level stars

But their slow march into the music biz could set the stage for a much bigger culture shift. Pretty soon, video game-produced performances might be all over the music and movie charts.

We already have the Fortnite concerts and song drops. And Fortnite has started hosting viewing parties for Christopher Nolan movies.

We aren’t that far off from musicians signing onto a Fortnite record label or actors appearing on Fortnite-created TV shows.

Daily briefings, straight to your inbox

Business and tech news in 5 minutes or less

Join over 1 million people who read The Hustle


How'd Bezos build a billion dollar empire?

In 1994, Jeff Bezos discovered a shocking stat: Internet usage grew 2,300% per year.

Data shows where markets are headed.

And that’s why we built Trends — to show you up-and-coming market opportunities about to explode. Interested?

Join us, it's free.

Look, you came to this site because you saw something cool. But here’s the deal. This site is actually a daily email that covers the important news in business, tech, and culture.

So, if you like what you’re reading, give the email a try.