Business

Roblox Introduces Listening Parties, Starting With Poppy's New Album

Poppy
Frank Ockenfels*

Poppy

Over the past year, Roblox has hosted immersive virtual concerts with artists like Lil Nas X and Twenty One Pilots. Now, the gaming platform is inviting artists to stream entire albums in the metaverse through virtual listening parties.

For its first-ever listening party, Roblox is teaming with Grammy-nominated musical chameleon Poppy and her record label Sumerian Records to stream her brand-new album Flux in the gaming platform starting today (Sept. 24). Music from the album will be integrated throughout nine popular Roblox games -- which collectively boast more than 3 billion lifetime visits -- so that fans can listen as they dance in RoBeats, attend Robloxian High School or explore Creatures of Sonaria.

"Music is such a natural part of the way we express ourselves, entertain ourselves, and find connections with other people, and we want to keep finding new ways to make music more of an integral part of the Roblox experience," Roblox vice president and global head of music Jon Vlassopulos said. "Allowing Poppy’s fans to enjoy her new album Flux where they are already spending time with their friends seemed like a no-brainer, and our developers have jumped at the opportunity to participate."

Poppy will virtually join fans in the linked games to answer questions about her album, and will offer Roblox users two exclusive virtual merchandise items for free. "I feel very fortunate to make music in a time like this," Poppy said in a statement. "Roblox is a platform with endless possibilities and seemed like a perfect place to launch my new album."

Sumerian Records chief strategy officer Jill Pedone added in a statement that Poppy "already has an existing fanbase on Roblox," making the gaming platform a natural place to premiere the album. "We’re always looking for new and innovative ways to help our artists break through the noise and reach fans where they already are," she added.

Courtesy of Roblox
Poppy's listening experience inside the Roblox game Overlook Bay.

Meanwhile, as a character born on the internet, Poppy is a natural fit for the Roblox metaverse. When Poppy -- the project of multimedia artist Moriah Pereira -- emerged as a YouTube phenomenon circa 2017, her eerie videos led viewers to question whether the character was a human or a computer-generated image. Performing as Poppy, Pereira has since released critically-acclaimed albums across genres, from her bubblegum pop debut Poppy.Computer to the heavy metal I Disagree, which made her the first solo female artist ever to be nominated for a best metal performance Grammy award at the 2021 ceremony.

The listening party feature is the latest step in Roblox's ongoing pursuit of the music industry. While Roblox does not have broad music licensing deals with labels and publishers, it has partnerships with Sony Music Entertainment and BMG to bring their artists into the game, and Warner Music Group is an investor.

The full schedule for Poppy's listening party is available here.