Game Changers — How video games bucked the trend during the pandemic and where music and gaming is heading in 2021

In March 2020, as film sets were being closed, advertising agencies mothballing campaigns and television production companies pulling the shutters down on content development , it was ‘just another day in the office’ for one key part of the media sector – gaming. In 2020 it is predicted that the sector will once again grow by 10%, with revenues forecast of $159.3 billion. Music remains a huge and critical part of every video game experience – from a compelling full-orchestra score in a game like Call of Duty to brand partnerships between Fortnite and artists such as Dominic Fike, and large scale music licensing across rock and electronic in brands such as Fifa (let alone commissions for gaming trailers, the budgets of which can make a Hollywood trailer look small in comparison) In the 2021 post-covid paradigm – how can music creatives and rights-holders capture some of this energy and look towards having their artists, producers and composers start to interface more successfully with the gaming sector? This panel will bring together some of the main music creative gatekeepers for some of the globe’s biggest gaming brands to discuss the pathways to successful music partnerships in gaming.

Speakers

Raphaella Lima (Global Music Partnerships & Marketing, EA Games, US)

Raphaella Lima has been with EA for over 18 years. In her current role in Global Music Partnerships and Marketing, Raphi turns music content into international brand assets and culturally-rich campaigns. She explores the data, builds the partnerships, crafts the campaigns, secures the talent and oversees it all through streaming services, social media, trailers, commercials, press events, experiential activations and beyond. In her tenure position at EA and within the industry, she leverages her expertise, early access to artists, and data-driven consumer insights to build meaningful music marketing programs that deliver against product objectives, enhance the artist's career, and drive organic impressions and engagement. In her role as a Music Supervisor, she is responsible for music programming and the creation of custom songs for several EA franchises, including global hits such as FIFA, NBA LIVE, Madden, Need for Speed and The Sims. While at EA, Raphi also oversaw the production and release of over 100 digital soundtracks for EA Recordings. Prior to EA, she supervised music soundtracks for various extreme sports athletes and brands, such as Roxy, O’Neill, Travis Pastrana, Mike Metzger, Jeremy McGrath, Tony Hawk and more, as well as produced the first-ever music magazine on DVD, 750mph.

Sara Schoch (Music Brand Partnerships, UTA, US)

Sara Schoch is an Executive in UTA’s Music Brand Partnerships division. She helps lead the team’s West Coast brand partnerships business, and works with a broad roster of clients including Guns N’ Roses, Jason Derulo, CL, Hayley Williams, Dominic Fike, DaniLeigh, Jimmie Allen and many more.

In 2020, Schoch partnered Bud Light with Guns N’ Roses for their headline performance at the brand’s 2020 Super Bowl Music Fest in Miami. She also helped pair Chance the Rapper with Ralph Lauren for the launch of their first Bitmoji collection, including a livestream performance and a custom Snapchat Chance the Rapper x Ralph Lauren AR portal.

Schoch has elevated several rising artists through partnerships with major global brands. She and her colleagues paired Dominic Fike with Fortnite for the first edition of the “Spotlight” in-game concert series. She helped secure Princess Nokia as the face of Forever 21’s first PRIDE campaign in June, which promoted her single “I Like Him” and benefited The Trevor Project. She locked in DaniLeigh as the female face of Finish Line’s current “Shoes So Fresh” campaign, which premiered in September and featured her single “Monique.”

Schoch and her colleagues partnered Latin superstars Romeo Santos and his band Aventura and Karol G with Bud Light Seltzer for the inaugural “Seltzer Session” livestream series. At launch, the event was the #1 US livestream of 2020 with over 6.5 million views. It benefited the American Red Cross.

Schoch began her career in the entertainment industry in the mailroom at UTA and eventually became an assistant to CEO Jeremy Zimmer. Upon UTA’s acquisition of The Agency Group in 2015, she transitioned into her role on the Music Brand Partnerships Team.

Leon Winkler (Director International Events, Ubisoft, FR)

With over 20 years of working experience, Leon has ventured into almost all areas of the entertainment industry before landing his dream job at videogame powerhouse Ubisoft.

Leon started his career at the early age of 16 working as a busboy in a small venue in the Dutch town of Hoorn. Having a passion for R&B and Hiphop music, he managed to convince the manager of the venue to allow him to produce his first R&B and Hiphop party, which sold out. This was the start of a series of successful “urban” events in the northern parts of Holland.

During these parties and DJ-ing throughout Holland, Leon got in touch with the Dutch Hiphop and R&B community. This resulted in the idea of creating a TV show aimed at this specific audience that seemingly was untapped at that time. After working on the idea with his older brother and self-proclaimed “Hiphop-head,” the idea was turned into a television show treatment and a few months later the treatment was sold to music channel The Box.

For the next 2.5 years The BOX was the platform for which Leon, his older brother and a group of friends produced the TV show “Urban LifeStyle”. So at age 21 and with a TV show in the pocket, Leon thought he had made it big. Alas this was a premature thought as after 3 seasons the TV adventure came to an end unexpectedly which resulted in a bankruptcy of his company Urban Entertainment.

On top of this unfortunate turn of events, there were some more personal developments that also contributed to this more dark period in Leon’s life. That being said, the positive side of this was that he had now time to graduate from college (University of Amsterdam) mastering in Media Sciences.

With both a Doctorate as well as a master’s degree and a healthy doses of youthful arrogance Leon expected to land a job in the entertainment industry without any effort. While in the end he found his dream job at Ubisoft, it took around 3 years of applying for jobs to find this specific opportunity (which almost made him quit may of times).

Now, over 14 years later, Leon is Director of International Events and leads a team of 8 professionals who all together are responsible for producing the biggest events in the videogame industry. On top of that he started the Black Game Pros initiative aimed at generating and fostering more representation and diversity in the videogame industry.

Moderator: Mark Gordon (Owner, Score Draw Music, UK)

Mark Gordon runs Score Draw Music; a multi-award winning composition company working in film, television, advertising and animation. The last 12 months have seen the company win the Royal Television Society award for best music for their work with Dolly Parton on the pre-school Nickeodean Jr series ‘Lily’s Driftwood Bay’. The company also contributed a co-write to the 2018 Oscar-winning film ‘The Shape Of Water’, and more recently has had music used in shows including Netflix's 'The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina'. Alongside this the company’s current slate of work includes music and songs for an 80-part series for PBS America, the music for a 52-part series for Disney, a recent commission for a Playmobil animated series, feature documentary score work for BBC and Channel 4, and ongoing music for a range of global brands including a longstanding partnership with Adidas for whom the company supply bespoke music. Mark has also programmed and spoken on many music and image panels and discussions- including at SXSW, Primavera Pro, Paris Sync Summit and The Great Escape.