Unbox: Warner Music Group is Redefining Fan Experiences by Building Community in The Sandbox
Have you ever wondered how The Sandbox fits into the strategy of the world’s most iconic brands and celebrities? In this edition of our Unbox series, we sat down with Vabyanti Jasmine, Manager of New Business and Ventures at Warner Music Group (WMG), to discover why WMG decided to experiment with web3 in The Sandbox and how they have garnered over 750,000 total visits and nearly 300,000 unique visitors to their Land experiences.
WMG Found Deeper Connections with Fans in The Sandbox
Warner Music Group is always looking for ways to build deeper connections between their artists and respective fans.
Today’s fans are looking for more than a one-sided relationship with artists — they want to be involved in the journey. The community The Sandbox provides has already fostered deeper relationships between other fans and creators through gaming and social interactions. In recognizing this, WMG pursued activation in The Sandbox with the goal of achieving similar success across their many artists.
“Fans want to have some type of influence and to interact with content in a different way. It’s not just about listening to music anymore — fans are becoming increasingly more interested in immersive experiences where they can participate, create, and have fun — and gaming is a great avenue for that.”
One WMG artist who has already benefited by activating in The Sandbox is Sueco. The experience that launched helped showcase his “split personalities,” giving insight into his start as a rap artist and then the later transition to his passion for rock music. In the experience, players can take on beings of the shadows to reclaim missing pieces to Sueco’s vandalized car. Since its release, Sueco’s experience has been visited over 430k times with over 165k unique visitors. By engaging with the experience, fans were able to experience Sueco’s journey for themselves, through his own creative ideas.
“I think where The Sandbox is really interesting for our artists is the ability for them to let fans explore a different side of them and dive deeper into their world and their narrative through a gameplay experience.”
Vabyanti has distinct memories of going into The Sandbox’s Discord channel and looking at The Sandbox’s Twitter feed and seeing genuine, passionate members of the community engaging with each other. She found people who maintained an interest in collaboration, relationships, and genuine fun. There was “a general passion around web3 technology” and forming connections. This remains a primary reason why WMG continues to have a strong desire to become more involved in this global ecosystem.
Investing in Community Building and exclusive Web3 Rewards to nurture Authentic Fans Engagement.
Warner Music Group is not afraid of boldly diving into new platforms to push the envelope for their artists. They began their entry into virtual platforms by offering virtual concerts during the pandemic, and now have great relationships with other UGC platforms — even investing in Roblox in 2019. Since the pandemic has ended, they have allocated resources to researching what experiences people enjoy most in real life and in digital immersive experiences.
From a corporate and commercial angle, WMG views The Sandbox as a place to become familiar with gaming and relevant to the web3 culture. They are using their strategy with The Sandbox primarily to develop new ways to bring their community closer to their artists. They recognize that, from a business side of things, the opportunity comes from engaging, creating, and cultivating a web3 community that cares about the experiences they are providing.
There was an interesting conversation that Vabyanti recalls after WMG hired a new marketing director to promote all their experiences.
“He asked me, “How much marketing budget do you want to attribute to The Sandbox?” For me, marketing on The Sandbox is all about cultivating a community — that only comes from the platform itself.”
While there is certainly a desire to increase viewers and players of its experiences within The Sandbox, WMG recognizes that paid marketing is not always the answer. They are not doing ads on YouTube or similar platforms; instead, the team is focused on organically growing its community. The goal is to develop one-to-one relationships with the traffic that comes from social channels into The Sandbox; the marketing and business goals for their experiments within The Sandbox are all organic.
“The music and gaming space is incredibly relationship-driven, so for us, investing in large-scale paid marketing campaigns isn’t our focus. We’re more focused on fostering genuine connections and building our community organically.”
The WMG team has leaned into the idea of creating social roleplay experiences in The Sandbox and recognizes that, while there are certain KPI goals to reach, web3 is not just a numbers game — it’s about developing deeper relationships with its community. They have showcased this commitment through their experiences and activities released so far.
WMG has previously introduced multiple experiences and activities to reward members of their community within The Sandbox. They released the WMG Pass that offered holders a chance to receive 2 exclusive NFTs, 1 t-shirt designed by Sueco’s team, the ability to add a song to Spotify’s “Sounds of the Metaverse” playlist, and gave access to The Rockstar role in WMG Gaming’s Discord server which granted the holder access to the private Rockstar Community. For any Sueco NFT holders they had the opportunity to have an exclusive AMA with Sueco himself within the WMG Gaming Discord channel. Any holders of the “Fusion Armored Recorder” from Spinnin’ RecordsGrunge and “Punk Sueco” by Sueco received extra raffle tickets in the Infinite Pulse LAND sale. WMG also held the World’s Biggest Demo Drop (WBDD). This event offered users a share of a 50k SAND reward pool and was an extention of the IRL event that has been the biggest DJ annual talent contest for over 20 years. All of these experiences, activations, and rewards were created with the community member in mind. WMG will continue pushing the boundary on what is possible with the relationship between community member and the artist.
Bringing Fan Experiences to the Next Level
WMG has reprogrammed its business strategy from a strictly web2 focus to one that is completely open and accepting of the idea that is web3. As a result, artists and communities win out above all else. With this pivot, WMG is excited to continue ramping up what is possible through forming a genuine community with personal interaction between fans and artists.
WMG will continue growing its community through exclusive events catered to members. They have previously done AMAs with artists like Sueco and have also done apparel drops. WMG is looking forward to making artist and fan connection events more accessible within The Sandbox and is excited to continue enhancing the relationship between fans and artists. With deeper activations linking WMG’s artists to their fans, there is an exciting opportunity to forge better relationships as the metaverse continues to grow!