Virtual worlds platform Roblox has signed an agreement with Sony Music Entertainment. Roblox signs music partnership with Sony: The agreement expands the existing collaboration, which includes a Lil Nas X concert in Roblox in 2020 and a virtual dance party with Swedish performer Zara Larsson in 2021.
The press release states that the agreement will include “an innovative music experience for the Roblox community that offers Sony Music artists a number of new commercial opportunities to attract new audiences and generate new revenue from virtual entertainment,” though a Roblox representative told The Verge that the company is not yet announcing any specific events or experiences. The spokesman said Roblox is in talks with other record labels as well.
Roblox has grown significantly in recent years, especially among younger users. The platform, a system for creating games and other virtual games for profit or personal entertainment, registered 43 million daily active visitors in May. Many of these experiences include music, including through Roblox’s official “boombox” item. Roblox and other metaverse worlds such as Fortnite have also hosted live virtual concerts and parties, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.
The popularity of Roblox has generated positive and negative attention from the music industry. Last month, the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) sued the company for allegedly promoting piracy, accusing Roblox of profiting when users download copyrighted songs and share them in the Roblox game. Roblox settled the claims with one of the plaintiffs in mid-June by signing a “strategic agreement” with music label BMG. At the time, NMPA CEO David Israelite said that “having some deals with certain labels and publishers for music events is in no way legally adequate” for the platform.
In a statement today, Roblox emphasizes that “Roblox respects the rights of all creators and uses advanced technology to verify all downloaded music. Roblox does not tolerate repeat offenders and responds quickly to all DMCA requests filed.” The company declined to clarify whether the deal with Roblox would include a license extending to users playing Sony’s music in the experience, something that major social media platforms such as YouTube have allowed.