Red Light Announces Sister Company Focused On Gaming

Hit Command
credit: EAT
– Hit Command
Red Light Management has announced the formation of a sister company focused on bridging the gap between gaming, brands, and music. Called Hit Command, the new company, announced Jan. 15, will be helmed by CEO William Morris, who previously worked with Seven20 (a division of Roc Nation) and Esports Music Experience. 
Morris and Red Light partner and Head Of Electronic Music Steve Satterthwaite have been working together since last year, when Satterthwaite brought Morris into Red Light without a clear idea of what his role would be, but knowing Red Light should be in esports and gaming.
“I knew we at Red Light wanted to be in the gaming space and knew somebody with the experience and contacts Will had didn’t come along too often,” Satterthwaite told Pollstar. “I also noticed UTA bought a gaming management company, my friends work with some of the owners of that. So we decided to go into this and see where it would develop with Will, support him and put structure around him. In the space of six to nine months it became very apparent that there was a business here, the opportunity to be the conduit between the music and artists and gaming manufacturers – hardware, software and studios – from a marketing, licensing and activation perspective.”
Being that conduit can mean increasing musicians’ presence and audience on game-streaming platforms like Twitch or CaffeineTV, introducing gaming lounges on some artists’ tour stops, or equity deals between artists and game companies. 
Hit Command is a joint venture with Red Light, but it will exist as an independent company that can work with clients outside of Red Light’s roster. 
Morris gave the example of Twitch Prime showing how he is finding ways for music and the streaming platform to collaborate. 
“One of my clients is Twitch Prime. We work with developers to showcase new games coming out through Twitch Prime’s platform. One thing I have done to amplify that experience is connecting this world with world renowned DJs who enjoy gaming. They come into curated experiences that we livestream, mixing Twitch streamers and artists sitting down and playing these games. Through that experience we amplify the DJs presence on the livestream, we share new music on the stream. The latest example was Insomniac’s Countdown New Year’s Invasion 2.0, which was a 60,000-person event. 
“We had The Chainsmokers, Boregore, and Nitti Gritti sit down and play Rocket League, and we livestreamed to over 1 million people. During this experience, we released an exclusive track called ‘Primetime’ by Nitti Gritti, and we premiered this during the live event to 70,000 concurrent people. This a brand-new audience for musicians and talent to reach new fans on a global level. It’s also a new car and driver to drive new music and discovery to an audience that normally doesn’t get to taste this stuff while streaming.”
Twitch Prime will also be at Insomniac’s Electric Daisy Carnival in 2020, and Hit Command will also inject brands into experiences, helping DJs endorse their favorite headphones, keyboards, mice, etc.

Additionally, things like licensing and partnership are right in Red Light’s wheelhouse, as Satterthwaite’s client The Heavy already did songs for the games Borderlands 2 and Borderlands 3. 
“The relationship we’ve had over the years with EA and Rockstar with licensing in terms of sheer volume is interesting. I think 10-15 years ago it was just about picking up a check; now it’s nice to have a bit of money coming through, but the promotional aspect is working with titles has been super useful. I mention The Heavy because that track on Borderlands 2, “Short Change Hero,” we sold a good couple of albums off the back of that and its still one of the big songs in their set. We went down and tailor-made a theme-tune for Borderlands 3, they played the massive launch that was streamed to millions of people. That’s really meaningful when you are building a band.”
As esports and gaming continue to prove their popularity on a global scale, the music industry is increasingly finding ways for the worlds to intersect. A watershed moment in this bridging was when Marshmello, who is managed by Red Light alum Moe Shalizi, held a concert through the online game Fortnite, engaging the game’s huge audience in a live event and in more than 46 million subsequent YouTube views. 
A key thing Morris says he feels is important for those entering the space to understand is that collaborations, events and other endeavors in the gaming space need to be organic and authentic, because if the artist or brand doesn’t really care about gaming, audiences will be able to sniff it out and trolling may ensue. 
Several Red Light artists already have deals with the streaming service CaffeineTV and Morris works with Twitch Prime, and he said livestreaming will be done in ways that make sense, but not necessarily for every Red Light artist. 
Satterthwaite said Hit Command was not a hard sell to Red Light Founder Coran Capshaw, as Red Light always tries to be future-facing.
“We didn’t necessarily want to go out and just sign gamers and be their managers. We wanted to be a solution between brands and the music industry,” Satterthwaite said. “I think it’s sometimes difficult when you have a bigger company to navigate these ideas swiftly. What I’m really proud of at Red Light is that when there is something like this that seems to be a future-facing idea, we can be nimble. We turned this around pretty quickly, we saw the opportunity and cut a very quick deal with Will to come in and see whether it would work. Nine months down the line, it is in profit, it is doing well, and we have a vision for the future.”