David Stromberg, General Manager, Cactus Jack

David Stromberg
– David Stromberg

The Visionaries

Executives who see things before others do.

David Stromberg
General Manager, Cactus Jack  

The scope, ambition, innovation and success of Travis Scott’s “Astronomical” integration in graphic form with Fortnite April 23-25 set a new paradigm for what a “live performance” could be and the audience it could reach during the coronavirus. Just ask the staggering 27.7 million unique participants who showed up a total of 45.8 million times during the three-day series of shows.

“We worked on it for a while,” says David Stromberg, the GM for Cactus Jack, Travis Scott’s management company. “It was something we had been developing extensively but really accelerated when everything shut down. Everyone
recognized this was an incredible opportunity to introduce something special in these uncertain times.

“Our main goal was to translate Travis’ larger than life aesthetic and dynamic live performances to a digital, global audience while simultaneously launching new verticals,” Stromberg says. “Basically, we wanted to create an opportunity for millions of kids around the world to experience possibly their first concert and for core fans to participate in a new, innovative format.”

That was achieved in spades and then some as the ingame concert also premiered the track “The Scotts,” featuring Kid Cudi, which subsequently topped the charts and broke Spotify’s 2020 YTD record for most streamed track in its first day of release in 7.45 million streams. The gaming event generated 45 million views.

“Debuting a song in the game and releasing it that day was another aspect that hasn’t really been done before at this level,” Stromberg says. “To see it debut at No. 1 was amazing proof of concept. We also got a lot of really interesting data from the whole initiative.”

The proof of Scott’s draw was definitive and built on the road over the last few years as he filled arenas across North America during his “Astroworld: Wish You Were Here Tour” in 2018-19. That run topped the 2019 Q1 Top 100 Tours ticket sales chart with a total of 438,982 tickets sold and $32 million grossed in three months.

The Fortnite concert was livestreamed across platforms like Twitch and YouTube while Scott’s Twitch livestream showed him and his friends enjoying the experience along with everyone else. “I was at the show with Travis and our friends,” Stromberg said, but he may not have has as much fun as the others. “I was just holding my breath hoping the servers didn’t crash.” Though once it was over, he may have had even more fun: “My phone went crazy after the event. People I haven’t heard from in years sharing reactions from their kids was pretty cool. Some of my most respected mentors and innovators in the business reached out. I feel like we just scratched the surface of merging music, gaming and live events.”