Music is an integral part of the esports experience, and this is especially true when it comes to Electronic Arts (EA) Games’ FIFA series. State-of-the-art dynamic multiplayer gameplay lets fans play as their favorite footballers and soccer teams and listen to great tunes at the same time. The series has even been credited with helping elevate certain artists and songs to more listeners.
The next version of the game, FIFA 22, is slated to debut on October 1, 2021. So, ahead of its highly anticipated launch, the team has not only put together a FIFA 22 soundtrack on Spotify, but an accompaniment FIFA 22 VOLTA soundtrack celebrating all the flair and style that fans can bring to the pitch and street soccer fields around the world.
To celebrate the official soundtrack release and to get fans excited for the game’s debut in less than two weeks, we spoke with Steve Schnur, Worldwide Executive & President of Music, EA Games, on his team’s approach to music in the game and on the two official soundtracks.
You’ve been in the music business for a long time. What is your earliest memory of video game music? Have you always had such a strong connection with music and video games?
I’m an OG-original gamer from the generation where a pocket of coins meant everything. Back then, the video arcade was as important to me as the record stores, which I initially assumed for very different reasons. Soon I began to realize that dropping the needle on my favorite Black Sabbath album or hear that first trimester trigger the Pac-Man theme could speed up my pulse in a very similar way. All true music gamers / fans instinctively understand the connection.
You credit your team for being able to contact artists before their breakouts and for using their songs in your games. You have a notorious “no radio” position. What tools do you use to find new talent?
If it’s on the radio, it’s too late. Our job is to find, secure and deliver the best new songs, the hottest new artists and the hottest new music trends that will shake things up for the year to come.
The EA Music team, which, by the way, is only six people, does it through a simple formula: big ears, instinctive instincts, and unparalleled relationships with artists, managers, publishers and artists. producers all over the world. We listen to music together. We are passionate about it. We are fighting. We find new bands and songs that we love and then share them with millions of our friends through our soundtracks.
And the day a new one FIFA edition is out, we are already working on the next one.
What’s the biggest misconception you’ve seen about what kind of music sports fans and e-gamers will love? How did you demystify it?
Music and sport have always had a unique relationship because they are culturally linked. When we broke the soundtrack mold 20 years ago, we knew that sports game music had to stop sounding like AC DC Where Queen and instead start to reflect the next generation. As athletes began to assert their individual identities on and off the court, so did music. We believed that players would not only be open to new artists and music, but also become strong supporters of each annual soundtrack. For two generations, we have not only been a global destination for discovering new music, but also creators of new musical cultures for millions of players and fans around the world. And let it be Madden, NHL, Where FIFA, we have helped change the way people hear and experience sport.
What can fans expect with the new one FIFA release of the game and the soundtrack? Which star artists will they recognize? Who are you looking forward to fans discovering?
FIFA 22 delivers 122 unprecedented songs representing 27 nations. The spirit of the soundtrack from the 52 song menu can be felt in the stands of the Etihad or the Sands of Tulum, a festival spanning all genres of daring and uplifting beats featuring new music from international superstars like Swedish house mafia, Polo & Pan, Glass animals, Little Simz, girl in red, Jungle, and British singer-songwriter Sam fender. And as expected by fans, this year’s showcase of newcomers, including the NYC singer Casper caan; Australian alternative rockers Moon of blood; Brazilian vocal phenomenon CAIOO PRADO; london soul singer Hope Tala; unique Congolese collective KOKOKO!; Jamaican French singer-rapper Hendrix harris; Israeli trip-hop group Movement of the garden city; The number one indie rock in Ireland, Inhaler; and the “future punk ghetto” of South Africa Child of the Moon Sanelly with british duo Sad night dynamite.
The gravelly underground atmosphere of VOLTA FOOTBALL soundtrack can be felt in sneaker scuttling on clay courts in neighborhoods of Lagos and São Paulo in Los Angeles and Rome. These 70 songs offer a quintessential blend of global hip-hop, grime, electronics and beyond, including a new record from Parisian producers DJ Serpent and Malaa, British rapper Headie One with duo afroswing Young T & Bugsey, hip-hop duo from Atlanta GANG OF EARTH, and British singer-songwriter John newman with a remix of his number one hit, “Love Me Again”, by FIFA 14.
On Spotify, we have seen that listeners come to the platform to stream the music they hear in video games. How does EA take advantage of Spotify?
From the start, we knew we wanted our soundtracks to thrive on platforms outside of the games themselves. Spotify’s enthusiastic support for our playlists, including premieres, exclusives, and more, has been key to this.
Initially, FIFA the soundtracks reflected world culture. Then they started to influence the culture. Many thanks to Spotify, FIFA soundtracks now have to become culture.
Ready to relax with the official soundtrack? Head to the FIFA Profile on Spotify or stream the playlist below.