In FIFA Football 2004 (released in Sep 2003), KoL’s ‘Red Morning Light’ was chosen as the game’s lead track. Just months later they started making waves in the US and UK with their debut album ‘Youth & Young Manhood’.
Also featured on the soundtrack was Kasabian’s ‘L.S.F’, which had just appeared on their self-titled debut. A quick scroll through the video’s YouTube comments and you’ll find swarms of people declaring: “FIFA 04 brought me here”.
Seven years later on FIFA 11 (released in Sep 2010), the influence of the game proved fruitful for The Black Keys, who licensed their commercial crossover single ‘Tighten Up’ for the game, and lo and behold, the track started climbing the charts worldwide. The influence of the football video game franchise cannot be underestimated.
By stuffing the world-famous franchise with a looping playlist of both new and established artists, acts like Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand and CHVRCHES have been able to reach a global audience with relative ease. The playlists aren’t tailored to a specific region, so those in the far reaches of Asia will get the same host of music as gamers in the UK or in South America, and so on. Last year, for example, FIFA 16 shifted over 2.5 million copies in the UK alone. In perspective that puts it just a few hundred thousand behind last year’s best-selling record, Adele’s ‘25’. Admittedly, most people don’t buy it for the soundtrack – but it’s become an integral part of the gaming experience.
Yesterday, EA (the game’s manufacturer) revealed who will be on this year’s soundtrack, FIFA 17, which is due out at the end of this month. As you’d expect – it’s chockablock with both huge artists and emerging talent. Newly coronated indie icons like Bastille and Two Door Cinema Club get a look in with their new material, as do Catfish and the Bottlemen, alongside FIFA stalwarts Kasabian, who look set to debut a currently unannounced track ‘Comeback Kid’. Emerging singer-songwriter Declan McKenna appears with his latest track ‘Isombard’ as well as Rat Boy with ‘Get Over It’. There’s spots for Beck, Damian Marley Jr., Phantogram and more – but it’s hard to ignore just how prominent Brits are on the playlist, which you can listen to below.
With any luck, the FIFA blessing could work an absolute treat for some of Britain’s finest musicians – so forget Jools Holland and post-festival streaming bounces, it turns out, this FIFA 17 could be the key to a hit single this year. Rat Boy for Number One? It could be on the cards…