Let’s be honest, if Fifa ever put a music festival on, it would probably have the best line-up of all time.
For the past 20 years or so, the game’s soundtrack has combined established artists with new singers and songwriters to create a one-of-a-kind soccer bar.
Everyone from Blur and Muse to Skepta and Billie Eilish have appeared and the songs are ingrained in people’s heads as they prepare to perform.
The 2022 soundtrack has been revealed with tracks from Little Simz, Glass Animals, Joy Crookes, and Chvrches.
In addition to some of these household names, there are newer artists like Willow Kayne, who says that appearing at Fifa 22 is a “wish list” moment.
“It is a great honor to be on the soundtrack,” she told Radio 1 Newsbeat. “It is a great achievement for me.”
His two-seat National Anthem appears in this year’s edition of the game and he admits that it is one of the “five things” he wanted to achieve when he started making music.
“I remember when we did it, I thought it sounded like a Viva tune at the time. When it came out, I had a lot of comments with people saying the same thing.”
In addition to prestige, exposure to a new artist can be huge. “Now I am a complete FIFA girl,” she says.
And since the news broke on Instagram, Willow also says that she has had former classmates (she says she never reached out) to tell her how sick she is.
“Success is the best revenge.”
The power of the fans
Having a premium feature is a great profile boost and a way for emerging artists to gain new fans, but it can sometimes work in the opposite direction as well.
Also on the track list is emerging British rapper V.I.
He at first he rejected the idea, but then he began to think about how to achieve it and how he had nothing to lose.
“I feel like everyone loves the David and Goliath story,” he says. “How is it that an unknown and unsigned person does something while everyone else is watching? Everyone is afraid of failure.”
At the time, he was working night shifts at Amazon and says he was on his “last legs” when it came to trying to get into music.
He made a video introducing himself, the song, and how good it could look on FIFA. He says he went to sleep and woke up to 300,000 views with many people tagging the creators of EA Sports.
The rest is history.
“It’s crazy that the song reached such a large audience. People still remember the song they were listening to when they were slapped in FIFA 20 years ago.”
Other artists on the soundtrack are also aware of the power play can have on the song’s success, including James Smith, lead singer for the Leeds-based band Yard Act.
The group had known for months that their track The Overload would come out this year, but had to keep the news a secret for a few months.
“It feels like a milestone,” says James. “I wouldn’t say that’s why I got into music, but it sure feels like one of those things you can check out that makes you feel good.”
James recalls the “bonding experience” he had playing FIFA when he was young, with artists like Gorillaz, LCD Soundsystem and Groove Armada stuck in his head.
“Games are a part of every player’s life, whether you’re a loyal addict or just a passing fan. It’s suitable for a lot of people. Even my mom knows it.”
He says others believe his music “immediately changes” his opinion of her.
“It makes you see things you’ve never seen before. It gives you more confidence and it empowers you.”
The perfect marriage of music and football
Analysis by Steffan Powell, Newsbeat gaming reporter
The launch of FIFA is a moment that millions of players around the world eagerly await each year.
The quality of reception for a game can vary greatly. For example, Fifa 18 has been highly praised by critics and has a Metacritic rating of 84, compared to last year’s title, Fifa 21, which had a much lower score of 72.
However, fans and critics rated the gameplay and updated graphics, the success of the soundtrack is independent and has a life of its own.
If the song is one of those tunes that appear when players mess with their Ultimate Team rosters or wait for their teammates to join an online game, then your career may begin.
There aren’t many other games with a music format that have such an impact, and by investing in such a strong team of Fifa 22 developers, they are clearly interested in maintaining that legacy.