How Final Fantasy XIV fans found popularity in the game as a band

The Songbirds performed as always, on the white cobbles of Limsa Lominsa. In Final Fantasy XIV, it was already dusk. Pedestrian traffic around the city is heavy after sunset, as students race home from school and adults rush to work for the day. A faint, familiar MIDI tune leaves the band’s violin and keyboard, and after a few bars I can put it: “Kiss From A Rose” by Seal. A row of people wearing identical clothes – like the girl group Phil Specter of the 60s – together create a magical harmony despite bandwidth and latency. Fans toss their glow sticks into the air, warriors and mages lock into their dance animation at the periphery, which is Coachella with Chocobo. The Songbirds are the most popular band in MMO history and their Hydaelyn world tour will never end.

“It’s been a surreal experience to see our names out there,” said Raven Ambree, a Canadian who serves as manager of The Songbirds, asking to be quoted by his in-game name. that. “Seeing our emojis used in other people’s chats, seeing someone wearing one of our t-shirts during a live stream, or having other celebrities appear right now one of our concerts. It’s hard to explain.”

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The Songbirds, via

Songbirds was formed in 2018 and at its core, the band is a collaboration between Ambree and MewsicalMiqo. Both of them are MMORPG veterans – they’ve played everything from Runescape to Eve Online – and love Final Fantasy XIV for the ingenious ways Square Enix has completely eliminated difficulty in the genre. There’s a freedom in Square’s modern classic that allows the community to play the way they want without fear of any retribution for their progress. (You’ll never feel like you’ve fallen hopelessly down a bend in Final Fantasy 14, even after a week-long break.) Perhaps the best example of that philosophy comes. in 2018, when Square introduced a performance engine for the bard class, allowing players to arrange a simple 37-note scale for their in-game instruments. Instead of going into dungeons or fighting martial arts, you can now spend the day in Hydaelyn playing a “Stairway to Heaven” guitar solo. The world is their oyster.

Both Ambree and Miqo were fascinated by the idea of ​​forming a band using these new tools. If they can master the intricacies of the instruments – if they put all those MIDI tones together – perhaps they can achieve the rare fame of Final Fantasy XIV without any ramifications. , PvP or exchange auction house. “[I was interested] Ambree said. They named themselves The Songbirds, borrowed same name given to the trio of NPC troubadours, and started translating their favorite pop songs into the music language of MMO. I saw The Songbirds cover Coldplay, Europeand Linkin Parkand they keep an extensive list available on the internet for anyone interested in making special requests. (Want to hear “Funky Town?” Just say the word.) Sometimes the Songbirds set can be super meta; here they are playing Aerith’s Themeas if the borders of Final Fantasy’s multiverse were flowing into each other.

Ambree and Miqo regularly stream their concerts on Twitch, and they update their tour schedule regularly. posted on their website so that fans know when and where they can catch them in person. Neither Ambree nor Miqo identified a specific time when the band’s popularity exploded, but they do indicate their appearances in the broadcasts of several famous streamers – especially World of Warcraft megastar Asmongold – helped introduce their craft to a large community. Today, anyone can purchase Songbirds-branded t-shirts and mugs from the band’s merchandise store to further their fandom. The Songbirds will probably never have the same box office profits as Harry Styles’ summer stadium run, but Ambree told me that a very successful virtual rock band would pay some dividends.

He explains: “Twitch streams are an IRL income – we make enough money to keep the channel going through subscriptions and bits to pay for new content; lyrics transcriptions, midis, gifts, art content”. “Consigned or paid in-game performances, six million gil per hour of performance or $15 per hour for our time to set up and stay there. No exchange rates.”

You read it right. If you’re so inclined, you can totally pre-book The Songbirds for a private event at Hydaelyn. You name it, they sure did. Ambree lists “Househouse parties, club openings, free corporate events, birthday parties, holiday parties”. “On Valentine’s Day, a patron hired us to perform for a couple date. Two couples and The Songbirds performed for them. They were blown away by the private performance and we were. can customize the playlist to their taste, making the night even more special for them. Definitely worth it.”

“It was a surreal experience to see our names there.”

If love doesn’t close its eyes to your partner’s avatar while a symphony conjures up a MIDI interpretation for “Heaven is a place on earth,” I’m not sure what that is.

I imagine The Songbirds will continue to compose and continue to build on their legacy, as long as Square supports Final Fantasy XIV. There’s still a lot of untapped potential in the game’s composition system, and the company has made some clever changes to allow for a divinely realistic musical scene to appear in the game. For example, in 2019, Bards received a “sync mode,” which added a metronome that made it easy for characters to track their BPMs over crystal-clear WiFi connections. “It’s a system that offers more freedom than any other publicly announced game,” Ambree said. Sure, The Songbirds aren’t the only band in Final Fantasy XIV. Payment procedures Moogles group or Mosh Mosh or many others busking throughout the capital cities. Who knows? Maybe one day they’ll come together and throw their own Woodstock. It’s a metaverse that I can trust.

What I loved most about the MMO boom of the mid-2000s was how those games were able to create these incredible, unpredictable celebrity-players in the source code. That’s the beauty of a large gathering of players; In addition to boss battles and bloody arenas, MMOs also have a way of creating a unique, strange culture where local lore transcends mechanics and permeates through Shared Chat. That philosophy fell apart in 2022, when the majority of multiplayer games were combined with multiple versions, login bonuses, and mobile game-style categorization – I’ve never felt like myself. really know any of my guardians in Destiny, and I think that’s the point. But The Songbirds are a relic of those golden years; they make a server blade feel at home. Square Enix provided the tools, and Ambree and Miqo made themselves stars. It’s an age-old rock and roll success story. To think that none of them need to leave the computer?

Luke Winkie is a freelance writer for IGN.

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