It’s pretty much accepted within the music industry community that gaming is one of the big opportunities that record labels are going to be getting more involved with over the next few years, but it seems that the four majors are worried that they’re going to have to settle for suboptimal deals for one reason..
There is a huge supply of music and (relatively) small demand, so even if major record labels refused to provide content at a cheap licensing fee, game developers can easily go elsewhere for equally great music.
This is worstened by the fact that the gaming industry is just so damn profitable and enticing for record labels to be involved in, which forces them to pitch in at lower than ideal licensing bids. On the contrary, game developer Activision (owned 54% by Vivendi – who also own Universal Music Group) have stated that they think things should be the other way around, where record labels pay the game developers to feature their songs – personally, I think this is counter productive for both parties as limiting funding to the music industry will only reduce the volume of quality artists developed by major labels and after all, the game industry is still increasing in value by $0.4 billion/ year, while the major labels are still reporting multi million losses…
So what is it that makes gaming so important to the music industry?
Gaming Creates Musicians
According to a study by Youth Music, around 2.5 million of Britain’s 3 – 15 year olds have been inspired to learn real musical instruments by music themed video games such as Rockband and Guitar Hero. Now what is it that fuels the music industry – musicians, right? While we’re certainly in no desperate demand for more musicians, It can’t be a bad thing to encourage more and more kids into having the amazing ability to play an instrument.
“It gives people the chance to try out, even if they’re too scared to go on a real stage.” – Hayley Williams, Paramore
Gaming Breaks in New Musicians
Because of the popularity of the gaming industry, many artists are now creating artist branded iPhone gaming apps, PC software and online java applications to break themselves in. Dutch artist and game developer ‘Noisia’ has had great success in creating games that create new fans and encourage them to go away and purchase the music heard during gameplay. Universal Records have also recently created iPhone Apps to break in some of their newer signings with great success.
Gaming Promotes Musicians
Having your music featured on TV or in an Advert is pretty neat, but you only really get a short one-time stab at grabbing people’s attention and in most cases even if you do it’s not always easy for listeners to find out who you are and what your song is called. Video games are a whole different ball game, as your music can be played again and again and in pretty much all instances on video games your song’s details will be clearly referenced. The numbers are also much more significant – Guitar Hero and Rockband combined have sold over 100,000,000 games.. not a bad promotional tool for musicians at all ;)
And for good measure, here is a quote from a dude named Tommy who has apparently written 275 games and agrees with us:
“Industry insiders are learning that video games are the radio and distribution channel of the 21st century” Tommy Tallarico – World Record Holding Game Developer