COVID-19 has wracked almost every industry out there, but we’re not going to get into the challenges faced by airlines nor the ethical debates over the oil industry’s troubles.
Today, we’re talking about the music industry.
Between a truly immense list of live music gigs being cancelled which effectively halves the industry’s income, and a general cut in music industry advertising in the first half of 2020, musicians are probably suitably nervous.
We could go into how those live experiences have simply moved into the digital world broadly, but this is a gaming blog…
In-play advertising and the music industry
We’re not shy on this blog about our belief that more and more industries are and will turn to games to reach their audience. There are over 2 billion gamers out there, of all ages and interests. Music is a big one, so it makes sense for the music industry to use in-play advertising in this challenging time to beef out their monetisation strategy.
Luckily, it’s going really well for them.
There have been some awesome high profile in-play advertising events from the music industry during quarantine, so advertisers are rushing to try out this new platform. As a dev, now is the perfect time to try it out too!
Travis Scott x Fortnite
Millions of players gathered and watched as Travis Scott descended from the heavens like a meteor, flinging the onlooking crowd high into the air.
What followed was a surreal, astronomical ten minute set where the musician showed old and new tracks to over 12 million watching players – literally more than the population of Sweden.
This isn’t the first in-game concert either. Sure, there was Marshmello in Fortnite before Travis Scott, but did you know that The Offspring did a gig in World of Tanks? Or that Korn played a set in AdventureQuest 3D?
That’s not to mention Block by Blockwest either, a full-on festival inside Minecraft featuring high profile musicians like Massive Attack and Garbage.
All of these events were a natural part of the game, AND supported the musicians performing by expanding their reach to a bigger live audience than they ever could have managed. Only so many people can fit inside a stadium, after all.
Okay, by in-play ad standards these are all triple gold star executions that require a lot of programming, design and general dev time.
In reality, you could have in-play ads (at a smaller scale) inside your game within an hour using the Admix plugin.
Ads flooding to games – is that a good thing?!
Videogames are, without a doubt, the next big thing for advertising – and to a developer or a player we know that might seem like a bad thing. But it’s not.
Now that videogames are a focus, a huge amount of innovation will enter the space to make the experience better. For developers, tech will and is being made so that implementing ads is easier than ever. For players, innovations will make the experiences less intrusive and, ultimately, ensure that the games stay as fun as they can be.
Our aim in starting Admix was to be one of the first people trying to do both of those things, and we are loving how other people in the industry are innovating too.
Gismart – Monetising musician likenesses
Another response to the challenges of the music industry right now is Gismart.
They are offering a package to musicians to allow them to monetise their likeness through in-game characters, giving both the musician and the developer a cut.
It’s a really interesting approach to the industry, and it’s too soon to see how much of a success it will be but the idea is great. Even if you’re not the kind of person to love cosmetics in games, you probably know someone who would jump at the chance to look like their favourite artist. I mean, it’s literally what a lot of people are doing in Fortnite with the Marshmello and Travis Scott skins.
You might be thinking that it’s odd for a musician to be earning money through something other than their music, but that by itself is a lesson in monetising your game:
Don’t rely on one income stream. A hybrid model will always be ideal.
Plus, remember that your game is more than gameplay or story when it comes to monetisation. Merchandise – if you have the audience for it – can be more lucrative than the game itself. This is something that midsized indie devs are discovering in force with the immense amount of soundtracks reaching the Steam store in recent years.
In a nutshell
The music industry, like so many other industries, is turning to games slowly but surely in their journey to follow the fans wherever they go. And that’s a good thing.
The more people innovating in games, the more lucrative and easier ads become for devs and the less intrusive it becomes for players.
Plus, there are lessons to be learned for devs monetising their games today:
- Use multiple revenue sources. Merchandise, ads, in-app purchases – a hybrid model will always benefit you more.
- There are already good solutions for non-intrusive advertising. Admix is an example of one that puts devs AND players first.
- Understand your player’s crossover interests. If you have an audience that loves grime music and are primarily in London, consider reaching out to a popular local artist for a collab.
- Now is the perfect time to try out in-play ads, or test out a new monetisation strategy in general.
If you have any questions at all, hit us up and we can help out with planning your monetisation strategy.
All images the property of their respective owners.
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