Header image courtesy of Unsplash
By Jamie Brooks
Music is one of the oldest art forms and has constantly evolved to find new audiences. It is now a billion-dollar industry, with the Recording Industry Association of America’s 2022 mid-year data reporting that the United States recorded music revenue rose to $7.7 billion, higher than the numbers seen in the previous years. The way we discover and listen to music is also evolving as more listeners turn to digital outlets to listen to their favorite tunes and discover new artists. One digital outlet that is quietly transforming the music industry is the gaming industry.
Video games and the music industry have long been closely aligned, with both avenues offering opportunities to reach new audiences. This is significant because, as insights on gaming by Maryville University show, there were seven billion gamers worldwide in 2020, contributing to a market generating over $120 billion. With the gaming industry bigger than Hollywood and the music industry combined, it is now the top entertainment outlet for many people. There are many ways music and video games can influence each other, fostering growth. Here are some ways video games are reshaping music:
A Broader Reach
Because of a lack of language barriers, video games have a diverse global player base. This means that any track featured in a game will be automatically heard by this demographic, increasing the chance of players further exploring any artists they hear. The music industry is also taking advantage of these huge numbers to reach new markets through the rising trend of virtual concerts in gaming. Minecraft, Fortnite, and Roblox have all had musical acts take the digital stage on their platforms. PUBG Mobile also dipped its toes into the scene, hosting K-Pop stars Blackpink’s virtual concert, which over 15.7 million viewers watched. As artists explore new ways to interact with the gaming industry, the broader their reach is becoming.
Smaller or underground artists aren’t usually the first results to pop up when people search for new music to listen to, and their work can easily get lost behind more prominent names. This is why video games are now a great way for artists to get their music out there. A survey by MRC Data found that 28% of Gen Z music listeners find new music from video games. Games like FIFA, whose developers intentionally curate their playlists for the game, have been instrumental in helping people discover songs from relatively unknown artists.
Some bands have gone the extra step and created their own games. Despite KISS forming in the ’70s, they have stayed relevant and found new listeners through their video game franchise. They have dedicated KISS games on consoles and mobile devices, which can introduce their music to a younger demographic that may not have been familiar with their work.
Connecting with Others
Links between musical preferences and personality are universal, as discovered by a Cambridge University study. With music being an expression of personality, there is a potential for music to address social division as well. Due to recent innovations in the digital and gaming world, music communities and gaming are becoming increasingly closer, breaking down social and global barriers.
Metaverse is looking to transform the music community by offering platforms within the virtual space where listeners across the globe can hear and interact with their favorite artists. It also allows new artists to only exist in a video game format. This is a trend being seen across virtual platforms. Virtual artist Polar performed in the game Avakin Life and was viewed by 660,000 players. This shows how entire music communities can live inside a single game.
Video games and music intertwining is not new but still has endless potential and room for evolution. As long as video games dominate the current cultural zeitgeist, the music industry can grow along with it.
– Jamie Brooks is a contributor for www.vwmusicrocks.com and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org