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From Guitar Hero and Rock Band to the Grand Theft Auto, Tony Hawk Pro Skater and NBA 2K franchises, video games have consistently wielded significant influence on the way consumers discover and connect with music, both new and old. But in recent years, video games have become far more than just sync placement opportunities for the music industry; they've also transformed into merch tables, concert venues, lifestyle marketing partners, creative production tools and so much more. In this talk, we'll walk through a brief history of music and gaming partnerships over the past 50 years, dive into watershed moments from the late 2010s and early 2020s that vastly expanded the playing field of these partnerships and outline key trends that will shape the future of this landscape in 2021 and beyond.
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Award-winning writer who specializes in analyzing, tracking and critiquing innovation in the global music business.View the profile
Thank you all so much for a tuning into this talk. I am super excited that we aren't able to meet in person, but definitely honored to be getting one of these future talks about the Southwest this year, fourth time participating in the conference and my first time giving us all a shock. I have moderated several titles, 27, exchange and ensure all these ideas on music and gained a lot of growing areas of the scope of music and gaming Partnerships. Original soundtracks is not just about a Grand Theft Auto
Etc. Is your touch has literally every part of the music business introduction for a little over five years for shooting at your music Etc. My own music. As of this semester of this year, I'm also teaching before Sunday, Very topic of this presentation, at the Clive Davis Institute of recorded music. So how did we get here? What is the history of music and gaming as a partnership between those two industries? Generally, I think it's an industry which is very authentic early
and often I think what super interesting if you go back with, if if you go back to the very early stages of the video game industry, as a concept, commercially successful video game, developers companies really comfortable with Computer, Engineering, and Hardware. Engineering in particular were also probably employed full-time at the company in house engineers. And designers actually in code here during its festive. It is also very distinct and iconic kinds of soundtracks
fast forward, a couple of depth of compact discs and Technology word shutter really even makes technologically possible option to include pre-recorded music into video games of selves. But now you could separate into your soundtrack license to record of music. As a very much, the norm name is Justin artists and labels so that also been means to Commercially successful. There's no way I'm single kind of music out of the early to late 2000 and early 2010, kind of passed. So Grand Theft Auto
recognizable, examples of a game that really put music on your neighborhood with label psychotic records to really build a following music. Certain games like audiosurf for all through consoles, like Microsoft, Xbox allowed individual, Gamers and players to customizer soundtrack in 2007 at Southlake Mall. What is the name of the partnership's look like? So I think you're going out and looking at the pictures of a course of always been a popular, but in terms of celebrities leading into gaming across different genres, and really embracing, it
really is truly part of Pop Culture, politicians and public figures like Alexandria ocasio-cortez. You have artists like Drake and T-Pain. Openly Among Us. An animal crossing like a very wise to what's the interesting part about the evolution of the music in gaming Industries at least in the past couple of Decades of the twenty-first century. Is that the industry has Road have profited off of off of the gestation stark contrast from the music business. Which I
do, you know, like the survivors of cheer up your file sharing services. Like master that lets you like an aggregate 15-year. Declining revenue for the Music Industry. Recovery until 2015 and I'm looking to other entertainment industry and then look at you look at other Industries like which you know, this digital revolution has actually helped them and are trying to ask questions. Like how do we, how do we collaborate more with those types of Industries? How do you learn from our mistakes mail Solutions. Is
the video game industry continues to grow in financially. So many different kinds of companies across in the gaming industry are trying to expand beyond the routes into a company, which owns Legends will start their own music divisions, either release concerts and also, the secondary Social level. We're both rooms light switch and started in the gaming industry. You, and you certainly are just beyond that to service. Just a dramatic impact of more broadly, as I alluded to towards the beginning of his talk is that the opportunity for the music industry to partner with gaming companies,
Advanced far beyond, just soundtracks. It's not about, just like pasta. Have done that investing in East Fork leaks. You can pursue brand Partnerships, like whatever you think about the photo collage. Partnerships with Pokemon, it really is no mainstream pop culture brandau, not just not quote-unquote Justice. And this is just an example of the bottom of the artist, the artist her like she stormed Partnerships So yeah just summarize like from the music industry perspective what are they actually looking for from games
given the speaker opportunity basket right? It's not just about sync licenses or short multimodal. Visit bottles at the same time. They showed a couple slides, with contrast between the music industry's, a lot of music companies, especially those companies are looking to build. So just very quickly. Generally speaking approach for a sink license to say he is smart switch owns. The franchise has a song from Puerto Rico, on the publisher for the game developer exchange for a license in perpetuity to have that song
that's really it. Like I was going to be set up, evaluation ship, do you know the game developer Sports? This case would go on to $60 a piece and make all of that revenue and profit with none of that going back to the record label. No matter how important music was in that true, Even for a franchise that has music by the center for the label or publisher, that picture is actually very similar to tell riddles like you Tik Tok. I don't think they expect to get a lot of money from Tik-Tok if anything. Just hoping that kind of the
artist that comes from playing the game will be more back in the day. CD sales, final record sales Etc. So any wish it was actually pretty limited to a single licensing transaction in terms of how to purchase computers for integrative. So the first approach keep the focus on being recorded music Master recording of the song itself. What's pictured? Here is just one of many volumes at the game. Rocket league has released in collaboration with the Indie, electronic label and publisher called Monstercat and
really developed Star Trek together in Tampa from the very beginning. All these think licenses unlike many other games are also focused on emerging acts. Many of whom may be undiscovered as of yet by The Wider music industry, and I only have a couple of tables. So it looks really shooting for music every and I'm not just saying that leaves as a whole has been able to feature Monstercat artist other songs by this type of Whether in person or virtual events, going to be super powerful.
Second emerging approach, looks Travis, Scott's recent show in fortnite marshmallows show that I did a Ford at your fire in terms of speed business opportunities for the artist perspective as far beyond just keep recording. Yes, of course, you know, the Travis Scott and or his leg. They probably got a licensing fee from the game itself to standard as we went over this thing licensing contact, and it also in this case, definitely helps with at least 25% increase and fall on cuz I'm sure Todd Bissell. Music streaming platforms like Spotify and I really one element
concert. Travis Scott. Sold a lot of India. Outfits that was in style of Travis. Scott type of brand personality on the Artist as much as the song or recording for say. So this is I think this while he's had two opportunities are only available across the select. Few are Descent of the top upset of the industry. Seven, super holistic, I know artist cut across the Spectrum or 50 but right now, When approaching Fisher getting partnership is equally relevant at the individual and organizational
shift from Jesse or flat sync, licensing fees to a mindset of actually taking Equity ownership of the centers. I think we're only releasing the early like implications of what that means for what music is on the business, like what an artist is as a business, we're seeing your company sucks, Tony start entire divisions, just dedicated to immersive music experience has they're using Unreal which is the same Power Sport and its dedicated experiences in Roblox to a more open social gaming platform will probably go public this year of actual. Create a pretty big
is not very difficult relationship. Sports on a video game supposed to treating it as a leading commercial vehicle. And also, so we got to this point. I talked mostly about gaming as a business model, but in terms of like emerging bottles to be rude, I would really like to see more artists use games, not stupid, commercial outlet for maximizing profit, a lot of Roblox with that music place and they can also be an outlet for an artist and It's so interesting that one of the most cutting-edge forward-thinking Innovative projects around
creating games out of Music Creations, Lightning McQueen, game versions of albums, or singles. I was ten years ago. So they all the image of the left is just one screenshot of what is the Phantom of the album. You can listen to it on Spotify in Brockton Pharmacy to play around with and make an offer on music. A do I have really seen any similarly, imaginative and groundbreaking at least at this level and reach us at the primary for the album, the one exception,
but it hasn't really had that much Which is on the right screenshot from sigur Ros Partnership of you interact. With born mixed reality. Another kind of try that. I'm seeing in the industry. Morad, the social side of gaming is that a lot of music are positioning themselves as an option to starting to modify to build a business, especially in the independent both have outside of a chance of your gold subscription service. For the fact that all of these especially in the context, just goes to show how the top of my screen
platforms, like, Twitter that were those are now for For other kinds of artists online. And just to highlight a couple of examples from games as lifestyle brands, on the left is a screenshot of BTS World, which is a mobile game where you can banish each member of the band, you don't bring them to the training process you can bring them on for your kind of like your scored along the way. The stimulates the artist management experience in this very kind of camisole, Soul
the artist sympathy group, members of sauce, do you have? I think it's been at least seven figures in revenue and its label and independent Not really tied to any album release. It's just she just this week. It was announced that is going to be broadcasting herself. Play Mortal Kombat along with other kind of artist on Twitch and she's a part of Mortal Kombat commercials play me. Roll up a recurring, character personality, Opportunity, I think the main challenges in your forms of Partnerships boil down
to the question of whether we can teach an old dog new tricks. So I think they were supposed to stop strands of this. The biggest ones that are talking about music. Of course, licensing comes up with trying to impose its Legacy models of copyright and music. Technology operate. Actually, I guess the internet which are facing dmca takedown. It's something that you do the likes of YouTube and sound, just because gaming is very fast-moving. Cortana styles of dmca takedown notices every week. A lot of creators he liked
turn off of Houston. They're getting scripts lower just two examples of potential solutions to mention Monstercat gold which allows you to access any of their the salt in their catalog for like 99.9% are catalog without having to pay $5 a month to have, like really had to go out of their way. Got a final challenge in this concept of Teach an old dog. New tricks is just especially with the developers partner. Best audience has that has matched our decide to major labels to Travis Scott, BTS Anderson paak etcetera.
Artist featured in Grand Theft Auto or cut up a lot of the sports game. Franchises that I mentioned earlier, that we mostly celebrity-driven. If I enter the phrase thrown around a lot in the media. If you do are are video games, the future of concerts are video games, the future of the music industry. I think it's possible. But in order for that to be true, really has to be able to serve everybody. And and what I really seeing a gap in the market, partnership opportunities in solutions that are accessible for emerging
artists. Pictured here is one of many festivals that have taken place in the game Minecraft. And the reason why so many codes in Minecraft, that is because customizability, but I really have yet to see a social platforms or publically should at that direction. Call the closest out, entire back to the beginning. So I mentioned that history of is inseparable from Computing and that's just horrible contacts. Show me how friends video game. Interested in diving into any more of distress, I discussed. I would love to hear from you as a social media
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