Typically, one associates CMJ Music Marathon with music (obviously) and film. However, artists may want to take note of a new medium: social gaming. Such a medium was discussed at great detail at the Social Gaming + Music: What The Music Industry Could Learn From Virtual Goods, Games And Worlds panel, held at NYU. The panel was moderated by Sibley Verbeck of the Electric Sheep Company, who was joined by IMVU’s Benton Richardson and Turntable.fm’s Jonathan Kupferman. Together, the group discussed how bands can take cues from video games to reach a wider audience and generate sales.
As FarmVille has shown us, the combination of social media and video games makes for an interactive (and addictive) pairing. As Richardson explained, gaming can offer themed environments to cater to users’ specific tastes. IMVU—a Second Life-style, open-environment game—for example, may include a dubstep-themed room where all the avatars are decked out in glowsticks and where trippy visuals loop in the background.
Besides immersion, social gaming allows for unique artist promotions that are markedly more interactive than your average meet-and-greet. IMVU has partnered with Pink Floyd and Korn to offer virtual merchandise, and even virtual meet-and-greets with band avatars, to paying fans. Turntable.fm—a site where users create and share playlists—collaborated with Wale at one of his recent Chicago concerts by having Turntable.fm users spin at the show on their laptops, turning gamers into the opening act.
Before taking questions, the panel briefly discussed the possibilities for the medium—social-gaming approaches to ticket sales and remixes, for example—and noted how social gaming has the potential to connect artists with their fan bases in a wholly interactive, limitless way.