The videogaming industry has exploded in popularity in recent years, eclipsing the likes of the movie and music industries in terms of earnings year after year. As modern consumers plough more of their cash into gaming, it might be assumed that this is creating a seesaw effect that leaves less money on the table for other forms of entertainment. However, the evidence suggests that the opposite may be true, and the growth of gaming has advantages to offer beyond its own boundaries. Here is a look at the forces at play and the trends which have emerged in the wake of gaming’s rise to prominence, specifically in relation to the music industry.
Games and music go hand in hand
Virtually every game released today can be expected to have some form of soundtrack. Whether that might be the collection of contemporary pop and rock hits found on annual franchises like FIFA, or the genre-spanning scores of slots found at an online casino in New Zealand, it is not just the bleeps and bloops of effects that fill the ears of players whenever they pick up a controller or use their mouse and keyboard.
This of course means that while the sales of physical media may be falling and streaming has forced the music industry to evolve, there is an ever-growing demand for content being generated by gaming which is making up a lot of the difference.
As well as artists having their tracks licensed so that they can earn income from every game sale that features their work, there is also a whole heap of cash floating about for those composers who want to develop soundscapes specifically for games. This means that the relationship between gaming and the music industry is not just financially rewarding, but also creatively intriguing. Making music for games is a new art form in its own right, and the stalwarts of this field are just beginning to get the recognition they deserve in the mainstream, even if many have been excelling here for decades.
Exposure is essential
It is not just games which are enhanced through the use of music; this is a mutually beneficial relationship which gives all-important exposure to up and coming as well as established artists.
For example, it is not just possible for musicians to gain recognition that is transferable to other areas if they manage to get onto game soundtracks, but also to generate career momentum if they are lucky enough to get featured by one of the growing army of professional game streamers found playing around the clock on Twitch.
That is not to say that this connection between gaming and music has always been harmonious; licensing issues in particular have cropped up with regards to streaming, echoing a similar state of affairs which existed in the early days of video sites like YouTube before proper deals were struck to ensure artists and record labels were paid for the use of their copyrighted works.
The future is bright
Gaming as a pastime and a passion for billions of players around the world has bled back into the music industry, with a combination of live concerts, cover bands, orchestral re-imaginings and even vinyl releases of soundtracks originally developed for interactive entertainment proving that there is a whole heap of cross-pollination going on.
This state of affairs looks set to continue going forwards, and some experts even see gaming as being the saviour of the music industry, or at least one of the most important pillars supporting it as it looks to find stability.