Every industry in every nation has been affected to a greater or lesser extent by changes in technology and consequently in consumer behavior. Some have coped with those changes better than others. The Australian music industry is an intriguing example that is worth a closer look.


Australia is generally acknowledged as a tech-ready market, one that is early to adopt emerging technology and is not afraid to take a gamble on something new. That has certainly been seen in the nation’s gaming market, which is enjoying healthy year on year growth.


The music industry has more than a few synergies with this market, as we will discuss in more detail in just a moment. However, it is, to a large extent, still stuck in the early 2000s. Here, we will look at how it can learn some lessons from gaming, and even ride on the industry’s coattails to achieve financial success.


Leaning forward to listen


“Lean forward” is one of the great business buzzwords of the 2020s. Intuitively, we understand what it means. Create something that thrills and intrigues, and you don’t have to chase customers, they will come to you. Olly Barnes works as Head of Music Strategy at Space Ape Games. At a recent online conference, NY:LON Connect, he remarked that mobile gaming is now about as “lean-forward” an industry as you can get.


98 percent of mobile app revenue come from free apps. Revenue is generated in a variety of ways including in-app purchases and different types of ads. It’s generally accepted that consumers consider ads a nuisance, but they can be used for everyone’s advantage – for example many games offer in-game rewards that can be gained by choosing to watch an ad instead of parting with in-game currency.


There are also the “super fans” to consider. Almost 10 years ago, Forbes broke the news that around half of mobile gaming revenue comes from 0.15 percent of players. The report describes the findings as “scary,” but Barnes argues it is liberating.


A decade ago, he says gaming was in the position where the music industry finds itself now – desperately worrying about how to keep the industry viable when customers can get what they want for free. But according to the Forbes report, that’s just fine. 99.85 percent can enjoy their free games – or music. It’s only the super fans you need to focus on, and they will pay, and pay handsomely, for a premium product or service.


Cooperation – the online casino model


Music and games are a match made in heaven, and combining them delivers something new for fans and significant revenue for the provider. For example, Aerosmith reportedly generated more revenue from their version of Guitar Hero than they did from any individual album or tour.


That’s a very specific example, but when we look at the iGaming market, there is an instant and replicable opportunity for any singer or band. Australians gamble more money on pokies, or slot machines, than any other nation. Australian internet pokies take many forms, but branded music slots are among the most popular. Stars like Ozzy Osborne, Guns and Roses and Megadeth have taken the lead here, but there is no reason for music pokies to be limited to hard rock and heavy metal.


After all, slots featuring princesses are commonplace, so why not a Kylie Minogue or Natalie Imbruglia slot to honor Australia’s princesses of pop? You heard it here first!