Tag Archives: emi

Facebook + Music + Games…not quite there yet?

Bopler Games

We’ve seen lots of new ideas this month: Chicago throwback-rappers The Cool Kids went through Mountain Dew to release an album; Earbits announced city-specific radio stations that survive on zero ads because everything they play is actually an ad; and now, a major label is using social gaming apps on Facebook to push product.

The third case comes courtesy of The EMI Group — the smallest of music’s Big Four major labels, which also include Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group, and Sony Music Entertainment. EMI agreed last week to a partnership with Facebook social gaming company MXP4, maker of Bopler Games, which has approximately 200,000 users each months by Facebook’s count.

As part of the deal, Bopler — which launched in April and announced on Friday that it’s moving to Los Angeles, we assume to be closer to the music industry — can make little Facebook games out of EMI’s music catalog and sell the label’s music within the games.

The idea of turning music into something “playable” in the sense of a game is a strong one, as noted earlier – especially on Facebook, given the runaway success of other amusements there, such as Farmville and YouTube. It’s nice to know that even as its owner struggles to sell the label to the highest bidder, this major label is opening up to business models that go this far past the tried methods of yesteryear.

Music, games, and Facebook. What’s not to like? Actually, the jury’s still out on these Bopler/EMI games, and here’s why:

  • Bopler ties certain games to certain playlists, rather than letting you play any song with any game. If you want to play Dodge It, you get a Motown-inspired playlist. Pump It comes with contemporary pop music, while Snake It‘s playlist is significantly more indie-oriented. You can change that in the Music tab and select another song, but that’s neither self-explanatory nor easily managed. (The Music tab doesn’t even feature a search bar.) This default handcuffing Bopler puts on users means that they’re essentially randomizing a catalog that ranks among the largest in the music world.
  • Users listen to a 60-second snippet of any song for free, but anything over 60 seconds requires that you buy the song. That’s done by purchasing a “Music Pass” with “Music Cash,” a lengthier-than-necessary process that should probably be replaced by a straight-up $.99-per-song payment plan.
  • Games end at the conclusion of each song. If you’re spinning a 60-second snippet, you only have one minute to play the game until “Game Over” shows up.

As with all social media ventures, this may all come down to numbers. Fortunately for Bopler, nearly 200,000 users have already jumped on board, as mentioned above — a promising figure.

If it can find a way to streamline the payment process and actively promote the catalog a bit better, this agreement and others like it could lead to a new widespread method of paying for (and playing with) music. Right now, though, our impression of Bopler Games was that it’s a bit gimmicky (not that that stopped Farmville).

Source: http://evolver.fm/2011/07/22/bopler-games-turns-major-label-music-into-facebook-video-games/


Social Gaming Roundup: Acquisitions, Game Updates, Zynga Japan, & More

Zynga Japan Shuts Down FarmVille & Treasure Isle — According to a post from Dr. Serkan Toto, and via Game Watch, Zynga Japanis sunsetting down both FarmVille (Farmvillage) and Treasure Isle (Treasure Island) on Japan’s social network, Mixi. Each title was earning around 114,000 and 21,000 users each.

EA Uses Debt to Pay for PopCap — EA states that it will use $550 million in convertible debt to finance part of its recent PopCap purchase. As noted by VentureBeat, this is likely to allow for greater financial flexibility when it comes to making further acquisitions.

Ubisoft Buys Owlient — Core games developer Ubisoft has purchased web games developer Owlient. The acquisition is part of Ubisoft’s strategy to expand its games onto the web, social networks, and mobile spaces.

BrandEngageSponsorPay Launches BrandEngage to Drive Engagement & Monetization — Social advertising platform SponsorPay released a new product called BrandEngage this week. The service allows social game and app developers to enhance user engagement and monetization in their titles by integrating cost-per-engagement campaigns on Facebook and other social networks.

Kontagent Expands Analytics Platform — Earlier this week, Kontagent expanded its social analytics platform beyond games and apps on the Facebook platform with kSuite. Now, game developers for both the web and mobile platforms will be able utilize demographic data based on location, age groups, gender, engagement, and so on in real time.

Round of Funding Raised for deal united — The payments company behind PAY.BY.SHOPPING, deal united, has announced the ending of a Series B financing round led by Tengelmann E-Commerce Beteiligungs GmbH. Also participating were Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, KFW Bankengruppe, High-Tech Gründerfonds, and Venture Incubator. Though the exact amount raised was not noted, the proceeds are stated to be used for expanding global brand awareness.

Bopler GamesEMI Signs Deal With Social Games Publisher MXP4 — Major record label EMI has signed a deal with social games publisher MXP4 says the Guardian. Through the deal, EMI will provide music from various artists to sell within MXP4′s Bopler Games app on Facebook. Sixty seconds of songs will be free, but Facebook Credits will be required to purchase full access.

Sometrics Releases Virtual Currency Infographic — Sometrics has released an infographic regarding its virtual currency services. According to the data, the majority of virtual currency purchases they’ve seen since has derived from the MMOG at 43 percent, followed by casual and social games at 35 percent. Additionally, credit cards make up the primary payment method at 53 percent with the most active spending day being Friday.

[Launch] Kabam Releases New Dragons of Atlantis Content — Social developer Kabam has announced the release of new content for its Facebook title, Dragon’s of Atlantis. High level players will now be able to further upgrade their Fortress with new looks and abilities as well as be able to gain access to a new combat class, the Fire Dragon.

Cow Clicker Runs Amusing Campaign — Facebook application Cow Clicker is running an amusing promotion to “Save The Pigs” by clicking cows in their game. Poking fun at Angry Birds, the app provides an amusingly written “open letter” detailing the entire predicament.

Source: http://www.insidesocialgames.com/2011/07/15/social-gaming-roundup-acquisitions-game-updates-zynga-japan-more/

Music games boomed in 2010 but 2011 could be much shakier

Music-related games saw an increase of 13.7% in sales last year to generate over £100m at retail, but wider forces could compromise its growth potential for this year.

Figures given to the BPI from GfK’s Chart Track reveal that platforms such as the Nintendo Wii, drove a large amount of sales (up 123% for the platform itself) in the gaming sector. The findings demonstrate that motion-based titles such as the Just Dance franchise were key to the market over the past year, arguably taking up the slack from the decline in peripheral-based titles such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band.

The uptake of PlayStation’s Move and Xbox 360’s Kinect motion-sensor technology are also, alongside Wii, helping create a new category of music-based gaming.

BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor said as labels diversified their revenue streams, licensing music into games titles had become a core part of digital business.

“Music is no longer a mere background feature in music games but a driving force behind their development and popularity. Motion-sensing has breathed new life into music games on consoles and record companies are finding new ways of engaging with fans through mobile and social gaming platforms,” he noted.

While the market performed well in 2010, events at the end of the year and the start of 2011 suggested the console gaming business was running out of rail.

And although there are a few marquee acts which are predicted to dominate this category in 2011, such as Ubisoft’s Blacked Eyes Peas Experience and the Glee-branded Music In Motion, the real boom is happening in social gaming, as Zynga’s IPO – which could value it at $1bn (£0.62bn) – illustrates all too obviously.

The company has managed to tap into a demographic which would never have previously considered themselves gamers, using Facebook to reach hundreds of millions of users.

However, the problem here, and it will become an increasingly larger one for labels and publishers as social gaming scoops up more and more users who will never engage with console games, is that music is pushed too far the side.

FarmVille dominates the genre and Zynga’s other major titles are primarily music-free. It did partner with Lady GaGa around her recent album launch, unlocking tracks and promotions during the campaign, however research by AllThingsDigital found the impact was fleeting – with user figures spiking around track unlocks but falling back when there was no activity on the site.

MXP4 has also recently moved into this area with its Bopler range of titles – and although these are all built on music, it remains to be seen what market and revenue impact they will have.

There have been moves by labels, notably EMI and Universal, to use social gaming to reach new audiences but they have tended to be used as marketing channels rather than adding in a commercial element to the equation.

This is the fundamental problem facing the sector; as social games piggyback on social networks, there is an inherent assumption from the users that – just like the social networks they use – they should be free at the point of entry.

There are monetisation routes of course, through options like virtual goods which even track and merchandise sales. But margins are becoming tight as organisations such as Facebook adapt their usage terms to insist that games developers go through the Facebook Credits payment system and hand over a 30% commissio.

Console gaming and its new motion-based future, spells good news for a handful of mega acts with enough fans for a developer to spend two years and millions of dollars building games around them.

And, for the rest of the acts, social gaming will grow in importance. But those hoping for a financial windfall for such titles will have a long wait ahead of them.

2010’s Top Ten titles in the UK (title/format/publisher):

1. Just Dance – Wii (Ubisoft)

2. Just Dance 2 – Wii (Ubisoft)

3. Michael Jackson: The Experience – Wii (Ubisoft)

4. Dance on Broadway – Wii (Ubisoft)

5. Dance Central – 360 (Microsoft)

6. The X Factor – Wii (Koch Media)

7. Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock – 360 (Activision Blizzard)

8. We Sing: Encore – Wii (Nordic Games)

9. We Sing – Wii (Nordic Games)

10. Grease: The Official Video Game – Wii (505 Games)

Source: http://www.musicweek.com/story.asp?sectioncode=1&storycode=1045818&c=1