I can't think of an intro for this post, every time I type one It's either way too long, doesn't actually get the point of the post across at all, or just makes me look like a complete pube. Anyway, a blog post about how video games help gamers to find new artists and artists to find new fans;
It will come as no surprise that piracy is seen as a threat to most industries and with the ever growing popularity of the media and the ever growing reluctancy amongst "fans" to actually pay for music, you wouldn't be given strange looks if you argued that piracy is putting the music industry in a place it's never been before; and not a good one.
Whatever your views, it's safe to say that just like always, artists and bands want fans. Whether they buy their album, pay to see them in a small venue or simply illegally download their music, before telling everyone they meet how awesome they are, it will help their career in some way.
Over the years it has become increasingly easier to gain a fanbase, whether this is through TV, radio or signing up to every social networking site on the wonder, that is the internet there's a big chance you'll be able to gain some form of fanbase no matter how big or small you are, no matter how awesome or terrible you are which is where gaming comes in; gaming used to have the reputation as a pastime exclusively seen in the basement of an old woman's house, where her 34 year old son would sit,gaining wait and playing games until the early hours of the morning, and whilst it still may not have the best reputation amongst ill-informed fogies who read the Daily Mail, it's definitely more mainstream now, than it's ever been before. Thousands of people play games every day and it can be the perfect place for artists to get some coverage.
No matter what genre of game you're into, your favourite will have some sort of soundtrack, and when that's a compilation of licensed tracks, rather than an original score, it can do wonders for the artists who've been lucky enough to get their track, or often tracks, into the mix.
The majority of people who've purchased a particular game (Lets say, for example, Burnout Paradise - the soundtrack for which, is a perfect example of what I'm talking about, here.) will have listened to every song on that disc, countless times and whilst there may very well be a whole host of well known tracks amongst them, these will do nothing but convince the player to listen all the way through the soundtrack (whether this is an intentional act, or an accident). Personally, I've listened to many songs in games, Burnout Paradise especially and, 10 minutes later, finding myself doing some extensive research on a song, artist or in some cases, a whole genre on the internet and I'm sure others have done the same, to atleast some extent.The latest example of this being when I heard one of Deadmau5's tracks on NFS: Hot Pursuit, I would never have dreamed of listening to any of his songs or anything similar before, but since then, I've spent about £10 on one of his albums, listened to it almost endlessly and I'd now considering buying tickets to one of his shows next time he's on tour.
Talking about my recent introdcution to Sir Deadmau5 and similar artists leads me to my next point; It's not even new artists benefiting. Within one month, one racing game can have a massive effect on an individual's music taste. Imagine how much power the whole track list of something like Rock Band has. Granted, all the songs are going to follow some of the same conventions but not every song in one Rock Band or Guitar Hero game is hardcore rock, or Metal; There's a big variety and just like Hot Pursuit did to me, it could lead someone to a whole new genre that they never would have been a fan of, prior to playing that game.
It doesn't matter whether this person buys the entire discography of an artist, pays 79p to download one song, or pays anywhere up to £100 to see them live, or just spreads the word amongst their close friends; this artist has just gained fans and somewhere down the line that could help to boost their career, even if it's the tiniest bit. Obviously, one person becoming a fan of one artist wont have a substantial effect, but when you imagine the scale this could be happening on every time a new game is released there's every possibility that, without gaming, the music industry would rely much more on the sales of music in the charts and bands and artists would find it that bit more difficult to gain the fanbase they have done.
In fact, as I've been writing this I've been listening to a playlist of songs from LittleBigPlanet; everyone of them bought, legally, with genuine monies.
Video Games deserve a big thanks for helping me and many others find new music, as well as potentially helping the music industry get to where it is today. Thanks, gaming.