With over 570 million active users, Facebook is now one of the most popular websites in the world, and music is a huge part of that popularity. In fact, music-related pages are about a third of the top 20 pages on the site (source: Inside Facebook) and are the fourth most likely to be “liked” (source: HubSpot).
But when it comes to applications on Facebook, we see a giant disconnect. Of the top 50 apps on the site, only 3 of them are music-related (BandPage and Reverbnation, which aggregate hundreds of artist pages) and another one – NightClubCity (excellent and truly social by the way) – is a real-time simulation game, all about managing a nightclub (instead of a farm) with a growing integration of branded virtual goods (Kiss, Justin Timberlake, Snoop Dog…) and personal playlists.
Music’s inability to leverage the power of the Facebook app is currently a critical problem, as these apps are extremely cost-effective ways to drive revenue opportunities (e.g., in-app purchases) as well as increase viral distribution.
So what do the top apps have that music apps don’t? Facebook is about sharing, discovering and connecting. If we look at the top 50 most popular Facebook apps, we can see that those that provide social interactivity – especially gaming apps that incorporate social interactivity – are consistently at the top of the list. If music apps want to compete in the Facebook environment, they need to leverage these same elements – fun apps, apps that connect users, apps that encourage people to share.
In order to get users interested in music apps for Facebook, we have to create music apps that go far beyond just offering a passive listening experience. Instead, we have to offer the element of interaction and challenge that games offer. Moreover, we’ve already seen that people are inclined to “like” music pages because they feel it gives them a certain connection with the artist as well as with other fans, so we should be developing music apps that offer an even deeper connection.
And then there’s the issue of monetisation. Game apps on Facebook have proven so successful at driving micropayments that brick-and-mortar retailers are starting to sell – for real money – gift cards for purchases of virtual goods on the site. If music can adapt and give consumers the social, interactive, fun experience they’re looking for, it too can benefit from this new and growing economy.
You can find a selection of the most recent articles on Social Music Gaming @ socialmusicgaming.com.
MIDEM hosts the first ever Social Music Gaming panel on Monday Jan 24 (10.00).