Looking for new music to add to your library? Try playing a video game!

Looking for new music to add to your library? Try playing a video game
You stand a good chance of expanding your musical horizons simply by playing a few video games


Discovering new music is something that almost everybody can enjoy. The problem, however, sometimes lies in how we can do it. Some would argue that mainstream radio has become oversaturated with homogeneous pop tracks. The same argument could be made for music television.

So, where does a music fan who wants to find new stuff turn to? As it turns out, you stand a good chance of expanding your musical horizons simply by playing a few video games.

“The consolidation of radio has ensured that the music that I grew up with would never be able to be discovered in 2008, because radio plays the same 20 songs across America,” said EA Music Group president Steve Schnur in an interview with gaming blog Kotaku.

“So how do people discover music, or the new coolest band? Through the places where they spend time, and that's online and playing games. So we decided to take that simple thought process of bringing new bands, new songs, to where kids were.”

EA’s sports series such as Madden and the like have featured a mix of popular and underground artists on their soundtracks of late. Perhaps the best examples of using games to shine a spotlight on a diverse group of artists, however, are the Rock Band and Guitar Hero games.

According to Gamasutra, a survey of Rock Band and Guitar Hero players conducted by Brown University ethnomusicologist Kiri Miller has revealed that almost 80% of players found that “the games increased their appreciation for new songs/genres.” Over 75% of players also added new music they heard through the games to their music collections.

Even older artists stand to benefit from having their music licensed by the gaming industry. Elvis’ posthumous record sales, for example, have been kept alive by the continued existence of Elvis-themed merchandise. IGT’s Elvis slot machines not only let longtime fans enjoy The King’s music as they play, it also gives new listeners an in-depth peek at Elvis’ career. The slot machine has consistently been among the most-played games on IGT’s online partner Betfair Arcade – a testament to The King’s ability to draw in even the most casual of listeners.

This licensing setup obviously benefits everyone from the game developers and publishers (music can build instant recall and draw in the artists’ own fanbases) to the bands and artists they license music from (massive chance of exposure). Don’t forget, though, that us fans also stand to gain a lot.

“Some of the bands may never get on the radio,” said Schnur. “But some might just change your life, musically speaking; you might end up buying tickets to one of their concerts in the future.”

The next time you feel like you need to listen to something new, consider booting up your game console. You might end up hearing something you’ve never heard before. Better yet, you may even end up loving it.

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