I just read this great article by Chris Dixon on Medium: Lessons from the PC video game industry.

It succeeds in briefly describing how the PC game industry managed to create a number of new business models that took advantage of, instead of opposing, new trends in users’ behaviour.

Two key quotes:

“Over the past decade, PC gaming has, for a variety of reasons, become a hotbed of experimentation. These experiments have resulted in a new practices and business models — some of them surprising and counterintuitive — that provide valuable lessons for the rest of the media industry.”

“What the PC game industry figured out is that in a world of abundant media, users have endless choices; instead of fighting for scarcity, fight for attention. Maximize user engagement and money will — with enough experiments — inevitably follow.

On the other hand, the music industry has companies that resemble more and more law firms, fighting to protect their rights in court. This is legitimate of course, but it has the side effect of cooling down the new experiments, making it too risky/expensive to try something new.

In gaming, involving the users (or fans, in the music world) proved to be a key factor. This created engagement, and on top of that provided real-time data on the success or failure of the experiments being run.

No doubt that future success stories in the new music industry will have these factors at their core:

  • quality of the music/experience provided;
  • high level of engagement of the fans;
  • ability to capture/analyse/utilise data about fans activity.