Media futurist Gerd Leonhard did his thing on-stage at MidemNet this afternoon, talking about some of the new business models being used outside the music world. One of the most fascinating was Farmville.
Zynga’s social game is absolutely huge on Facebook, as you’ll know if your friends and family are clogging up your news feed with lost pigs, horses and chickens. It’s got more than 73 million users on Facebook, and is generating millions of revenues from selling virtual items.
Leonhard held it up as an example to the music industry, particularly its free-to-play model. “What can we learn from Farmville? It all starts with free. Farmville gets people hooked, then sells them virtual tractors. People will buy anything once they’re hooked.”
He suggested that the music industry should be looking more deeply into interactivity and virtual items, as well as social media. “Go inside the social networks with music!” he said.
“How come Facebook doesn’t have music? 8.7 billion minutes are spent a day on Facebook, so why can’t we make a deal – hopefully not individually, but collectively.”
That’s something of a simplification, though. There IS music on Facebook, through apps like iLike, and some virtual items. But Leonhard is absolutely right to say that the explosion in social games has by and large passed music by. In 2010, that will hopefully change.