Music vs Video Games

The interactive opportunity

Welcome, artists & builders.

Are music’s passive days over? Today I’ll dive into some trends towards interactivity & the opportunity it presents for music.

Inside Issue #27

  • 💡 Music’s interactive opportunity

  • 🥊 Play with your music

  • 📊 Indie music market share

  • 🗞️ Warner’s superfan app, getting your first 20k monthly listeners & more

Music’s Pie is Too Small

Growth is stunted because it’s too passive. We’ve barely surpassed 1999’s numbers, while video games continue to skyrocket.

Even as streaming approaches 1 billion global subscribers, recorded music makes $157 billion less than video games each year.

  • Video games have outgrown music 42x since 1999

  • Earning $1.3 TRILLION more over that time

Music must become more interactive, dynamic & social to grow the pie.

Music Has Whales

The live concert business delivers on this - and it’s booming. It’s immersive & connective, which is why we’re willing to pay so much for it.

Even 3.5x all the music in the world for a single ticket.

But streaming?

It’s too passive. Too diluted. Too disconnected. We need layers on top that deliver more engaging experiences.

Think about this:

  • Superfans spent 13% less time listening last year (^Midia)

  • and U.S. Gen Z spent 11% less money on streaming (*Luminate)

So, where are they putting that time & money?


Superfans spent 42% more time creating last year than in 2022.^

Music's Biggest & Youngest Fans Want Interactivity

They want more than personalized content in isolated little siloes.

They want to be connected.
They want to be involved.
They want to create!

And while people view music consumption as free, they’ll pay to play with it.

This is why Beatport sells ever-more downloads each year - because they’re used to create, not consume.

Interactivity Is Getting Easier

Just this week, Youtube launched a tool to play with any music video & Audiomack launched a feature to play with any song.

→ TikTok is adding creation tools
→ BandLab is empowering mobile production
Stationhead is fostering social listening

Add in 100 more examples, including artists.

Savvy artists are posting songs with whole verses left out for fans to jump in and collaborate with. In some instances, fans aren't even waiting for the invitation, jumping in to add to songs when the artist has only posted a small snippet.

Darren Hemmings, Network Notes

Everyone’s a Creator

And that’s the opportunity.

Earn the most remixes & collabs - you win.
Educate, inspire & connect - you win.
Get people so involved your project becomes bigger than you - you win.

Look no further than Grimes’ AI-voice collaboration, Disclosure’s producer community, or Fred Again’s organic fan involvement to see this in action.

Inventing experiences where fans are active participants is the next phase of music's growth.

But we need to monetize it for artists.

Because we don’t need more content.
We need a bigger pie.


Working on something interactive? Let me know.

📚️ My 3 Favorite Reads This Week

  1. Framing the Future of the Internet, Packy McCormick on web3’s breakout social protocol

  2. The State of the Culture 2024, Ted Gioia on distraction killing entertainment.

  3. Live music triggers stronger emotions than streamed music, study from University of Zurich


Play With Your Music

AudioMack just launched a way for fans to customize any song on the platform right from playback.

Tap the Mod button, then:

🎚️ Adjust with Sliders: Speed, reverb, pitch, distortion
🍴 Use Presets: Daycore, Nightcore, Slowed & Reverbed..
📮 Share with Friends: But you can’t download

It does not require artist approval, but all :30 plays count as royalties to the base track.

Signal to the Future: Creation, modification & sharing tools will increasingly merge into consumption. Can we monetize in ways that serve original artists?

→ Want to edit a track? Pay $0.25
→ Want to save it? Pay $0.50
→ Want to share it? Pay $1

🫰 It’s likely a more evolved versions of this, but the opportunity is bigger than simply driving more consumption.


Spotify also now says ~50% of revenue was generated from indies.

🤔 I confirmed the difference with Spotify: The 50% number includes artists signed to Merlin indies or distributed via major label-owned distributors. The 26% number does not.

Warner is Building a Superfan App

It will be cross-platform, connect artists & fans directly, and probably monetize the hell out em.

"I firmly believe in the power of a superfan"

"I've assembled a team of incredible technology talent who are working on an app where artists can connect directly with their superfans...and we're focused on making sure that artists get data on these superfans."

I thought this was the most interesting piece:

"Artists want to work with every single platform...they don't want to optimize just for one platform over another. So a solution like this for superfans has to be a cross-platform solution."

Robert Kyncl, Warner CEO

Cross-platform is smart: My guess is they get around platform exclusivity by offering the same superfan add-ons everywhere you stream.

Majors as Innovators? There’s not a strong history, but Kyncl comes from a tech background (Youtube) & has hired a team of ex-Spotify & Youtubers.

We shall see.

MVP will roll out this year.

💨 Quick Hits

  1. Spotify x Bandsintown: Now the only way to manually add your concerts, replacing Songkick.

  2. Live Nation record 2023 numbers: Huge demand for the live industry, led by arena & amphitheater sales.

  3. Un:Hurd Raise Seed Round: To grow automated marketing decision-making for emerging artists.

  4. Complex Sold to Ntwrk + UMG: Fallout continues in the music publication space.

  5. TikTok Add to Music Expands: Quick-add to Spotify or Apple now live in 163 countries.

  6. How to go from 2,000 → 20,000 monthly listeners: Leo Pastel shares his own recent win on Twitter for other emerging artists.

Thanks for reading. Til next time.

- Rob