News is breaking today about a pair of new social media efforts designed to merge the popularity of social games with music acts.
The Wall Street Journal leads with a report that Lady Gaga and Zynga are discussing some sort of collaboration designed to promote the popular artist through Zynga's many social games, which collectively boast 250 million users. Exactly what may result is unclear and undefined, but it could take the form of a Gaga-branded game or (more likely) some representation of Lady Gaga or her interests in Zynga's existing games, such as CityVille.
Zynga has only once before worked with an artist to add their content and branding into one of its game, and that was with Dr. Dre. The company streamed the music video for the single "Kush" in the game Mafia Wars, and added several Dre-branded items as options for virtual goods. Interestingly enough, Dre and Gaga share the same label-Interscope.
Meanwhile, Warner Music Group is promoting hip-hop act New Boyz by creating a social Facebook game based solely on the act, called "New Boyz: The World." Fans playing the game, which launches May 2, can enter the virtual world created around the act by developing avatars that reflect the band's style, buy virtual goods like clothes and other accessories, and so on. It's pretty much all the same stuff you'd do in other virtual worlds and social games, but in this case the virtual world is focused on just one act.
It's an interesting twist on how the music industry can best utilize the growing popularity of social games. While other artists to date have focused on inserting their brand and music into existing games, New Boyz is trying to build a game around itself. With 2 million Facebook followers, New Boyz already has an engaged following. We'll be watching how many of them convert to users of the game.
This is the first experiment of this strategy by WMG. The label partnered Funtactix to create the game, using the company's platform. The two companies say additional artists will have similar games created in the coming months.