The major labels may have turned their noses up at the freemium model popularized by Spotify, but there are other versions of the model that are showing signs of success.

Take mobile apps, games in particular. A recent report by Juniper Research finds that mobile games are expected to exceed $11 billion worldwide by 2015, which would nearly double last year’s total of $6 billion.

But the kicker is that the research firm expects most of that revenue will come from in-app purchases, rather than sales of the game themselves, by 2013. That means the game itself is free, and the developer instead charges for add-ons like new content, new levels, etc. Tap Tap Revenge 3 is a perfect example of this. The mobile-based rhythm game is free to download, but then sells new songs to play along to on a weekly basis.

Research firm Distimo estimates that while in-app sales make up 30% of all app store revenue, only 1.3% of free apps offer them. That’s not including the paid apps that may also have in-app sales as well.
Music can easily be added to any app, game or otherwise, so there’s lots of potential here for the music industry to take advantage.