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GCAC: 1 billion people hear an NFS track

The power of videogames to propel new artists to potential stardom via huge audiences has now outstripped other media, such as radio, among the youth markets of today.

The power of videogames to propel new artists to potential stardom via huge audiences has now outstripped other media, such as radio, among the youth markets of today.

This is according to Steve Schnur, worldwide executive for music and music marketing at EA, who's seen bands such as Franz Ferdinand first exposed to a US audience in videogames, and Avril Lavigne first heard in Europe in the same way.

As a result of the power of EA's big franchises, such as Need for Speed, tracks which are heard on average twice per hour of gameplay can rack up over one billion listens in the course of the title's lifetime globally, based on total number of hours played.

The keynote speech, part of Games Convention Asia Conference, also discussed the impact that videogames can therefore have on global culture, and what the development community's responsibility is as a result.

"A recent poll of core gamers between the ages of 13 to 32 revealed that 55 per cent, and that's growing, learned about their new favourite artist, or new favourite band, or new favourite song — they learned about it from a videogame. That's Europe, Asia, US."

"Even more impressive for a record industry that's having its own problems — over one third of those that discover a song in a game download that song, and over 20 per cent purchase that artist's CD."

Schnur went on to discuss EA's joint venture music company Artwerk, which has now signed a total of four artists in the past nine months since launch. These include Junkie XL, whose work will feature heavily on the new Need for Speed title, and Jupiter One, based in New York.

Not only will those artists find telling exposure to key target audiences within EA's own titles, but some will also find themselves as part of other games as well — Melbourne band Airbourne will also be featured in the new Tony Hawk game, as well as Grand Theft Auto IV.

Schnur finished his talk by looking ahead to the future developments that technology might enable, specifically in the form of seamless transactions.

"But what will the PS4, Xbox 5000 and iPhone 2 bring? All these future devices will be complete home and mobile entertainment supercomputers that represent technology beyond anything we've ever experienced."

"Imagine a world where 80 per cent of the global population is instantaneously exposed to music via videogames, with the power to purchase literally at their fingertips."

"Perhaps for the first time ever, global culture can finally be truly global. Perhaps for the first time ever, music can change the world."

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Phil Elliott

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