Although both Snoop Dogg and Dr.Dre have experimented with virtual goods, no one has tried what Lady Gaga and Zynga are attempting.
Zynga is the company behind such massively addicting and annoying time wasters as FarmVille, Mafia Wars, and CityVille. Those games have around 250 million active users a month and generate an estimated $850 million on buying virtual goods and merchandise. If Gaga can capture a slice of those millions then expect to see this kind of band + social game partnership to blow up faster than you can say “Guitar Hero.”
“GagaVille” …has several elements involved, all designed to promote her upcoming album — including exclusive previews of songs from the album.
First is the GagaVille, the in-world farm in “FarmVille” customized around Lady Gaga’s sense of style, containing unique crops and animals that reflect the visual themes of the album.
Next is a promotion around Zynga’s pre-paid game cards at Best Buy, which users can redeem for in-game credits similar to iTunes gift cards. Anyone buying $25 cards at the big box retailer will get a promo code to preorder and download the album for free.
Lady Gaga will have several themed virtual items for sale in RewardsVille, Zynga’s virtual good store, where gamers can buy custom merchandise and items for a variety of its games. (Via Billboard)
So will virtual goods save the record industry? No. It will help though. Just don’t expect Zynga to team up with anyone else other than superstars. But it’s clear that social gaming has just begun their partnership with artists.