Games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero aren't just exposing people to music, they're turning into a viable source for getting people to buy it, too. "Video gaming...appears to have positive effects for the music industry," the NPD said. 22% of music buyers and 35% of consumers under the age of 35 have played a music game, like Guitar Hero or Rock Band, in the last three months, according to the NPD. "Many of these music gamers reported that the gaming experience had a positive outcome, such as creating music discovery or triggering a digital-music or CD purchase," the NPD explained.
On the other hand, the report also noted that demand for music among Internet users has fallen two percent in the third quarter of 2008. That drop mostly comes as a result of "dramatic declines" in CD sales volume among teens and adults age 26-35. Digital downloads from online music stores like iTunes, meanwhile, have grown, and piracy rates have hit a cap, though the volume of music being pirated has increased due to the growing popularity of torrents.
In any case, these numbers point what everybody already knows: the music industry needs to change. And the growing influence of music games in this sphere may force music companies to start seeing the game industry not as a competitor but as an ally. "Even though gaming competes with music for the consmer's wallet share, music-related games are evolving into an important source for music discovery that can have positive revenue implications for the recording industry," Russ Crupnick, entertainment industry analyst for the NPD, said.