Business in Virtual Worlds, Virtual World Platforms

Are Virtual Pets the Future of the Music Business?

The ever-inquisitive Eliot Van Buskirk, one of Wired magazine’s best writers who covers the disruptive technology beat, has taken a close look at Music Pets, a new app for Facebook, in the context of virtual goods, social networks and music, and determined that it may hold the keys to a new model of business conduct.

Buskirk notes that Music Pets’ strongest attribute is its social network-like functions, where its recommendation systems “includes every element of the real-world music experience.” You collect music for free by taking part in activities with your pet and spend money to cut the time it takes to power up for more points as the owner of the game, Conduit Labs, passes some of this revenue onto to music labels.

Buskirk asks the question, “Is it possible that little furry cartoon characters from Tamagotchi-land will succeed where industry heavyweights have failed: in convincing kids to pay for music?” He seems to think so based on user stats (over a million since its launch a month ago) and an impressive deal with Universal Music Group, the world’s largest record label.

“The public perception of the value of a song is very skewed and has little to do with its actual price,” Conduit Labs founder Nabeel Hyatt told “We believe offering fun, social, interactive experiences with music is the best way to monetize.”

Buskirk’s article contains a really neat screen-grab grid of how Music Pets actually works and where music is bought and shared. It is one of Buskirk’s gifts to explain somewhat complicated digital ventures in simple terms, and it’s worth a look here.



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