We recently came across an interesting stat from a NYT article that jumped out at us (and of course, as dedicated bloggers do, we had to share…): According to a recent study by social gaming research group Inside Network, the virtual goods market – meaning, among other things, the “gifting” of digital goods – is expected to be worth more than $1 billion this year. That means, according to the study, that 2009 “will be remembered as the year virtual goods-based businesses began to scale in the United States.”
More than $1 billion. That’s an astounding number. We agree that sending virtual cupcakes and hearts is a cool way to connect with friends, but why not try a virtual gift that keeps on giving? Music is not only an essential element of virtual gift-giving, it’s the real thing too. Need more proof? Check out recent research by NPD that ranks music as one of the most popular gifts this holiday season.
What better way to celebrate the holidays than giving the gift of music -- especially if your friend or loved one is digitally literate -- than with a virtual album? Most of us know about iTunes gift cards or Amazon.com. But have you also tried digital gift-giving through a social networking site like Facebook? Try FB’s new “Music and MP3s” section of its gift store where users can choose from more than 8 million digital tracks to send to friends. Ten cents buys you an unlimited stream of any single track or 89 cents buys you a permanent download that your friends can play time and time again. Send your favorite Christmas carol to your sister or your favorite sonata to your music teacher or a special love song to your spouse – “Music and MP3s” is your oyster. Check out this cool service for yourself here.
It IS the gift-giving season, but most of us like to get a good song or album all year around. And, as we’ve just documented, music is now easier than ever to give AND receive. To that end, our colleagues at the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM), representing music retailers like Best Buy, Target, Amazon.com and iTunes, are reigniting the “Give the Gift of Music” campaign that aims to encourage fans to give their friends the enduring gift of music during the holiday season and all year long. Look for more news on this front in the weeks ahead.
It’s a good bet that everyone has a special relationship with certain songs or albums. Whether it be the increasingly popular vinyl vintage format of a new release, digital tracks via Facebook, personalized gift cards through Amazon.com or iTunes, or the traditional CD with its liner notes and cover art, giving the gift of music this Christmas is a special, convenient and affordable way to give people a present they will treasure for years to come.
(p.s. Need music ideas? Check out our FastTracks newsletter here)