Video Game Genres That Are Currently Thriving Latest Information 2021 [2021]

Find additional information about the coming developments in the video game industry. Exploding Topics, “7 Huge Gaming Industry Trends for 2021” — The trends. video game industry is generating new wealth for the U.S. critical to the single genre that dominates; rather, there is a universe of entertainment and. Development and Technology has the pleasure to present a new 2021 edition of the publication focusing on the Polish game sector. Video Game Genres That Are Currently Thriving Latest Information 2021 [2021]

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Top 20 NEW Single Player Games of 2021

Video Game Genres That Are Currently Thriving Latest Information 2021 [2021] -

Game on: How COVID-19 became the perfect match for gamers

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  • COVID-19 saw video games explode in popularity, as consumers were forced to stay at home and keep themselves entertained.
  • In the year to date, $29.4 billion of video games have been sold in the US - a 23% increase from the same period last year.
  • Mobile game sales on iPhones rose 44% in Japan and 20% in the European Union in July, according to data from Sensor Tower.

Video games were already growing in popularity before the coronavirus pandemic. But now they’re everywhere.

Gaming sales in the US in August increased 37% year-over-year to $3.3 billion, according to the market research firm NPD Group. That’s the fifth straight month of huge jumps in sales compared to the same periods in 2019.

After a “low” point of 26% growth in June, sales in the US have accelerated the past two months—a sign that video games continue to surge in popularity even as quarantines end and travel restrictions loosen.

In the year to date, $29.4 billion of video games have been sold in the US—a 23% increase from the same period last year. The majority of that increase has been in content (the games themselves, either bought digitally or on discs), but sales of hardware (consoles and accessories) have also seen double-digit increases since the pandemic began. Consumers are buying more consoles, and those who already have consoles are buying more games to play on them.

But the increased sales are not just in the US, and not just on consoles. Mobile game sales on iPhones rose 44% in Japan and 20% in the European Union in July, according to data from Sensor Tower. According to Nielsen, as of June, 41% of self-identified gamers in France said they were playing more video games now because of the pandemic.

All of this has meant soaring profits for video game companies, including Nintendo, which reported $1.4 billion in profits in the second quarter—five times more than it made in the same period in 2019. Much of that was due to to the rise of the social simulation game Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which became immensely popular around the world after it launched in March.

Other games like Call of Duty: Warzone, a first-person shooter “battle royale,” have grown rapidly during the pandemic. The game had 75 million active players in August, up from 30 million in late March, according to its publisher, Activision.

Electronic Arts’ renowned soccer franchise, FIFA, added 7 million new players in the second quarter—doubling the players added in the same period last year, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. The popular basketball game NBA 2K20 saw an 82% increase in active players during the period. Apparently, when you can’t watch basketball on TV, playing it in the virtual arena is the next best thing.

These widespread increases in both game sales and usage likely can’t be sustained as consumers leave their homes more often and life slowly returns to some semblance of a prior normalcy. But they may fall back to a much higher baseline, as the pandemic permanently changes our entertainment habits, further steeping the world in gaming culture.

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World Economic Forum Type may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

This article is published in collaboration with Quartz.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

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Источник: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/09/covid19-coronavirus-pandemic-video-games-entertainment-media/
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Explore lush scenery on unknown islands to snap photos of Pokémon in their natural habitats

Seek out and take in-game photographs of Pokémon in their native environments in the New Pokémon Snap™ game, only for the Nintendo Switch™ system! Snap photos from the NEO-ONE as you you encounter and research lively wild Pokémon. You might see unexpected expressions or behaviors—Pokémon patrolling their territory, playing, or lurking in out-of-the-way spots.

Investigate the mysterious Illumina phenomenon

Travel to the islands that make up the Lental region. In this region, some of the Pokémon and vegetation will appear to have a special glow. Research these Pokémon alongside Professor Mirror as you explore dense jungles, vast deserts, and more! Your observations of Pokémon thriving in the wild may help unravel the truth behind the Illumina phenomenon. The Pokémon pictures you take will be used to build your very own Pokémon Photodex!

Save, edit, and share your favorite Pokémon photos

Save photos to your personal in-game album to edit and adjust them. When you complete a course, you can adjust the brightness, blur, zoom and other aspects of your photo in Re-Snap mode. Then, add stickers, frames, and filters to add a personal touch. Share your favorite photos with family and friends in-game*. You can also see what kinds of photos everyone else is taking. See something you like? Award a Sweet! medal.

This new game brings the gameplay of the 1999 Pokémon Snap game for the Nintendo 64™ system to life on the Nintendo Switch system with unknown islands to discover and different Pokémon to see!

Photograph lively wild Pokémon in their natural habitats as you research and explore unknown islands. Hop in your trusty travel pod, the NEO-ONE, and journey through a variety of environments such as beaches, jungles, and deserts to capture previously-unseen Pokémon behaviors. You can even play a melody or toss Pokémon a delicious fluffruit to catch their attention. Photos you take can also be used to fill out your very own Pokémon Photodex!

Your photos are scored based on the Pokémon’s poses, how large they appear, how directly they’re facing you, and other factors. You may even snap a four star-worthy photo if you catch rare Pokémon behaviors. These scores can be shared via in-game rankings* so you can compare your shots with other Pokémon photographers around the world.

In the Lental region, Pokémon and vegetation have sometimes been seen to glow. Meet Professor Mirror and work with him to uncover the mystery of the Illumina phenomenon. Your photos and observations may be key to learning about this strange occurrence.

A free update includes 3 new areas to explore, each with Day and Night versions, and 20 more Pokémon to photograph! Keep your eyes—and camera lens—peeled as you explore the rocky cliffs in the Barren Badlands, ride the rapids of the Mightywide River, or shrink down to a tiny size to explore the Secret Side Path.

Release date:
April 30, 2021

Players:
1 player

Genre:
Simulation

Publisher:
Nintendo

Developer:
BANDAI NAMCO Studios

Game file size:
6.0 GB

Supported Languages:
Japanese, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, English

Supported Play Modes:
TV mode

TV mode

Tabletop mode

Tabletop mode

Handheld mode

Handheld mode

Software compatibility and play experience may differ on Nintendo Switch Lite. Additional accessories may be required (sold separately). See support for details.

ESRB Rating:

Nintendo Switch Online

Play online, access classic Super NES™ games, and more with a Nintendo Switch Online membership.

*MSRP: Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price. Actual price may vary. See retailer for details.

Nintendo Switch Online membership (sold separately) and Nintendo Account required for online play. Not available in all countries. Internet access required for online features. Terms apply. nintendo.com/switch-online

*Nintendo Switch Online membership (sold separately) and Nintendo Account required for online features. Not available in all countries. Internet access required for online features. Terms apply. nintendo.com/switch-online
©2021 Pokémon. ©1995–2021 Nintendo / Creatures Inc. / GAME FREAK inc. ©1999 Nintendo / HAL Laboratory, Inc. Developed by BANDAI NAMCO Studios Inc.
Pokémon and Nintendo Switch are trademarks of Nintendo. © 2021 Nintendo.

Источник: https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/new-pokemon-snap-switch/

Playing to Learn: Serious Games in Higher Ed

“For many years the conviction has grown upon me that civilization arises and unfolds in and as play,” writes Johan Huizinga in his book Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture. As academics who create and teach through serious games, we completely agree.

Humans all love to play games. Not only are games fun, but they also play a crucial role in the socialization, development, and learning process of children. “Learning through play” is even one of the key strategies to improving education under the 17 Sustainable Development Goals crafted by the United Nations.

This is where serious games come in. Their primary goal is not entertainment, but education. Because serious games are generally presented in a video format, they’re rapidly gaining in popularity thanks to the increasing digitization of education today.

Teaching Tools for the Classroom

Serious games bring four main benefits to the educational arena:

1. Games make learning fun and engaging. Serious games create more dynamic classrooms by breaking the traditional rigid teaching structure in which faculty deliver information through lectures while students passively receive knowledge. Serious games combine two important components: playfulness and interactivity. When the learning contents are seamlessly embedded into the game itself, students are motivated to learn.

Providing students with an enjoyable but profound learning experience was our goal when we started developing Moving Tomorrow–An Intercultural Journey in 2017. In this serious game, players learn the story of Runergy, a fictional company that has been praised as a beacon of sustainable entrepreneurship. Throughout the story, the players interact with different employees of Runergy in various countries, thereby experiencing and learning about the intricacies of intercultural management. The narrative of the game motivates students not only to continue playing, but also to look more deeply at the integrated learning contents. Because the learning process itself is interesting, students are more engaged.

a colorful screenshot from a video game showing employees clustered in a break room prepared to embark on some gossip
 
In Moving Tomorrow–An Intercultural Journey, students interact with various employees at a fictional company as a way to learn about intercultural management.
 

2. Games allow students to experience authentic situations. Exposure to real-life scenarios plays a central role in the learning process, but some situations can’t be recreated in the classroom because they’re costly, unethical, or simply impossible to simulate. However, a player in a serious game can become president of a nation, meet anyone in the world, tackle wicked problems, travel to every country imaginable, and even build a rocket and fly to the moon. As a result, serious games can provide learners with exposure to a broad range of realistic situations.

3. Games simplify complex tasks. Tasks that involve multiple steps or require complex skills are difficult to master using text alone. Serious games allow learners to successively practice and develop necessary skills as they progress from one level to the next. For instance, in our game, students first explore the properties and dynamics of group or organizational culture. Only then can they move on to learning about the more complex nature of national culture with all its potential and limitations.

Serious games have the added benefit of allowing learners to go through the levels at their own pace. This enables them to focus on the content they need to understand or the skills they are having difficulty acquiring.

4. Games integrate assessment and exercises. Because of the digital nature of serious games, students get immediate feedback. As they solve puzzles, make decisions, and hold conversations with other characters, players have to reflect on and apply the learning contents correctly to make progress. Instructors also are able to use the digital interface to assess and guide students through the learning journey.

Games of All Types

Like movies and books, serious games come in a variety of genres. There are strategy games such as PeaceMaker, where players have to make social, political, and military decisions aiming to alleviate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There are adventure or role-playing games like ours, where the players step into the shoes of a new employee and have to make decisions in a diverse business environment. And there are even online puzzle games such as Foldit, where players who solve puzzles actually help to advance scientific knowledge about diseases.

No specific type or genre of serious games is better than others. Instead, faculty can choose which game to use depending on what learning outcomes they want students to achieve.


No specific type or genre of serious games is better than others. Instead, faculty can choose which game to use depending on what learning outcomes they want students to achieve.

This raises the question of which skills can be taught through serious games. Using Bloom’s taxonomy of educational learning goals, we can differentiate between cognitive, affective, and behavioral learning outcomes. Cognitive learning encompasses knowledge and analytical competencies; affective or emotion-based learning refers to a student’s motivation to learn about or value a subject; and behavioral learning covers communication and negotiation skills.

The existing scientific evidence suggests that while serious games primarily target cognitive and affective learning outcomes, they also can teach behavioral competencies. For instance, when we tracked outcomes for our own game, we could see that players not only acquired knowledge about intercultural management, but also improved their behavioral competence when they interacted with individuals from other countries.

A Few Drawbacks

Despite all their advantages, serious games are not suitable for every class. There are three primary reasons:

First, they are costly to develop. To bring a game to life, designers need skills in graphic design, computer programming, music composition, voiceover narration, and story writing—and of course they also must have subject matter expertise and didactical knowledge. In addition, commercial video games, which often are created with tremendous budgets, set the standard for what constitutes a good product. While serious games don’t need to meet that standard, the bar is nonetheless rather high.

Second, some forms are still somewhat stigmatized. Many people perceive video games, especially, as being excessively violent or a waste of time. Although serious games have an entirely different purpose than conventional ones, the stigma surrounding other genres often still carries over to them.

Third, they require a somewhat different approach to teaching. Because all the major learning content can be embedded into the game, professors must take on more of a coaching role, leading students through discussions and reflection sessions that deepen understanding.

None of these obstacles should discourage faculty from using serious games. Professors don’t even have to develop their own, because many options already exist. And if they use these games to interact with students and support active learning, they can transform their classrooms.

A Closer Look

As an example of how a serious game can be brought into the classroom, we’ll explain how we embedded Moving Tomorrow into an intercultural management course. Our rationale was that the game would allow students to acquire knowledge about specific aspects of management and also to experiment with their behaviors in a safe environment.

Our game is composed of six different episodes that take about one hour each to complete. After each episode, we held discussions with our students to discuss what they had learned and to deepen the academic insights they had just unlocked. We gamified these debriefing sessions by using a competitive incentive structure. Groups of students were randomly assigned to articulate one of the academic insights of each episode. Students had to pitch the insights to their classmates by not only elaborating the theoretical foundation of the assigned insight, but also by identifying its personal, professional, and societal relevance.


While it is possible to assess and grade the gameplay of students, we consciously decided against doing so. We wanted to encourage a curious and carefree gaming experience, where students experiment without fearing consequences.

In order to keep the debriefing sessions engaging, we modified the instructions for each round of presentations. For instance, during one round, students had to integrate the gift of a Kinder Surprise egg into their presentations. At other times, each group had to act out the associated insight in a business situation or link it to an important social movement such as Black Lives Matter or Fridays for Future.

Throughout every debriefing session, we primarily acted as coaches, correcting misunderstandings or adding information to the group presentations. After each round, students voted on which pitch presentation—except their own—they liked the most, and groups received points accordingly. To motivate active participation, we let students know that, at the end of the course, those who collected the most points would receive a surprise gift that was related to culture, such as a guided tour to some of Berlin’s finest street art.

While it is possible to assess and grade the gameplay of students—for instance, by tracking the number of correct answers given and the speed at which games are completed—we consciously decided against doing so in this class. We wanted to encourage a curious and carefree gaming experience, where students were allowed to experiment without fearing consequences. Instead, we graded the oral participation throughout the debriefing sessions. We also administered a final exam, in which students had to apply the academic insights covered in the course to a practical problem or situation.

A Welcome Break

As educational institutions increasingly shift toward digitalization and virtual delivery of knowledge, serious games provide an excellent way for schools and professors to manage the shift. These games don’t just make learning more fun and engaging. They also offer a welcome break from traditional teaching structures. It’s time to get ready to play!

 
Moving Tomorrow–An Intercultural Journey was nominated for the German Computer Games Award (Deutscher Computerspielepreis), was a finalist in the 2019 International Business Learning Games Competition, and was the silver winner at the Reimagine Education Awards.

Authors

Marion Festing

Professor, Human Resource Management and Intercultural Leadership, ESCP Business School

Tobias Schumacher

PhD Student, ESCP Business School

Источник: https://www.aacsb.edu/insights/2021/may/playing-to-learn-serious-games-in-higher-ed

NFTs Are Shaking Up the Art World—But They Could Change So Much More

Just a few months ago, Jazmine Boykins was posting her artwork online for free. The 20-year-old digital artist’s dreamy animations of Black life were drawing plenty of likes, comments and shares, but not much income, aside from money she made selling swag with her designs between classes at North Carolina A&T State University.

But Boykins has recently been selling the same pieces for thousands of dollars each, thanks to an emerging technology upending the rules of digital ownership: NFTs, or non-fungible tokens. NFTs—digital tokens tied to assets that can be bought, sold and traded—are enabling artists like Boykins to profit from their work more easily than ever. “At first, I didn’t know if it was trustworthy or legit,” says Boykins, who goes by the online handle “BLACKSNEAKERS” and who has sold more than $60,000 in NFT art over the past six months. “But to see digital art being bought at these prices, it’s pretty astounding. It’s given me the courage to keep going.”

NFTs are having their big-bang moment: collectors and speculators have spent more than $200 million on an array of NFT-based artwork, memes and GIFs in the past month alone, according to market tracker NonFungible.com, compared with $250 million throughout all of 2020. And that was before the digital artist Mike Winkelmann, known as Beeple, sold a piece for a record-setting $69 million at famed auction house Christie’s on March 11—the third highest price ever fetched by any currently living artist, after Jeff Koons and David Hockney.

TIME is now accepting cryptocurrency for subscriptions to time.com. Learn more.

NFTs are best understood as computer files combined with proof of ownership and authenticity, like a deed. Like cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, they exist on a blockchain—a tamper-resistant digital public ledger. But like dollars, cryptocurrencies are “fungible,” meaning one bitcoin is always worth the same as any other bitcoin. By contrast, NFTs have unique valuations set by the highest bidder, just like a Rembrandt or a Picasso. Artists who want to sell their work as NFTs have to sign up with a marketplace, then “mint” digital tokens by uploading and validating their information on a blockchain (typically the Ethereum blockchain, a rival platform to Bitcoin). Doing so usually costs anywhere from $40 to $200. They can then list their piece for auction on an NFT marketplace, similar to eBay.

At face value, the whole enterprise seems absurd: big-money collectors paying six to eight figures for works that can often be seen and shared online for free. Critics have dismissed the NFT art craze as just the latest bubble, akin to this year’s boom-and-bust mania around “meme stocks” like GameStop. The phenomenon is attracting a strange brew of not just artists and collectors, but also speculators looking to get rich off the latest fad.

Beeple, The First Emoji. Part of the $69.3 million Everydays.

A bubble it may be. But many digital artists, fed up after years of creating content that generates visits and engagement on Big Tech platforms like Facebook and Instagram while getting almost nothing in return, have lunged headlong into the craze. These artists of all kinds—authors, musicians, filmmakers—envision a future in which NFTs transform both their creative process and how the world values art, now that it’s possible to truly “own” and sell digital art for the first time. “You will have so many people from different backgrounds and genres coming in to share their art, connect with people and potentially build a career,” Boykins says. “Artists put so much of their time—and themselves—into their work. To see them compensated on an appropriate scale, it’s really comforting.” Technologists, meanwhile, say NFTs are the latest step toward a long-promised blockchain revolution that could radically transform consumer capitalism, with major implications for everything from home loans to health care.

Read more: TIME releases 3 special edition NFT magazine covers for auction

Digital art has long been undervalued, in large part because it’s so freely available. To help artists create financial value for their work, NFTs add the crucial ingredient of scarcity. For some collectors, if they know the original version of something exists, they’re more likely to crave the “authentic” piece. Scarcity explains why baseball-card collectors, for example, are willing to pay $3.12 million for a piece of cardboard with a picture of Honus Wagner, a legendary Pittsburgh Pirate. It’s also why sneakerheads obsess over the latest limited-edition drops from Nike and Adidas, and why “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli bought the sole copy of Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin for $2 million in 2015.

But baseball cards, sneakers and that Wu-Tang CD all exist in the physical space, so it’s easier to understand why they’re worth something. It can be harder to understand why digital art, or any other digital file, has value.

Some digital-art collectors say they’re paying not just for pixels but also for digital artists’ labor–in part, the movement is an effort to economically legitimize an emerging art form. “I want you to go on my collection and be like, ‘Oh, these are all unique things that stand out,'” says Shaylin Wallace, a 22-year-old NFT artist and collector. “The artist put so much work into it–and it was sold for the price that it deserved.” The movement is also taking shape after many of us have spent most of the past year online. If nearly your whole world is virtual, it makes sense to spend money on virtual stuff.

BLACKSNEAKERS, Holding Up The Sun. Sold for: $7,088

The groundwork for the digital-art boom was laid in 2017 with the launch of CryptoKitties—think digital Beanie Babies. Fans have spent more than $32 million collecting, trading and breeding these images of wide-eyed one-of-a-kind cartoon cats. Video gamers, meanwhile, have been pouring cash into cosmetic upgrades for their avatars—Fortnite players spent an average of $82 on in-game content in 2019—further mainstreaming the idea of spending real-world money on digital goods. At the same time, cryptocurrencies have been booming in value, fueled in part by celebrity enthusiasts like Elon Musk and Mark Cuban. Bitcoin, for instance, is up more than 1,000% over the past year, and anything remotely crypto-adjacent—including NFTs—is getting swept up in that mania.

Sensing an opportunity, tech entrepreneurs and brothers Duncan and Griffin Cock Foster last March launched an NFT art marketplace called Nifty Gateway. At the time, NFT art was just heating up in some circles, but it was difficult for newbies to buy, sell and trade pieces. Nifty Gateway prioritized accessibility and usability, helping fuel wider adoption. “It was such an early stage, we didn’t have many expectations about how it would turn out,” Duncan Cock Foster says. But Nifty Gateway users ended up buying and selling more than $100 million worth of art during its first year. Similar platforms, like SuperRare, OpenSea and MakersPlace, have seen similar surges; they typically pocket 10% to 15% of initial sales.

Big businesses and celebrities are getting in on the action: NBA Top Shot, the National Basketball Association’s official platform to buy and sell NFT-based highlights (packaged like digital trading cards), has racked up over $390 million in sales since its October launch, according to parent company Dapper Labs. Football star Rob Gronkowski has sold NFT trading cards of Super Bowl highlights for over $1.6 million; rock band Kings of Leon made over $2 million by selling NFT music. Twitter founder Jack Dorsey put his first-ever tweet up for auction as an NFT, and it’s expected to sell for at least $2.5 million. The past few months have been a feeding frenzy, with new highs almost daily. Perhaps Beeple put it best after his record-setting auction: “I’m pretty f-cking overwhelmed right now,” he told fans and collaborators gathered on chat app Clubhouse.

So-called whales are making the biggest deals in the NFT art world. These deep-pocketed investors and cryptocurrency evangelists stand to benefit financially from hyping anything remotely related to crypto. “A Winklevoss spending 700 grand on a Beeple or whatever is very much marketing spend for an idea that they are heavily invested in,” the technologist and artist Mat Dryhurst says, referring to Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, two well-known cryptocurrency bulls who bought Nifty Gateway in late 2019 for an undisclosed amount.

Pak, METANOIA. Not listed for sale.

One of those whales is Daniel Maegaard, an Australian crypto trader who made much of what he claims is a $15 million-plus fortune when Bitcoin exploded in value in 2017. Maegaard has bought and sold millions of dollars worth of digital art and other NFT-based goods, like a $1.5 million parcel of land in Axie Infinity, a virtual universe. While Maegaard initially saw NFTs as a means of adding to his wealth, he’s become a true fan of the work, proudly displaying his collection online and excitedly sharing news of new purchases and sales with his followers. He’s particularly attached to a piece called CryptoPunk 8348, an image of a pixelated man who looks vaguely like Breaking Bad’s Walter White. Maegaard, who uses the work as his social media avatar, recently declined a $1 million offer for the piece. “People almost now tie that character to me,” he says. “It’s almost like I’d be selling a part of myself if I ever sold him.”

But even investors who see NFT art solely as an asset to be bought low and sold high are putting money into artists’ pockets. Andrew Benson, a Los Angeles-based artist, has been experimenting with psychedelic, glitchy digital video work for years. He’s landed his work in museums and galleries, but he’s long held a day job at a software company and taken on commission work for musicians like M.I.A. and Aphex Twin to support himself. “For a long time, my perspective has been that the best way to survive as an artist is to not have to survive as an artist,” Benson says.

A year and a half ago, when his plans to exhibit a new series of videos fell through, Benson was plagued with doubt about his future in the art world. “I was thinking, Do I even want to go through the trouble of trying to do this kind of work and finding places to show it?” he recalls. Then, in January, a friend who works at an NFT platform called Foundation asked Benson to submit a piece. Benson didn’t think much of it, but sent over a video that otherwise “would have gone on a website or something,” he says. The piece—which looks something like a kinetic, colorful Rorschach—sold within 10 days for $1,250. Since then, Benson has sold 10 more works in the same price range. He’s now pondering a future in which he could sustain himself entirely through his art. “It really kind of shook my worldview, actually,” he says. “Seeing this work find a context and a place where it matters makes me want to think like an artist more.”

Many other artists working in groundbreaking and sometimes controversial styles are also receiving unprecedented interest from NFT collectors. Art with whirling 3-D renderings, street-style oversaturated color schemes, and hyper-referential (and often crass) cartoons are thriving. These Internet-fueled aesthetics are grabbing the attention of both a younger generation raised on Instagram and a rabble-rousing crypto clientele. “The street art and countercultural styles are being used to reinforce the impression most finance-crypto people have that they are the ‘punks’ in the broader tech and finance world,” Dryhurst says.

Andrew Benson, Active Gestures 10. Sold for: $3,049

These developments have left many in the conventional art world agape. “You have a lot of traditional collectors who look at the NFT space and they can’t plug it into any acceptable system of belief,” says Wendy Cromwell, a New York-based art adviser. “We’re at a real inflection point: a lot of the deeply experienced people in the art world are older and don’t have the interest or mental bandwidth to parse the language of the Internet.” Following Christie’s Beeple sale, however, rival auction house Sotheby’s quickly announced its own partnership with NFT artist Pak, showing that even if art powerhouses might not understand the genre, they understand its financial potential.

With or without the establishment’s support, a new wave of digital artists is banding together in tight-knit NFT communities, echoing past generations of artists across disciplines and genres hanging out and influencing one another’s thinking, approach and output. “There is a huge ethic of generosity happening in the space,” Benson says. “Typically in the worlds of independent music or fine art, there is a sense that one person is going to make it out of a scene. With this, there’s a feeling of abundance where it really does seem like everyone could benefit.”

In some cases, the whales and minnows are swimming in tandem. The buyer of the $69 million Beeple piece turned out to be a collector group called Metapurse, two anonymous Singapore-based investors who have been experimenting with tech-driven collective-ownership models. In January, the duo bought 20 Beeple artworks, placed them in a virtual museum that can be visited for free, and then fractionalized their new enterprise into tokens which are now co-owned by 5,400 people. Their value has since increased sixfold as of March 16. The duo is considering a similar move with their latest headline-grabbing purchase, which they hope to display in a cutting-edge virtual museum. The idea, says Metapurse co-partner Twobadour, is to “open up both the experience of art and its ownership to everybody.”

Shaylin Wallace, Stellar Goddess. Current bid: $2,647

Even as artists, collectors and speculators benefit from the NFT craze, the phenomenon is not without its dark side. The barriers to entry—it costs money and requires tech savvy to sell an NFT—could prevent some creators from joining in on the action. Many are concerned that young artists of color in particular will be left out, as they have long been marginalized in the “traditional” art world. Legal experts are scrambling to determine how existing copyright laws will interact with this new technology, as some artists have had their work copied and sold as an NFT without their permission. “It’s providing another platform for people to take advantage of other people’s work,” says artist Connor Bell, whose work was plagiarized and posted on an NFT marketplace.

Then there are the environmental concerns. Creating NFTs requires an enormous amount of raw computing power, and many of the server farms where that work happens are powered by fossil fuels. “The environmental impact of blockchain is a huge problem,” says Amy Whitaker, an assistant professor of visual arts administration at New York University, though some cryptocurrency advocates argue these fears are overblown.

Read more: Digital NFT Art Is Booming—But at What Cost?

Theoretically, climate-minded artists could move to some alternative blockchain platform with less environmental impact. They’re already finding ways to bend NFT technology in other beneficial ways. Some, for instance, are setting up their tokens so they’re compensated every time their work is resold, like an actor getting a royalty check when their show airs as a rerun. Taiwanese tech startup Bitmark has started an NFT-like program to give rights and royalties to music producers around the world. And artists who join NFT-based social media sites, like Friends With Benefits, receive fractional ownership in the platform and can receive direct compensation for the work they create through the network, in sharp contrast to existing tech giants like Facebook and Instagram.

For technology evangelists, meanwhile, the NFT frenzy is just more evidence of their long-held beliefs that cryptocurrency, and blockchain platforms more broadly, has the power to change the world in profound ways. Blockchain technology has already been implemented in attempts to make voting more secure in Utah, combat insurance fraud at Nationwide Insurance, and secure the medical data of several U.S. health care companies. Advocates say it could also help companies ensure transparency in their supply chains, streamline mutual aid efforts and reduce biases in historically racist loan-application processes.

“The potential societal impact … is so important that we should do everything in our power to make it manageable, environmentally and otherwise,” Whitaker says. “New idealistic technologies are always really imperfect in their rollout: they can have a speculative boom, and people can misuse them in unsavory ways,” she adds. “I try to stay centered on what’s possible.”

—With reporting by Julia Zorthian

This appears in the March 29, 2021 issue of TIME.

More Must-Read Stories From TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com.

Источник: https://time.com/5947720/nft-art/

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Revealed: Billboard’s 2021 Indie Power Players

Amid all of the challenges of the past year — office shutdowns, tour cancellations, a surge in social music platforms and even a vinyl supply backlog — the independent music sector has been thriving. Independents as a whole grew market share in 2020 from 29.7% to 31.1%, according to an analysis in March by MIDiA, which previously estimated that indie labels and artists account for nearly one-third of the global music market.

Billboard’s Indie Power Players recognizes industry leaders — nominated by their companies and peers and selected by our editors — at independent labels and distributors. Labels are defined as independent, regardless of size, by their ownership through entities other than the three major music groups. This year’s list particularly reflects the strength of independent labels in the R&B and hip-hop genres (often achieving hits through joint ventures with majors). Distributors, regardless of their corporate ownership, qualify as independent through the repertoire they market.

Executives from over 80 companies are recognized here. Many will gather June 14-17 as the American Association of Independent Music hosts its second virtual Indie Week, presented by SoundExchange, as well as the Libera Awards, presented by Merlin. A2IM’s four days of panels, keynotes and networking sessions, followed by the awards celebration, will affirm — along with these profiles — that the state of independence in the music industry has never been stronger.

Billboard's 2021 Indie Power Players List

Richard James Burgess
President/CEO, American Association of Independent Music

Burgess salutes his team’s “short-notice pivot to all-virtual events” in 2020 for both the Indie Week conference and the Libera Awards. Both will be presented online again this year. As A2IM has moved toward a more diverse and gender-balanced board, it also has launched initiatives like the Black Independent Music Accelerator program, which brought “many more Black-owned businesses into our fold,” says Burgess. “We continue to build back to a viable economic environment for creators.”

The Next Legislation We Need: “The lack of [a performance right for sound recordings on terrestrial radio] deprives creators of hundreds of millions of dollars a year from the U.S., and similarly from around the world. That giant conglomerates are exempted by law from having to pay for the product of someone else’s labor and for the use of someone else’s property is unique and shameful.”

Jeremy Sirota
CEO, Merlin

Merlin is the digital rights music licensing partner for independent labels, distributors and other music rights holders around the world. After Sirota became CEO in January 2020, he welcomed 81 new members, with first-time members from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Peru, Singapore, Slovakia and the United Arab Emirates. “In 2021, we’ve already welcomed 15 new members from all corners of the world, including India, the Middle East, Kenya, Europe, Japan and North America,” he says.

Trend Most Affecting the Indie Community: “The rise of social music platforms. In the last year alone, new services launched, existing services grew and a few large platforms expanded. Merlin was the first partner to sign a sound recording agreement with Snap, we closed a deal with Triller, we expanded our relationship with YouTube — via Super Chat, Super Stickers and Shorts — and we’ve deepened our partnership with Facebook.”

Billboard's 2021 Indie Power Players List

Patrick Amory
Co-owner/president, Matador Records
Gerard Cosloy
Co-owner, Matador Records
Chris Lombardi
Co-owner, Matador Records

Matador’s recent achievements include launching international campaigns for Perfume Genius, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus; bringing in new signees Mdou Moctar and The Goon Sax; and acquiring new catalogs from Interpol, Pavement, Spoon and Gang of Four. The company also has eset nod32 antivirus 12.1.34.0 license key - Activators Patch some of its earlier works through the Matador Revisionist History series. The label was also able to save “an incredible amount of money on our annual travel and entertainment budget,” says Cosloy, 56. “Sometimes sacrifices are necessary.”

Trend Most Affecting the Indie Community: “The two-year turnaround time for new vinyl is taking some getting used to.” — Cosloy

Noah Assad
CEO, Rimas Entertainment

In 2020, Bad Bunny’s El Último Tour del Mundo became the first all-Spanish album to ever reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200. His single “Dákiti,” with Jhay Cortez, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Global Excl. U.S. chart, and Bad Bunny was Spotify’s most streamed artist of the year. Behind Bunny is manager Assad, 31, who signed him to his own Rimas Entertainment. The Puerto Rican indie now has a staff of 60 and over 100 artists, producers and songwriters on its roster. “When it comes to disruption, anyone can do it. The problem is the vision,” says Assad. And his vision? “I wanted to be one more major [label]. We can do the same things they can.”

Tunde Balogun
Co-founder/president, LVRN
Junia Abaidoo
Co-founder/head of operations and touring, LVRN
Justice Baiden
Co-founder/head of A&R, LVRN
Sean “Famoso” McNichol
Co-founder/head of marketing and brand partnerships, LVRN
Carlon Ramong
Co-founder/creative director, LVRN

The Atlanta-based label and creative agency LVRN (which stands for Love Renaissance) boasts R&B superstar signees 6LACK and Summer Walker and has spent the past year expanding different aspects of the company, including boosting its songwriting division through a publishing deal with Warner Chappell and growing the management roster by signing dvsn. The company is also marking the first year of the LVRN Mental Health Department, which Balogun says helps artists and staff cope with challenges from creativity roadblocks due to Remo Recover 6.1 Crack License Free Download 2021 Timesaving Tip: “Prioritizing what’s really important first, then getting to everything else. In essence, we want to answer and try to do everything in the moment at once, which can lead to being drained or tired, especially when you’re rushing to get things done. It can lead to missing important information.” — Balogun

Bang Si-hyuk
Chairman/CEO, HYBE
Lenzo Yoon
Global CEO, HYBE and HYBE America

HYBE, formerly known as Big Hit Entertainment and BTS’ longtime label, acquired Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings in a $1.05 billion deal in April that includes management, label services and publishing for clients including Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande. The company also acquired Naver’s V Live video streaming service and partnered with Universal Music Group’s Geffen Records to create a K-pop label in the United States and a music competition series that will debut in 2022. Yoon will serve as the conduit between the label’s Seoul and Los Angeles outposts. The moves align with Bang’s vision of creating “the world’s best entertainment lifestyle platform based on music,” he says.

Pandemic Business Practice That Will Last: “The format of concerts. A mixture of online and offline performances will become commonplace, and the value of offline performances will increase further.” — Yoon

Steve Bartels
12Tone Music

With the Joji catalog on its way to 2 million album consumption units and Dolly Parton’s A Holly Dolly Christmas piling up nearly 250,000 album consumption units since its October release, the label has now turned its attention to its new signing, Illenium, to build momentum for the artist’s next album expected this summer. “We continued to keep our core staff motivated during the pandemic, releasing and promoting five different songs with multiple remixes — close to 30 versions in total — while delivering two No. 1 Dance Mix/Show Airplay Songs in the process,” says Bartels.

Best Timesaving Tip: “Know what is important in each artist campaign and further it without wasting time on things your experience tells you won’t pan out. From having worked within the major-label system and now in indie entrepreneur land, I have learned what part of the marketing and signing footprint can give you immediate results for analysis in order to read whether you move forward, move differently or just stop.”

Dolly Parton

Scott Borchetta
Founder/president/CEO, Big Machine Label Group
Andrew Kautz
COO, Big Machine Label Group

Under Borchetta and Kautz, Tim McGraw’s return to Big Machine last year led to the singer’s No. 1 on Top Country Albums in September with Here on Earth, while the rechristened Lady A joined Big Machine’s BMLG Records, scoring two chart-toppers on Country Airplay and earning a Grammy nomination for its album Ocean. Carly Pearce hit No. 1 on Country Airplay with “I Hope You’re Happy Now” (with Lee Brice), while the country-pop trio Avenue Beat captured the zeitgeist with “F2020,” which went viral on TikTok.

Tim McGraw

Shari Bryant
Omar Grant
Co-presidents, Roc Nation Label

While its clients include Rihanna, JAY-Z and J. Cole, Roc Nation’s label division takes pride in developing younger talent, including recent signings Snoh Aalegra, Kalan.FrFr and Maeta, as well as the continuing advancement of Rapsody, Belly, and Jaden and Willow Smith. “We aren’t in the volume business, because we are a smaller company,” says Bryant. “It takes a little longer, but we will have a good amount of new artists that will be in the mainstream conversation.”

Best Timesaving Tip: “Systems. If you don’t have a strong foundation with systems to handle your check list of mandatory things that an artist must have — social media, photos, updated bio, one sheet, clearances — you don’t have room to enhance.” — Grant

Ken Bunt
President, Disney Music Group
David Abdo
Senior vp global operations and distribution, Disney Music Group
Robbie Snow
Senior vp global marketing, Disney Music Group
Karen Lieberman
VP sales and digital, Disney Music Group

Disney Music Group, which includes Hollywood Records and Walt Disney Records, counts the launch of its parent company’s new streaming service, Disney+, as a coup for its artist roster that also helped spread cheer during the pandemic. “Our music resonated with people around the world, especially during quarantine,” says Bunt. “Between fans singing Queen songs on their balconies to three television specials of Disney Music Family Singalongs, music is a universal language that brought joy and comfort to millions.” Timed to Juneteenth, the company will release the third volume of Music for the Movement, a collaboration with ESPN’s The Undefeated.

The Next Legislation We Need: “Reform of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in order to update safe harbor provisions and promote more effective control of music piracy.” — Bunt

Missi Callazzo
Co-owner, Megaforce Records

Callazzo started as an intern at Megaforce in 1989 and ended up taking over the company that released early Metallica albums, as well as records by Ace Frehley, Testament, Ministry and Anthrax. The lattermost band celebrates its 40th anniversary this year and Megaforce itself is one year shy of that milestone. “We have not slowed down, the pandemic notwithstanding,” says Callazzo, who notes forthcoming releases from Third Eye Blind, Umphrey’s McGee and Rebelution.

Best Way to Observe Juneteenth: “There is always more to learn, and this is a day to reflect, step back, fill in the blanks and educate oneself.” —Callazzo

Don Cannon
Leighton “Lake” Morrison
Tyree “DJ Drama” Simmons
Co-founders, Generation Now

Before 2020, Generation Now earned success on the Billboard Hot 100 through its lone superstar, Lil Uzi Vert. The burgeoning label now has the luxury of pairing the “XO Tour Llif3” rapper with Kentucky-born co-star Jack Harlow. During the pandemic, the Louisville native scored a top five Billboard 200 debut with That’s What They All Say, anchored by his No. 2 Hot 100 hit, “Whats Poppin.” “[The pandemic] made us more meticulous than ever,” says Morrison, “from the music to production to project rollouts.”

Pandemic Business Practice That Will Last: “We’ll continue to address the importance of mental and physical health. Most businesses continue to push the narrative of working hard every minute but fail to address staying mentally and physically healthy in the process of reaching your dream.” — Morrison

Marie Clausen
Head of North America/head of global streaming, Ninja Tune

In a difficult year for independent labels, Clausen, 39, and her team managed to pull off a successful deal with the label of electronic duo ODESZA, Foreign Family Collective. Together, the two labels launched the eponymous debut album by Bronson, the duo’s collaborative project with Golden Features, which notched a No. 5 debut on the Top Dance/Electronic Albums chart. “This new venture allows us to work even more closely to create the best environment for artists and their music,” says Clausen, who serves on the boards of both A2IM and Merlin.

Trend Most Affecting the Indie Community: “Removing market barriers and gatekeepers through streaming, allowing in return commercial success for independents of all shapes and sizes on a gradually more level playing field.”

Tomas Cookman
CEO, Industria Works/Nacional Records

For the second year in a row, ­Cookman’s team pivoted its weeklong Latin ­Alternative Music Conference in May to a free, virtual event that had 25,000 registrants (compared with 10,000 last year) and a peak viewership of 5,000. “It’s further proof that the music ­industry is thriving,” says Cookman, who this past year hired five new staffers for his ­company, which includes Mipony Pro 3.1 Free Download with Crack record label and management division.

Trend Most Affecting the Indie Community: “As more and more funding enters the music industry, especially in areas like publishing, the further clarification of creator rights and subsequent payments will be key.”

Mike Curb
Founder/chairman, Curb Records

As a philanthropist, Curb has made major contributions to, among others, the National Museum of African American Music, Bethune-Cookman University, Fisk University and Nashville organizations to aid underserved communities during the pandemic. As an activist, he penned a Billboard op-ed last year titled, “Why a Slate of Tennessee Bills Are Discriminatory and Could Hurt the State’s Music Community.” And at 76, he remains a hitmaker: Curb Records’ Dylan Scott reached No. 4 on Country Airplay in May with “Nobody” from his EP Nothing To Do Town, which hit No. 3 on Top Country Albums. Lee Brice’s latest album, Hey World, peaked at No. 7 on Top Country Albums in January, and “Amen,” the latest single from the Christian pop duo for King & Country reached No. 6 on Christian Airplay in May.

Angel Del Villar
Founder/CEO, Del Records

Del Villar, 40, reports that despite the pandemic his label has had one of its most successful years on digital platforms, highlighted by the flourishing career of regional Mexican group Eslabon Armado, which claimed its third No. 1 on the Regional Mexican Albums chart in January with Corta Venas. For now, Del Villar is focused on getting Del Records’ roster back on tour. “It’s the time to join forces, especially in the genre, and create tours that people are dying to see,” he says.

Pandemic Business Practice That Will Last: “The fast and constant way we consume music. We have to constantly release content.”

Brandon “Lil Bibby” Dickinson
George “G-Money” Dickinson
Peter “Pete” Jideonwo
Partners, Grade A Productions

The Grade A team took pride in “properly honoring Juice WRLD’s legacy,” says Jideonwo, by delivering (in partnership with Interscope) the rapper’s posthumous album Legends Never Die, which debuted last July at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. “This, combined with the success of The Kid LAROI, has been great to witness,” says Jideonwo of the label’s Australian rapper, whose duet with Miley Cyrus on “Without You” has reached the top 10 on the Hot 100. “The progression of Grade A into a musical and business force has paved the way for a bright future.”

Best Way to Observe Juneteenth: “Take the day off to reflect on how far we have come and how far we still have to go. We should volunteer for a cause or organization dedicated to equality and be sure to do our part in giving back. Juneteenth should be a nationally celebrated holiday.” — Jideonwo

Juice Wrld

Seth England
Partner/CEO, Big Loud

While Morgan Wallen has had one of the best-selling country albums of the year for Big Loud with Dangerous: The Double Album, the company in February suspended his recording contract after video emerged of Wallen using a racial slur. (Wallen in May sang of “making some bad decisions” in a new song, “Thought You Should Know.”) England’s team kept the label on the charts, however, with roster mates Chris Lane, HARDY, Dallas Smith and Sean Stemaly, among others.

Matt Galle
Founder/CEO, Photo Finish Records
Mike Marquis
CFO, Photo Finish Records

Home to 3OH!3, Handsome Ghost and Marian Hill, Photo Finish Records is still K7 Antivirus Premium License key the returns from SHAED’s breakthrough single, “Trampoline,” which has racked up 2 billion streams worldwide, according to the company. The surprise hit set up the label for its “best years yet” leading up to its 15th anniversary in 2021, says Galle. Meanwhile, Marquis is proud of a new partnership with alternative rock band The Maine to help grow the 600 million streams of its catalog and get the Arizona act “to the next level of success,” he says.

The Next Legislation We Need: “To address the monopolization of ticketing. The ticketing companies have too strong a hold on the buyers and charge outrageous fees to the consumer, which are typically not shared with the artist.” — Marquis

Daniel Glass
Founder/CEO, Glassnote Music
Chris Scully
GM/CFO, Glassnote Music

Artist development is the “true DNA” of Glassnote, says Glass, who cites the label’s commitment to developing career artists like Chvrches and Aurora as “the reason people sign with us.” When Chvrches’ 2018 song “Forever” gained in streams and sales after a 2020 synch on the Netflix series Elite, Glassnote promoted the song to radio. The label did the same for Aurora’s 2015 song “Runaway” after a viral TikTok video propelled it to Nos. 19 and 22 on Billboard’s Global Excl. U.S. and Global 200 charts, respectively, in May. “And with the return of touring,” says Glass, “they’re both on the cusp of joining the pantheon of arena artists.”

Best Timesaving Tip: “Counting to 10. Inhaling and exhaling. Ironically, taking a moment to think before responding or taking action can end Ontrack EasyRecovery Toolkit Crack saving Video Game Genres That Are Currently Thriving Latest Information 2021 [2021] most time in the end. Taking the subway will save you a lot of time, too.” — Glass

Michael Goldstone
Founder/co-owner, Mom + Pop Music
Thaddeus Rudd
Co-president/co-owner, Mom + Pop Music

“During a challenging time, we were able to break through with Ashe,” says Goldstone of the “Moral of the Story” singer-songwriter whose debut album, Ashlyn, arrived May 7 featuring collaborations with FINNEAS and Niall Horan. Goldstone also points to Beach Bunny’s “Cloud 9,” which he says hit over 2 million streams per day; electronic artist Porter Robinson’s “brilliant” sophomore album, Nurture, which debuted at No. 1 on the Top Dance/Electronic Albums chart in May; and upcoming priority releases from FKJ, Courtney Barnett and Lucius.

Best Timesaving Tip: “Being flexible and inclusive empowers voices to break through. Most of our company touches every release. Having 25 people working on a release with management, agents and publicists makes for an optimum team.” — Goldstone

Elliot Grainge
Founder/CEO, 10K Projects

“This year, two of our label partners had incredible success,” says Grainge, 27. “Taz Taylor and Nick Mira at Internet Money had one of the biggest records of the year with ‘Lemonade’ and established their company as an artist brand. And our partners Zach Friedman and Tony Talamo at Homemade Projects launched Video Game Genres That Are Currently Thriving Latest Information 2021 [2021] careers of Surfaces, Peach Tree Rascals and Salem Ilese. The success of these two partnerships really shows what we can do as independents when we work together.”

The Next Legislation We Need: “Artists need healthcare now and too many of them are falling through the cracks. As a Brit who grew up where we had universal healthcare, the fact that this country does not provide a comprehensive healthcare plan to all of its citizens is so surprising to me. How many years away are we from solving this problem Corel Videostudio Pro 2021 23.3.0.646 Crack - Free Activators the U.S.?”

Benjy Grinberg
Founder/president, Rostrum Records

Rostrum Records, once the label home of Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller, signed rapper Rich the Kid earlier this year in a move that affirms the view of Grinberg, 43, that “independent doesn’t mean small.” Under the multimillion-dollar deal, Rostrum will release Rich the Kid’s music in partnership with BMG. Grinberg calls him “a key voice of this generation, and we’re very excited that he chose Rostrum as his new home.”

Trend Most Affecting the Indie Community: “Blockchain has so much potential to help create a database of music rights. It’s crazy that the music industry hasn’t gotten its act together in this respect.”

Rich The Kid

Brett Gurewitz
Founder/CEO, Epitaph/Anti- Records
Matt McGreevey
GM, Epitaph/Anti- Records

The roster of Epitaph/Anti- the label founded in 1980 by Bad Religion guitarist Gurewitz, succeeded this year despite the pandemic. Fleet Foxes’ Shore topped the Americana/Folk Albums chart, while Architects’ For Those That Wish To Exist reached the top 10 on the Top Album Sales chart. The label’s past year also included releases by Ben Harper, M. Ward, The Menzingers and The Ghost Inside. “It has become very clear that we don’t need to be in the same building to be successful,” says McGreevey, adding that continuing virtual operations “allow for our teams around the world to collaborate in a more meaningful and immediate way.”

Trend Most Affecting the Indie Community: “The rise in demand for vinyl records has been great, but this is putting a major strain on the plants, causing production timelines to expand and resulting in delays.” — McGreevey

Tyson Haller
Senior vp/head of promotion, Concord
Karen Kloack
Senior vp Ableton Live 10 Keygen marketing, Concord
Carrie Smith
VP creative services, Concord

Concord’s promotion team helped The Pretty Reckless become “the first female-fronted band to score six No. 1s on the Mainstream Rock Airplay chart,” says Haller, when the band’s single “And So It Went” (featuring Tom Morello) reached the top spot in April. Kloack helped Nathaniel Rateliff “fulfill his dream of performing on Saturday Night Live,” she says, and brokered his partnership with Apple TV+ to pen “Redemption” for the 2020 film Palmer starring Justin Timberlake. Smith celebrated her creative team’s three wins in physical album packaging at the virtual Making Vinyl Packaging Awards in February.

The Next Legislation We Need: “An amendment to the Copyright Act granting owners of sound recordings the same public performance right [on terrestrial radio] that is enjoyed by copyright owners in virtually all other developed countries.” — Kloack

Simon Halliday
Worldwide managing director, 4AD
Nabil Ayers
GM, 4AD

Despite the loss of live performances as a promotional avenue, 4AD broke two new acts during the pandemic: the London quartet Dry Cleaning and Tkay Maidza, a singer-songwriter-rapper and a netlimiter portable - Free Activators of Zimbabwe who lives in Australia. “During a time when both campaigns would rely heavily on touring,” says Ayers, “they’ve both managed to feel omnipresent due to press, radio, video content we’ve created with partners and great word-of-mouth.”

Pandemic Business Practice That Will Last: “Without the pressure of pegging an album release to a tour or major festival, we’ve had more space to release music, video and to build a story. When touring comes back we’ll surely revert, but hopefully we can implement some of what we’ve learned.” — Ayers

Tkay Maidza

Jimmy Humilde
Founder/CEO, Rancho Humilde

Humilde’s label has helped launch a wave of urban regional Mexican artists who’ve connected with a new generation of listeners. They include 20-year-old Natanael Cano, who had the most-consumed regional Mexican album of 2020 and helped Rancho Humilde end the year as the No. 1 Regional Mexican Albums label on the Billboard charts, outranking Universal and Sony. Says Humilde: “I think the playing field is more level than before.”

Best Timesaving Tip: “Trust your gut feeling. If you feel that a certain project will be successful, don’t doubt yourself, and go all in.”

Eric Hurt
VP A&R, EMPIRE Nashville
Heather Vassar
VP marketing, EMPIRE Nashville

In its first 12 months of existence, EMPIRE Nashville made an impact with Willie Jones, whose album Right Now includes the Black empowerment anthem “American Dream.” Hurt signed Jones to a publishing deal that led to the EMPIRE Nashville release. (Jones has since moved to Sony Music Nashville.) EMPIRE Nashville’s Bear and a Banjo, meanwhile, is a collaboration between hitmakers Jared Gutstadt and Jason “Poo Bear” Boyd, and Americana artist Waylon Payne made his national TV debut on CBS This Morning: Saturday with a three-song performance.

Matthew Johnson
President, Fat Possum Records
Melinda Caffin
COO, Fat Possum Records

A bevy of new releases and blasts from its past are paving the road for Fat Possum’s 30th anniversary in 2022. On OfficeSuite 2.40 Crack Download - Crack Key For U a forthcoming seventh album by Wavves — the band’s first for the label in 10 years — and a partnership with Seymour Stein’s Blue Horizon Records that brings back Fleetwood Mac’s Peter Green-era catalog. In May, Possum alums The Black Keys released Delta Kream on Nonesuch Records, featuring covers of early signings R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough. The album served as a tribute to their first label home and to the band’s roots in the Mississippi hill country blues tradition.

Gordon Kerr
President/CEO, Black River Entertainment

Launching an album during the pandemic was a bold move for any artist or label. With the support of Kerr and his Black River team, Kelsea Ballerini released two — Kelsea, which arrived in March 2020, and Ballerini, in September. Earlier in 2021, Ballerini earned an Academy of Country Music Award nomination for female artist of the year. Under Kerr, Black River also has been nurturing rising acts like MaRynn Taylor, Josh Wilson and Carolina Story.

Allen Kovac
Founder/CEO, Better Noise Music/10th Street Entertainment

With Better Noise named Billboard’s No. 1 mainstream rock label of 2020, Kovac’s companies keep making a bang in the guitar-crunching game. While working “to amplify the iconic success of Mötley Crüe and elevating Five Finger Death Punch into one of the biggest hard rock bands in the world, we have consistently developed younger artists,” says Kovac, 66, noting the chart-topping success of Bad Wolves and the global breakthrough of Mongolian band The Hu.

The Next Legislation We Need: “Much stronger regulation of the streaming services and the three major record companies.”

David LaPointe
Founder/owner, LP

Tropical music continues to successfully compete against regional Mexican and reggaetón thanks, in part, to LaPointe’s independent label, marketing and management firm, LP. His clients include Puerto Rican salsa legends such as N’Klabe, whose latest album “spawned the worldwide smash ‘Me Enamoré Como Nunca,’ ” says LaPointe, and La India, who reemerged with her first new music in five years. And despite streaming models putting “independent artists in a more difficult situation,” says LaPointe, the label finished at No. 4 on Billboard’s Tropical Airplay year-end labels chart in 2020.

Trend Most Affecting the Indie Community: “The pandemic has certainly brought to light many issues for indie artists with streaming … and the ways data can be manipulated for leverage.”

Kevin “Coach K” Lee
COO, Quality Control
Pierre “Pee” Thomas
CEO, Quality Control

In 2020, Quality Control maintained its dominance in rap (in partnership with Motown) with Lil Baby’s second album, My Turn. By earning 2.63 million equivalent album units in the United States, according to MRC Data, Lil Baby bested pop titans Taylor Swift and The Weeknd for the year’s most popular album. Thomas gushes that Video Game Genres That Are Currently Thriving Latest Information 2021 [2021] Turn “was the [most-consumed] album of all genres in 2020, and we rode into 2021 with a monumental Grammy performance.”

Trend Most Affecting the Indie Community: Non-fungible tokens “open up a world of ownership and secondary transactions like we all have never seen. It’ll be interesting to see how it impacts music and the content artists make.” — Thomas

Kevin Liles
Co-founder/CEO, 300 Entertainment
Rayna Bass
Senior vp marketing, 300 Entertainment
Selim Bouab
Senior vp/head of A&R, 300 Entertainment
Geoff Ogunlesi
VP A&R, 300 Entertainment; vp, YSL Records
Leesa Brunson Boland
Senior vp/head of A&R operations and A&R administration, 300 Entertainment

The roster for 300 Entertainment has a deep bench of success stories: Young Thug and Gunna topped the Billboard 200 with their latest albums, and Megan Thee Stallion landed two Hot 100 No. 1s and three Grammy Awards in 2021, including best new artist. Liles says his team is most proud about becoming the first label to land on Inc. magazine’s Best Workplaces list. “The humanization of our industry is a priority for me,” he says. “We’re not just talking about employees, artists, writers, producers and managers. We are first talking about human beings.”

Pandemic Business Practice That Will Last: “Now more than ever, mental health should be valued. This year we launched a program to reimburse employees for the cost of mental health services up to twice a week. [We have] also started another companywide initiative, 300 Takes a Break, which is a fund for employees to take a vacation.” — Liles

Justin Lubliner
CEO, The Darkroom

Lubliner’s independently owned imprint, The Darkroom, in partnership with Interscope, launched Billie Eilish to stardom in 2019 and watched her sweep the Grammys’ top honors in 2020 with her debut album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? The highlight of the past year for Lubliner, 30, was helping put together Eilish’s documentary, The World’s a Little Blurry, which he executive-produced.

Pandemic Business Practice That Will Last: “Long walks for business meetings instead of sitting in an office.”

David Macias
President, Thirty Tigers

Two decades after Thirty Tigers was founded in Nashville, the label, under Macias, has become home to an acclaimed 120-act roster of Americana, country and folk artists, including the late John Prine, whose albums it distributes. Macias (who also is a partner in Triple Tigers Records; see below) in the past year has seen Alanis Morissette debut at No. 1 on Top Rock Albums with Such Pretty Forks in the Road and Jason Isbell and the 400 unit peak at No. 1 on Top Country Albums with Reunions, while Lucinda Williams reached No. 3 on Americana/Folk Albums and No. 21 on Top Rock Albums with her 13th studio set, Good Souls Better Angels.

Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit

Joshua Mendez
Co-founder/COO, Rich Music

Rich Music is a nimble company where label executives benefit from “dealing directly with the artist and not having to go through 20 channels to make a decision,” says Mendez, 32. In 2020, Rich Music artists such as Sech, Dalex and Dimelo Flow amassed 2.5 billion streams, according to the company, while the Miami-based label ranked on multiple Billboard year-end charts, including No. 6 on Top Latin Labels, No. 5 on Hot Latin Songs Labels and No. 6 on Top Latin Albums Labels.

Trend Most Affecting the Indie Community: “Major labels changing terms for artist collaborations.”

Martin Mills
Chairman, Beggars Group
Matt Harmon
President, Beggars Group U.S.
Risa Matsuki
VP promotions, Beggars Group
Miwa Okumura
Senior vp West Coast operations and licensing, Beggars Group

Beggars Group focused on the well-being of furloughed touring workers amid the pandemic. The label group, which includes 4AD, Matador Records, Rough Trade and XL Recordings, created a band-crew fund that distributed money to nearly 180 people among their artists’ crew members during the holiday season — a time when they had “no way to generate income,” says Harmon. The record company — alongside Ninja Tune — also committed to become completely carbon-negative by the end of 2022 by reducing emissions through product and supply changes.

Best Timesaving Tip: “Picking up the phone. The best and most economical way to avoid Microsoft Teams or massive email threads is to plug in your headphones, make the call and get the issue sorted.”

Todd Moscowitz
Founder/CEO, Alamo Records
Tiara Hargrave
Executive vp/GM, Alamo Records

In NOD32 AntiVirus 12.1.34.0 Full Version - Crack Key For U five years since rock-to-rap mogul Moscowitz founded Alamo Records, the label has established itself as a dominant force in hip-hop, with a roster that includes Lil Durk, Rod Wave, blackbear and Smokepurpp. Most recently, the label has released two of the biggest rap albums of 2021 to date: Lil Durk’s The Voice (co-released with Geffen) peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, and Wave’s SoulFly topped the chart in April — the company’s first No. 1.

The Next Legislation That We Need: “Making mental health, financial literacy and addiction-reform resources available to all artists, which can change the life span of artists and help their quality of life.” — Hargrave

Norbert Nix
President, Triple Tigers Records

Under Nix, Triple Tigers has scored two Country Airplay chart-toppers in the past 12 months: Scotty McCreery’s “In Between” and Russell Dickerson’s “Love You Like I Used To.” The latter was Dickerson’s fourth consecutive single to reach the peak when it topped the list in November. That streak set up the arrival of his second album, Southern Symphony. Nix guided the strategy for the set, which included the video “Southern Symphony Album Experience,” a collection of clips telling the story of the release, track by track. Southern Symphony reached No. 14 on Top Country Albums.

Patrick North
Label head, XL Recordings/Young
Laura Lyons
U.S. campaign manager, XL Recordings/Young

The Young label recently partnered with TV network FX to premiere FKA Twigs’ visuals for “Sad Day,” directed by Hiro Murai. It also launched the solo career of the xx’s Romy with the release of the single “Lifetime” and the breakthrough debut of Mustafa on his Regent Park Songs imprint. In 2020, XL Recordings celebrated having the first openly nonbinary artist to receive a Grammy Award nomination with Venezuelan artist Arca’s fourth studio album, KiCk i, landing a nod in the best dance/electronic album category.

Trend Most Affecting the Indie Community: “Increased demand for exclusive content from all partners. Labels and artists have to be resourceful and creative and find new angles to tell a story while keeping the music front and center.” —Lyons

Maykel Piron
Co-owner/CEO, Armada Music

Piron, 46, was proud of the “tremendous team effort” of his staff for remaining focused, productive and calm amid the pandemic. “Dance music is our bread and butter, so we took a hit when clubs closed,” he says. “But we managed to keep each other motivated and kept [sales] at almost the same level.”

Best Timesaving Tip: “Find out where your main audience is and focus on reaching them first. You’ll be able to grow from there. It is interesting to see that some of our releases have taken longer to grow into a huge success. So it is not always about saving time; it can also be about giving things time.”

Louis Posen
Founder/president, Hopeless Records

Posen, 50, used TikTok to boost his punk rock acts, which helped All Time Low’s 2007 sleeper hit “Dear Maria, Count Me In” reach double-platinum status in March, racking up 4 million on-demand streams per week. “Hopeless has been playing a leading role in redefining alternative music,” says Posen, “by diversifying our artist roster to be more representative of the genre-blending music that alternative fans love.”

Best Timesaving Tip: “Setting specific time each day and week to quietly assess all the opportunities and all the issues helps to focus on the things that matter most and remove the things that don’t.”

Antonio “L.A.” Reid
Charles Goldstuck
Founders/co-chairmen, Hitco Entertainment
Joel Klaiman
President, Hitco Entertainment

After “Roses” bloomed into a top five Hot 100 hit, SAINt JHN underscored his breakthrough with two Grammy wins, including best remixed recording. “That felt like a culminating moment in what was exceptional work by team Hitco,” says Klaiman, who also notes that the launch in March of D-Nice’s new single “No Plans for Love” (featuring Ne-Yo) marked the one-year anniversary of the producer’s first Club Quarantine livestream.

Best Way to Observe Juneteenth: “Regard it as a proper company holiday and offer access to resources so employees are able to further educate themselves on the significance of the day and all that surrounds it.” — Goldstuck

Jon Video Game Genres That Are Currently Thriving Latest Information 2021 [2021], ATO Records

After receiving seven Grammy nods in 2020, ATO’s artists earned 11 nominations in 2021, with Brittany Howard winning for best rock song. For Salter, 49, the Grammy performances of Howard and Black Pumas were among the company’s highlights of the last year. He also takes special pride in the ATO compilation album Silence Is Not an Option (turn this up). “It’s full of powerful anthems from the ATO catalog that explore issues of identity, community, social injustice and resistance,” he says. The album raised over $10,000, with proceeds going to three Black Lives Matter charities.

Pandemic Business Practice That Will Last: “The pretaped ‘at home’ content for TV/online programming. When done well, they can really sizzle, be dynamic, clever, more creative and exciting.”

Brittany Howard

Thomas Scherer
President of repertoire and marketing, New York and Los Angeles, BMG
Jon Loba
President, recorded music, BMG Nashville

Under Loba, BMG’s Nashville recorded music operation continues its chart-topping run, with hits from Blanco Brown & Parmalee, Jason Aldean, Chase Rice, Lindsay Ell, Dustin Lynch, and Jimmie Allen (CMA new male artist of the Year). Under Scherer, BMG’s coastal deal-making team on the recorded-music front has led to success with AJR, Leslie Odom, Cheap Trick, KSI and Evanescence, and the partnership with George Harrison’s Dark Horse Records, which included the release of the Concert for Bangladesh triple album from 1971 and solo works from the Joe Strummer catalog, alongside new publishing deals with Grammy and Oscar winner D’Mile, 21 Savage, and Juice WRLD.

Trend Most Affecting the Indie Community: “The continued power shift to the artist, and more awareness of the real value of owning your assets and creative treasures. BMG is committed as a partner and an indie with global muscle. We’re the best of both worlds.” — Loba

Moe Shalizi
Founder, Pick Six Records

In the fall of 2020, Shalizi launched Pick Six Records, which he runs alongside his management company, The Shalizi Group. The indie label’s 10-person team has signed hip-hop artist Wacotron, alt-pop act Prop, R&B artist Kameron and rapper Morray, who recently signed a deal with Interscope in partnership with Pick Six. “Sign less,” says Shalizi of the label’s tight roster, and “give more time to those artists until they have a solid team around them.”

Pandemic Business Practice That Will Last: “Building opportunities outside of touring and music.”

Jonny Shipes
Founder/CEO, Cinematic Music Group

Cinematic had a prolific 2020: For the second year in a row, the label with a roster that includes Flipp Dinero, Smoke DZA, Joey Bada$$ and Cam’ron doubled its streams. “To be coming up on two decades in the game and still seeing growth at that level feels good,” says Shipes, 41. “Seeing budding superstar Druski take off the way he has over the past year is very exciting.” For 2021, Shipes also plans to focus on the management division of the company, which includes hip-hop veteran Styles P.

Best Way to Observe Juneteenth: “At Cinematic, it’s a closed-office holiday. We’re proud of the platform we’ve created to amplify the voices of our Black artists and employees, which we showcase not just this month but year-round.”

Paul Sizelove
President, Gaither Music Group

Since Gaither Music Group partnered with Primary Wave Music in early 2019, Sizelove, 51, has seen the company continue to expand through strategic alliances, including a new deal with Universal’s newly rebranded Virgin Music Artist and Label Services. “This is a very good, strategic partnership for Gaither Music Group, allowing us to further develop the Gaither, Green Hill and Rural Rhythm labels, both digitally and internationally,” says Sizelove.

The Next Legislation We Need: “One that addresses performance royalties from terrestrial radio for sound recordings and artists. I am a proponent for making sure the master owners and artists get paid for their content in all areas of media.”

Wassim “Sal” Slaiby
Amir “Cash” Esmailian
La Mar C. Taylor
Co-founders, XO Records

XO continued to make history with The Weeknd’s After Hours. The record charted three Hot 100 No. 1s including “Blinding Lights,” which became the longest-running top 10 song in the chart’s history. These achievements helped bolster the label’s philanthropic endeavors, including co-founding The Weeknd’s million-dollar donation to hunger relief in Ethiopia and XO’s aid for the survivors of the deadly blast that rocked Slaiby’s home country of Lebanon in 2020.

Best Timesaving Tip: “Pick up the phone to resolve issues immediately and efficiently; never wait. Choosing your team wisely is the key to moving mountains.”— Slaiby

Ben Swanson
Founding partner/COO, Secretly Group
Chris UTorrent Pro 3.6.6 Build 4484 Crack + Serial Number Free 2021 partner/president of A&R, Secretly Group
Phil Waldorf
Founding partner/chief marketing officer, Secretly Group
Hannah Carlen
U.S./Canadian marketing director, Secretly Group

As one of the world’s largest independent label groups, Secretly includes subsidiary imprints like Jagjaguwar, Secretly Canadian and Ghostly International, with artists like Phoebe Bridgers, who launched her own label, Saddest Factory, under Secretly in October. “We’re in the process of re-signing a few artists,” says Carlen, which “speaks to the ways we’re able to grow with artists.” The company’s pandemic-motivated investment in direct-to-consumer initiatives like the Secretly Store and record club, she adds, will “most definitely endure.”

Best Timesaving Tip “Be on when you’re on and off when you’re off. If you’re in a position to keep that balance between work and the rest of life, keep it and prioritize it. It’s a timesaver in itself.” — Carlen

Arnold Taylor
CEO, South Coast Music Group
Daud Carter
Senior vp, South AnyToISO Professional v3.9Crack - Crack Key For U Music Group
Garrett Williams
VP of marketing/head of operations, South Coast Music Group

The independently owned South Coast Music Group, through its partnership with Interscope Records, saw DaBaby’s third album, Blame It on Baby, released a month into the pandemic in April 2020, debut atop the Billboard 200. Meanwhile, his single “Rockstar” (featuring Roddy Ricch) spend seven nonconsecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100 and was Billboard’s Song of the Summer for 2020.

Best Timesaving Tip: “Build a solid team so you can delegate tasks evenly. A team is only as strong as its weakest link, so it’s important to have reliable and trustworthy people in position.”

DaBaby

Fiona Prine
President, Oh Boy Records/Sour Grapes Music/TommyJack Music
Jody Whelan
Managing partner, Oh Boy Records

More than a year after John Prine’s death, his legacy shines on at Oh Boy Records, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Oh Boy, which was founded by Prine in 1981 with Al Bunetta and Dan Einstein, is McAfee WebAdvisor 2020 Free Download with Crack second-oldest artist-owned independent label in the United States (and the oldest in Nashville) and has released past titles from Prine and Kris Kristofferson, among others. Prine’s widow Fiona, 59, is proud of how the company, which she runs with her son, Jody, 40, has “continued to support artists on our label and keep fans engaged by offering exciting and relevant entertainment content and opportunities to support a variety of local and national nonprofits.”

Trend Most Affecting the Indie Community: “Corporate consolidation and these giant platforms that deprioritize and squeeze out smaller, more niche artistic communities.” — Whelan

Bryan “Birdman” Williams
Ronald “Slim” Williams
Co-founder/co-CEOs, Cash Money Records

Cash Money has launched some of the biggest artists in hip-hop during its two-decade history, and younger artists like Jacquees are now leading its next wave of new talent. But the Williams brothers have also focused on giving back during the pandemic. In June 2020, they donated over $225,000 to Forward Together New Orleans, offering rent relief for residents of their childhood housing project. “We are most concerned,” says Slim, “with the financial wellness, literacy and attaining generational wealth within the Black community.”

The Next Legislation We Need: “We’d like to see laws in place that support access to capital for small Black businesses and equal access to mortgages and loans.” — Slim Williams

Jacquees

Mason Williams
Senior vp catalog A&R, Concord/Craft Recordings
Bruce McIntosh
VP Latin catalog, Concord/Craft Latino

Craft spent the last year investing heavily in the development of audiovisual content, producing thoughtfully curated clips and relevant series for its label and artist channels. The catalog strategy has led to significant gains for its various YouTube channels — most notably for Fania Records, which boasts nearly 700,000 subscribers; and Discos Musart, which counts roughly 800,000. “From A&R to e-commerce,” says McIntosh, “it’s all about audience cultivation and engagement and offerings of all sorts for everyone from explorers to superfans.”

Best Way to Observe Juneteenth: “Our Stax and Fania Records labels both have repertoire associated with the social justice movements that took place in each of their respective communities. — McIntosh

Billboard's 2021 Indie Power Players List

Paris Cabezas
Managing partner, InnerCat Music Group
Ana Gonzalez
Managing partner, InnerCat Music Group
Garrett Schaefer
GM, InnerCat Music Group

InnerCat, which describes itself as a full-service music technology company, saw its catalog reach 22.75 billion total streams to date, with breakouts like Jamby El Favo, whose platform rose to 1.87 million subscribers on YouTube, according to the company. During the pandemic, InnerCat also developed a proprietary video player that broadcasts virtual on-demand concerts such as Gilberto Santa Rosa’s Christmas special that had over 500,000 viewers. And while InnerCat was eligible for federal loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, the company didn’t want to “take anything at the expense of other small businesses who really needed the help,” says Cabezas, 48. “That’s a testament to the team here — we’re a family.”

Best Timesaving Tip: “Programming or coding. Seriously, we’re a tech company as much as we are a music company.” — Cabezas

Ghazi
Founder/CEO, EMPIRE
Nima Etminan
COO, EMPIRE
Tina Davis
Senior vp A&R, EMPIRE

In the past year, EMPIRE’s expansion into West Africa led to “extensive growth and success with artists such as Fireboy DML and Olamide from our partnership with YBNL, as well as Wande Coal, Yaw Tog, Patoranking, L.A.X. and more,” says Davis, the result of a “super talented and dedicated team” on the continent.

The Next Legislation We Need: “Updated laws regarding policing to abolish qualified immunity to officers that engage in unconstitutional or illegal acts that result in death or incarceration. The law should also include a standard on how to investigate the use of lethal force, which should be a last resort, not the first tactic.” — Davis

Jason Peterson
Chairman/CEO, GoDigital Media Group

GoDigital grew from just over 100 employees to a staff of 450 following acquisitions of two multi-platform networks: mitu, an entertainment and lifestyle network for Latinx audiences that will work in tandem with GoDigital’s own Latido Networks, and YogaWorks, a health and wellness platform that includes on-demand and live yoga classes, for $9.6 million. In addition, its Cinq Music Group — a distributor, label and publisher — acquired the rights to catalogs by pop star Jason Derulo and regional Mexican label Rancho Humilde.

Pandemic Business Practice That Will Last: “We will probably never have a fully staffed office. Rather a rotation of people through a smaller facility.”

David Porter
Co-founder/CEO, Made in Memphis Entertainment
Tony D. Alexander
Co-founder/president/managing director, Made in Memphis Entertainment

Made in Memphis Entertainment is working to revitalize the city’s music scene, and the multifaceted company includes — in addition to its indie label MIME Records and distribution divisions Beatroot Music and Beatroot Africa — a studio, 4U Recording; a film/TV synch company, Heavy Hitters Music Group; and MIME Publishing. Recent success stories include Memphis rapper Moneybagg Yo, who recorded much of his No. 1 Billboard 200 album, A Gangsta’s Pain, at 4U, and BIG30, who is distributed through Beatroot. The goal was to “create a global network of interconnected, hyperlocal music communities,” says Alexander, 49. Plans for a new 4U studio in Atlanta “is a big step toward that goal.”

Best way to observe Juneteenth “Volunteering with an organization focused on dismantling the vestiges of systemic racism. Many of today’s injustices remain tied to slavery, which is why it’s important to support organizations fighting for social justice like When We All Vote.” — Alexander

Jacqueline Saturn
President, Virgin Music Label and Artist Services
Matt Sawin
GM, Virgin Music Label and Artist Services
Marni Halpern
Senior vp promotion, Virgin Music Label and Artist Services
Cindy James
Head of commercial marketing, Virgin Music Label and Artist Services
Adam Starr
Senior vp/head of marketing, Virgin Music Label and Artist Services

In February, Universal Music Group rebranded Caroline, the independent label services division of Capitol Music Group, as Virgin Music Label and Artist Services. The new entity revitalized the Virgin brand created by Richard Branson nearly 50 years ago to serve as a global network for indie artists including Lil Baby and SHAED. The rebrand enabled UMG to further its commitment in “building our worldwide network,” says Saturn, who helmed the change, by “providing our partners with more resources and an intricate global plan for releases.”

Best Timesaving Tip: “A 30-minute Zoom can be just as productive as an in-person meeting. Commuting time really adds up, and it’s amazing to consider just how much more business and personal interaction can be done on a daily basis.” — Saturn

Camille Marie Soto Malavé
CEO, Glad Empire

Over the past year, Glad Empire launched production division Conteni2 Media Group and opened a new media studio in Orlando, Fla., to produce livestreams and podcasts. “It’s a one-of-a-kind place for musicians and content creators,” says Soto Malavé, 39. Her team distributed titles including Myke Towers and Juhn’s “Bandido,” which peaked at No. 4 on Hot Latin Songs and No. 6 on the Global Excl. U.S. chart in February. Soto Malavé and her team also inked a distribution deal with Flow La Movie, the label behind Nio Garcia and Casper Magico.

The Next Legislation We Need: “Stricter anti-piracy and copyright laws that protect creators from getting their works leaked online and/or stolen. It is a huge problem.”

Chris Taylor
Global president, music and live, eOne

“We do records in a real traditional way,” Taylor told Billboard last year. “We’d rather sign 50 artists and have 40 of them making money.” So, in a moment of transition, with financial firm Blackstone agreeing to buy eOne Music from Hasbro for $385 million, Taylor singles out some traditional product — a 12-album Black Label Society box set that includes 20 colored-vinyl records and other collectibles — as a notable accomplishment. “It’s tangible evidence of the TLC our teams put into our artists’ art and a tribute to the extent eOners are willing to go to excite fans.”

Trend Most Affecting the Indie Community: “Rights management and administration. Independent companies, not to mention unsigned artists, that lack scale and resources might have some commercial success, but many are not collecting all the money owed to them, due to inadequate resources in this regard.”

Joel Andrew
President, CD Baby

Excelling at service to independent artists is in CD Baby’s DNA, says Andrew, who takes pride in how the company has helped sustain acts during the pandemic. “Artists turned to us in droves, and we got to pay them a whole lot of money, [helping sell] 2.2 million new tracks [that yielded] $140 million paid out to indie artists in 2020,” he says.

Best Timesaving Tip: “Have a plan months before releasing content. We added a free new tool, our CD Baby Release Plan Generator, where artists can improve or customize releases. It’s saving them so much time.”

Matt Barrington
Co-head/COO, TuneCore
Andreea Gleeson
Co-head/chief revenue officer, TuneCore

The digital distributor TuneCore pays its artists “a true 100%” how to use perfect keyboard all earnings, says Barrington. “This is because we partner with our parent, Believe, and deal directly with [digital service providers], while most of our key competitors use a middleman who takes a percentage off the top before passing along earnings.” Movavi Slideshow Maker 7.2.1 Crack + Activation Key Free Download revenue topped $448 million in 2020.) In March, the company introduced TuneCore Rewards, which provides entrepreneurial guidance on music promotion, release planning and social media for artists, giving them a “road map to success, eliminating the guesswork,” says Gleeson. “It’s a key educational component in our support of artists.”

Jorge Brea
Founder/CEO, Symphonic Distribution
Janette Berrios
Head of corporate marketing, Symphonic Distribution

Brea, who founded Tampa, Fla.-based Symphonic Distribution in 2006, is increasingly finding success in U.S. Latin and hip-hop: opening an office in Brazil, landing Dominican legend Juan Luis Guerra as a client and inking a licensing deal with African streaming startup MePlaylist. The global mindset paid off in 2020: Symphonic grew 50% year-over-year and surpassed $100 million in royalties for the first time.

Best Timesaving Tip: “Block out time on your calendar to avoid doing calls. Sometimes you have to just do the work and stop talking.” — Brea

Juan Luis Guerra

Drew Hill
Managing director, Proper Music Group

The United Kingdom’s Proper Music saw its sales of vinyl music jump 41% in 2020 from 2019, compared with 13.3% industrywide in the market. Despite COVID-19 restrictions, Hill, 43, says his working-from-home team understood that “artists and labels were relying on us to keep them afloat.” Without live gigs, physical music sold online became a lifeline, confirming that nimble indies are “better placed” to respond to a shifting market, he adds.

Trend Most Affecting the Indie Community: “The indie community has successfully innovated to embrace e-commerce as a viable way to continue connecting fans with the music they love, despite the adversity of various lockdowns.”

Laura Campbell Pittard
Director of marketing, Redeye Worldwide
Jason Taylor
Director of sales and label relations, Redeye Worldwide
Michael Howard
Director of operations, Redeye Worldwide

A year into the global pandemic, Redeye, a worldwide distribution and music services company, has learned how to turn a negative into a positive. Taylor says that despite the difficulties of the past year, the company is most proud of “our ability to navigate the challenges and obstacles of the pandemic and come out stronger than we were pre-pandemic.”

Trend Most Affecting the Indie Community: “The staggering increase in demand for vinyl and the barriers indies face in supplying products to fulfill that demand. While there have been significant changes in manufacturing turn[around] times, freight costs and international transit times because of the pandemic, consumer demand continues to be at an all-time high.” — Howard

Philip Kaplan
Founder/CEO, DistroKid

DistroKid now distributes at least 30% of all new music: 20 million tracks from 2 million artists, with over 35,000 new tracks a day. The company says it also collects over $200 million annually from digital service providers for its distributed artists. “Blows my mind,” says Kaplan, who notes that recent integrations with Twitch, Snap and Audiomack have added value for clients including 21 Savage, Arizona Zervas and Dan the Automator.

Best Time Saving Tip: “During meetings, I try to get as much done as possible, even coding, so that the meeting doesn’t create a lot of new to-dos.”

21 Savage

Cat Kreidich
President, Alternative Distribution Alliance
John Franck
Executive vp commercial and marketing, Alternative Distribution Alliance

To expand its global network, Warner Music Group’s independent label and artist services division, Alternative Distribution Alliance, launched ADA Latin, advanced systemcare pro 13.2 license - Activators Patch Latin America, Spain and Portugal; and ADA Asia, covering greater China, Korea and Southeast Asia, says Kreidich. The distributor has also signed deals with Toy Selectah’s Worldwide Records and Cosmica Records and a new joint venture with Billy Mann and Benton James’ icons+giants label. In the United States, ADA worked with S-Curve/BMG to break AJR’s “Bang!,” which “grew over a full calendar year,” says Franck, and “is now two-times platinum in the United States after crossing four radio formats.”

Best Way to Observe Juneteenth: “On my children’s school calendar, Juneteenth is a holiday for our school district. I was happy to see that and think the best way to observe the day is to spend time with my two daughters, educating them on the importance of the day and making sure they understand the history around it.” — Franck

Brad Navin
CEO, The Orchard
Colleen Theis
COO, The Orchard
Mary Ashley Johnson
Senior vp North America, label management and sales, The Orchard
Alan Becker
Senior vp product development, The Orchard
Tim Pithouse
Senior vp/head of artist services, The Orchard

This past year was the distributor’s biggest ever, one that included 40 Grammy nominations that yielded 10 awards for artists it represents, plus over 399 albums reaching the Billboard 200. One of those made history: K-pop sensation BTS became the first group ever to simultaneously debut at No. 1 on both the albums chart and the Hot 100. “We are able to scale our business and nimbly respond in real time to engagement, because we lead with aggressive data and technology, coupled with great relationships,” says Johnson, 47.

Trend Most Affecting the Indie Community: “Leaning too hard on playlist adds and viral moments without off-platform marketing, strategic planning and driving fans back to partners. We need all of the elements to give artists the best shot at true development.” — Johnson

Ben Patterson
COO, Downtown Music Services

With the sale of Downtown Music’s publishing copyrights to Concord, announced in April, Downtown will further focus on offering services to unsigned and established indie artists. Patterson transitioned from head of Downtown subsidiary DashGo to COO of Downtown Music Services. “One of our first releases as Downtown Music Services is Cheat Codes’ debut album, Hellraisers, Pt 1.,” he says. The release “shows the capabilities we can offer artists who wish to maintain independence and ownership of their music.”

Pandemic Business Practice That Will Last: “I have a sinking sensation that these video calls are going to hang around — if only because a three-meeting day with L.A. traffic can now be a five- or six-meeting day in front of a camera.”

Milana Rabkin Lewis
Co-founder/CEO, Stem
Kristin Graziani
VP artist relations, Stem

In 2020, artist services company Stem launched the funding tool Scale with $100 million in advances for independent artists and labels. Unlike the typical terms for advances, artists keep their masters and decide what percentage of their earnings to contribute to recoupment each month. So far, over 50 artists, including Brent Faiyaz, have used Scale to finance projects. “Our artists can access capital on their terms,” says Graziani, “empowering them to take control of their music and their business.”

Trend Most Affecting the Indie Community: “Artists and labels are able to access capital easier than ever before. The growth of streaming has made music as an asset class more and more recognizable to financial markets.” — Graziani

Bob Roback
CEO, Ingrooves Music Group
Lloyd Hummel
Executive vp global commercial strategy, Ingrooves Music Group

Ingrooves has been experiencing expansion and growth both geographically and in its data-driven distribution products. “We’ve carefully built out a strong, connected team across the world over the past 18 months,” says Hummel. “That’s hard in normal times, but this group has more than met the challenge during a global pandemic.” On the product front, adds Hummel, “our new Smart Audience advertising program finds fans who are most likely to actually stream our artists’ music, not just social media surfers who might click on an ad.”

Trend Most Affecting the Indie Community: “The challenge of building an audience [with] 400,000-plus new tracks being released every week, plus the competition for mindshare among so many emerging platforms. It’s more important than ever that indie artists educate themselves, build a trusted, knowledgeable team around them and use tools and insights to help guide their careers.”

Ed Seaman
COO, MVD Entertainment Group

As a distributor, MVD represents audiovisual products across DVD, Blu-ray, CD, vinyl and digital rights in shipping releases and merchandise to brick-and-mortar retailers. The company posted its “best year ever in 2020, by a lot,” says Seaman, 55, who notes its chief accomplishment is a bunch of recent “label renewals” with clients Bear Family (Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis), JSP Records and others. “Very few labels move on from MVD,” he says. “We don’t take that for granted.”

Trend Most Affecting the Indie Community: “Turnaround time for vinyl [manufacturing]. It is causing release dates to push way out on the horizon.”

Jonathan Strauss
Co-founder/CEO, Create Music Group
Wayne Hampton
Co-founder/chief development officer, Create Music Group
Alexandre Williams
Co-founder/COO, Create Music Group

Create Music Group, which ashampoo 12 backup - Activators Patch on unsigned artists that self-release their music, introduced the Create Carbon credit card last year, “which gives creators the ability to access their royalties as soon as they’re earned rather than wait to receive them in regular monthly payouts,” says Strauss. “For way too long legacy music companies have held on to artists’ money unnecessarily, and this innovation has been hugely popular with our artist clients.”

Trend Most Affecting the Indie Community: “Transparency, and the lack of it. One reason that artists are flocking to Create is that we show artists what they are earning on a daily basis. We aren’t hamstrung by the same legacy accounting and reporting systems that the major-label system uses. Independents are truly leading the way in this regard.” — Williams

Dean Tabaac
Head, AMPED Distribution
Jocelynn Pryor
VP marketing, AMPED Distribution

The measure of AMPED’s success for Pryor is simple math. “Week over week we’re consistently bringing the heat on our acts’ chart positions,” she says about Waxahatchee’s Saint Cloud landing at No. 1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Albums chart, as well as other chart successes from Adam Lambert, AWOLnation and Testament. Tabaac, meanwhile, highlights his company’s “record-breaking” year by noting that receipts were up over 45% from the previous fiscal year and that AMPED’s many distribution partners — which include Glassnote, Bloodshot, Epitaph and AWAL — had impressive showings on the Independent Albums chart on a week-to-week basis, as well as 20% of CD sales at indie music stores.

The Next Legislation We Need: “I’d like to see H.R. 1 [the For the People Act] passed because without free and fair elections the whole ship goes down.” — Pryor

Michael Ugwu
Founder/CEO, Freeme Digital

Named the first Black member to the board of Merlin in 2020, Ugwu leads Freeme Digital, which describes itself as Nigeria’s foremost online digital music distributor. The company works with over 2,000 artists including stars Rudeboy, Flavour, emerging local act The Cavemen and Nigerian comedy legend Basketmouth. Ugwu has developed Freeme Space as a creative hub that over the past year has seen nearly 100 videos recorded by artists including Burna Boy and multinational brands like Budweiser and Hennessy Cognac.

Darius Van Arman
Co-CEO, Secretly Distribution; founding partner, Secretly Group
Christopher Welz
Managing director, Secretly Distribution
Jacqui Resur
Head of label relations, Secretly Distribution
Shelly Westerhausen Worcel
Head of North American physical sales and marketing, Secretly Distribution

Secretly Group’s distribution division welcomed new label partners Awful Records and Father/Daughter; grew its artist services division with clients including Crumb, Portugal. The Man and Yaeji; and led a release campaign for Phoebe Bridgers’ Punisher, which earned the singer-songwriter four Grammy nominations including best new artist. “We’re constantly evolving our services to meet partners’ needs,” says Welz, who also notes the company’s creation of over 50 virtual workshops for label partners on topics like diversity and metadata optimization.

Trend Most Affecting the Indie Community: “It takes a village to manage volatile vinyl manufacturing timelines. Strategic planning between label, distributor and manufacturer is at an all-time premium.” — Welz

Emmanuel Zunz
Founder/CEO, ONErpm

The Nashville-based distributor expanded internationally in 2020, with new operations in London and Nigeria and 130 new hires. In January, the company launched a streamlined user interface on its website combining “daily performance stats and demographic consumption data with direct-to-fan marketing,” says Zunz, 48. The platform offers three tiers of service for talent — DIY, Taking Off and Next Level — with artists earning more personalized support as their fan bases grow. “We are one of the few companies where an artist can start DIY and graduate to bespoke marketing and label services,” he says.

Pandemic Business Practice That Will Last: “We will remain more virtual, and our direct-to-fan initiative is more important than ever.”

Contributors: Trevor Anderson, Rania Aniftos, Chuck Arnold, Katie Bain, Alexei Barrionuevo, Tatiana Cirisano, Anna Chan, Ed Christman, Leila Cobo, Mariel Concepcion, Stephen Daw, Frank DiGiacomo, Thom Duffy, Deborah Evans Price, Griselda Flores, Gary Graff, Lyndsey Havens, J’na Jefferson, Gil Kaufman, Steve Knopper, Juliana Koranteng, Carl Lamarre, Joe Levy, Heran Mamo, Geoff Mayfield, Taylor Mims, Gail Mitchell, Melinda Newman, Glenn Peoples, Neena Rouhani, Jessica Roiz, Dan Rys, Christine Werthman, Jewel Wicker, Nick Williams, Stereo Williams

Methodology: The record companies featured on Billboard’s Indie Power Players list are defined as independent because they are not owned by one rising antivirus product key - Crack Key For U the three major music groups: Sony, Warner and Universal. (They may release repertoire through the major groups in joint ventures). Distributors are defined as independent, regardless of ownership, based on the repertoire they market, largely from labels not under the majors’ umbrellas. Billboard editors and reporters weighed a variety of factors in determining the 2021 Indie Power Players list including, but not limited to, nominations by peers, colleagues and superiors at selected music companies, as well as recommendations by indie trade group A2IM. In addition to nominations, editors weigh the success of each executive’s label or distributor as measured by chart, sales and streaming performance. Career trajectory and industry impact were also considered. Unless otherwise noted, Billboard Boxscore and MRC Data are the sources for tour grosses and sales/streaming data, respectively. MRC Data is also the source for radio audience metrics. Unless otherwise noted, album streaming figures cited represent collective U.S. on-demand audio totals for an album’s tracks, and song/artist streaming figures represent U.S. on-demand audio and video totals.

This article originally appeared in the June 5, 2021, issue of Billboard.

Источник: https://www.billboard.com/articles/business/9583016/billboard-indie-power-players-executives-list-2021/

NFTs Are Shaking Up the Art World—But They Could Change So Much More

Just a few months ago, Jazmine Boykins was posting her artwork online for free. The 20-year-old digital artist’s dreamy animations of Black life were drawing plenty of likes, comments and shares, but not much income, aside from money she made selling swag with her designs between classes at North Carolina A&T State University.

But Boykins has recently been selling the same pieces for thousands of dollars each, thanks to an emerging technology upending the rules of digital ownership: NFTs, or non-fungible tokens. NFTs—digital tokens tied to assets that can be bought, sold and traded—are enabling artists like Boykins to profit from their work more easily than ever. “At first, I didn’t know if it was trustworthy or legit,” says Boykins, who goes by the online handle “BLACKSNEAKERS” and who has sold more than $60,000 in NFT art over the past six months. “But to see digital art being bought at these prices, it’s pretty astounding. It’s given me the courage to keep going.”

NFTs are having their big-bang moment: collectors and speculators have spent more than $200 million on an array of NFT-based artwork, memes and GIFs in the past month alone, according to market tracker NonFungible.com, compared with $250 million throughout all of 2020. And that was before the digital artist Mike Winkelmann, known as Beeple, sold a piece for Video Game Genres That Are Currently Thriving Latest Information 2021 [2021] record-setting $69 million at famed auction house Christie’s on March 11—the third highest price ever fetched by any currently living artist, after Jeff Koons and David Hockney.

TIME is now accepting cryptocurrency for subscriptions to time.com. Learn more.

NFTs are best understood as computer files combined with proof of ownership and authenticity, like a deed. Like cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, they exist on a blockchain—a tamper-resistant digital public ledger. But like dollars, cryptocurrencies are “fungible,” meaning one bitcoin is always worth the same as any other bitcoin. By contrast, NFTs have unique valuations set by the highest bidder, just like a Rembrandt or a Picasso. Artists who want to sell their work as NFTs have to sign up with a marketplace, then “mint” digital tokens by uploading and validating their information on a blockchain (typically the Ethereum blockchain, a rival platform to Bitcoin). Doing so usually costs anywhere from $40 to $200. They can then list their piece for auction on an NFT marketplace, similar to eBay.

At face value, the whole enterprise seems absurd: big-money collectors paying six to eight figures for works that can often be seen and shared online for free. Critics have dismissed the NFT art craze as just the latest bubble, akin to this year’s boom-and-bust mania around “meme stocks” like GameStop. The phenomenon is attracting a strange brew of not just artists and collectors, but also speculators looking to get rich off the latest fad.

Beeple, The First Emoji. Part of the $69.3 million Everydays.

A bubble it may be. But many digital artists, fed up after years of creating content that generates visits and engagement on Big Tech platforms like Facebook and Instagram while getting almost nothing in return, have lunged headlong into the craze. These artists of all kinds—authors, musicians, filmmakers—envision a future in which NFTs transform both their creative process and how the world values art, now that it’s possible to truly “own” and sell digital art for the first time. “You will have so many people from different backgrounds and genres coming in to share their art, connect with people and potentially build a career,” Boykins says. “Artists put so much of their time—and themselves—into their work. To see them compensated on an appropriate scale, it’s really comforting.” Technologists, meanwhile, say NFTs are the latest step toward a long-promised blockchain revolution that could radically transform consumer capitalism, with major implications for everything from home loans to health care.

Read more: TIME releases 3 special edition NFT magazine covers for auction

Digital art has long been undervalued, in large part because it’s so freely available. To help artists create financial value for their work, NFTs add the crucial ingredient of scarcity. For some collectors, if they know the original version of something exists, they’re more likely to crave the “authentic” piece. Scarcity explains why baseball-card collectors, for example, are willing to pay $3.12 million for a piece of cardboard with a picture of Honus Wagner, a legendary Pittsburgh Pirate. It’s also why sneakerheads obsess over the latest limited-edition drops from Nike and Adidas, and why “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli bought the sole copy of Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin for $2 million in 2015.

But baseball cards, sneakers and that Wu-Tang CD all exist in the physical space, so it’s easier to understand why they’re worth something. It can be harder to understand why digital art, or any other digital file, has value.

Some digital-art collectors say they’re paying not just for pixels but also for digital artists’ labor–in part, the movement is an effort to economically legitimize an emerging art form. “I want you to go on my collection and be like, ‘Oh, these are all unique things that stand out,'” says Shaylin Wallace, a 22-year-old NFT artist and collector. “The artist put so much work into it–and it was sold for the price that it deserved.” The movement is also taking shape after many of us have spent most of the past year online. If nearly your whole world is virtual, it makes sense to spend money on virtual stuff.

BLACKSNEAKERS, Holding Up The Sun. Sold for: $7,088

The groundwork for the digital-art boom was laid in 2017 with the launch of CryptoKitties—think digital Beanie Babies. Fans have spent more than $32 million collecting, trading and breeding these images of wide-eyed one-of-a-kind cartoon cats. Video gamers, meanwhile, have been pouring cash into cosmetic upgrades for their avatars—Fortnite players spent an average of $82 on in-game content in 2019—further mainstreaming the idea of spending real-world money on digital goods. At the same time, cryptocurrencies have been booming in value, fueled in part by celebrity enthusiasts like Elon Musk and Mark Cuban. Bitcoin, for instance, is up more than 1,000% over the past year, and anything remotely crypto-adjacent—including NFTs—is getting swept up in that mania.

Sensing an opportunity, tech entrepreneurs and brothers Duncan and Griffin Cock Foster last March launched an NFT art marketplace called Nifty Gateway. At the time, NFT art was just heating up in some circles, but it was difficult for newbies to buy, sell and trade pieces. Nifty Gateway prioritized accessibility and usability, helping fuel wider adoption. “It was such an early stage, we didn’t have many expectations about how it would turn out,” Duncan Cock Foster says. But Nifty Gateway users ended up buying and selling more than $100 million worth of art during its first year. Similar platforms, like SuperRare, OpenSea and MakersPlace, have seen similar surges; they typically pocket 10% to 15% of initial sales.

Big businesses and celebrities are getting in on the action: NBA Top Shot, the National Basketball Association’s official platform to buy and sell NFT-based highlights (packaged like digital trading cards), has racked up over $390 million in sales since its October launch, according to parent company Dapper Labs. Football star Rob Gronkowski has sold NFT trading cards of Super Bowl highlights for over $1.6 million; rock band Kings of Leon made over $2 million by selling NFT music. Twitter founder Jack Dorsey put his first-ever tweet up for auction as an NFT, and it’s expected to sell for at least $2.5 million. The past few months have been a feeding frenzy, with new highs almost daily. Perhaps Beeple put it best after his record-setting auction: “I’m pretty f-cking overwhelmed right now,” he told fans and collaborators gathered on chat app Clubhouse.

So-called whales are making the biggest deals in the NFT art world. These deep-pocketed investors and cryptocurrency evangelists stand to benefit financially from hyping anything remotely related to crypto. “A Winklevoss spending 700 grand on a Beeple or whatever is very much marketing spend for an idea that they are heavily invested in,” the technologist and artist Mat Dryhurst says, referring to Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, two well-known cryptocurrency bulls who bought Nifty Gateway in late 2019 for an undisclosed amount.

Pak, METANOIA. Not listed for sale.

One of those whales is Daniel Maegaard, an Australian crypto trader who made much of what he claims is a $15 million-plus fortune when Bitcoin exploded in value in 2017. Maegaard has bought and sold millions of dollars worth of digital art and other NFT-based goods, like a $1.5 million parcel of land in Axie Infinity, a virtual universe. While Maegaard initially saw NFTs as a means of adding to his wealth, he’s become a true fan of the work, proudly displaying his collection online and excitedly sharing news of new purchases and sales with his followers. He’s particularly attached to a piece called CryptoPunk 8348, an image of a pixelated man who looks vaguely like Breaking Bad’s Walter White. Maegaard, who uses the work as his social media avatar, recently declined a $1 million offer for the piece. “People almost now tie that character to me,” he says. “It’s almost like I’d be selling a part of myself if I ever sold him.”

But even investors who see NFT art solely as an asset to be bought low and sold high are putting money into artists’ pockets. Andrew Benson, a Los Angeles-based artist, has been experimenting with psychedelic, glitchy digital video work for years. He’s landed his work in museums and galleries, but he’s long held a day job at a software company and taken on commission work for musicians like M.I.A. and Aphex Twin to support himself. “For a long time, my perspective has been that the best way to survive as an artist is to not have to survive as an artist,” Benson says.

A year and a half ago, when his plans to exhibit a new series of videos fell through, Benson was plagued with doubt about his future in the art world. “I was thinking, Do I even want to go through the trouble of trying to do this kind of work and finding places to show it?” he recalls. Then, in January, a friend who works at an NFT platform called Foundation asked Benson to submit a piece. Benson didn’t think much of it, but sent over a video that otherwise “would have gone on a website or something,” he says. The piece—which looks something like a kinetic, colorful Rorschach—sold within 10 days for $1,250. Since then, Benson has sold 10 more works in the same price range. He’s now pondering a future in which he could sustain himself entirely through his art. “It really kind of shook my worldview, actually,” he says. “Seeing this work find a context and a place where it matters makes me want to think like an artist more.”

Many other artists working in groundbreaking and sometimes controversial styles are also receiving unprecedented interest from NFT collectors. Art with whirling 3-D renderings, street-style oversaturated color schemes, and hyper-referential (and often crass) cartoons are thriving. These Internet-fueled aesthetics are grabbing the attention of both a younger generation raised on Instagram and a rabble-rousing crypto clientele. “The street art and countercultural styles are being used to reinforce the impression most finance-crypto people have that they are the ‘punks’ in the broader tech and finance world,” Dryhurst says.

Andrew Benson, Active Gestures 10. Sold for: $3,049

These developments have left many in the conventional art world agape. “You have a lot of traditional collectors who look at the NFT space and they can’t plug it into any acceptable system of belief,” says Wendy Cromwell, a New York-based art adviser. “We’re at a real inflection point: a lot of the deeply experienced people in the art world are older and don’t have the interest or mental bandwidth to parse the language of the Internet.” Following Christie’s Beeple sale, however, rival auction house Sotheby’s quickly announced its own partnership with NFT artist Pak, showing that even if art powerhouses might not understand the genre, they understand its financial potential.

With or without the establishment’s support, a new wave of digital artists is banding together in tight-knit NFT communities, echoing past generations of artists across disciplines and genres hanging out and influencing one another’s thinking, approach and output. “There is a huge ethic of generosity happening in the space,” Benson says. “Typically in the worlds of independent music or fine art, there is a sense that one person is going to make it out of a scene. With this, there’s a feeling of abundance where it really does seem like everyone could benefit.”

In some cases, the whales and minnows are swimming in tandem. The buyer of the $69 million Beeple piece turned out to be a collector group called Metapurse, two anonymous Singapore-based investors who have been experimenting with tech-driven collective-ownership models. In January, the duo bought 20 Beeple artworks, placed them in a virtual museum that can be visited for free, and then fractionalized their new enterprise into tokens which are now co-owned by 5,400 people. Their value has since increased sixfold as of March 16. The duo is considering a similar move with their latest headline-grabbing purchase, which they hope to display in a cutting-edge virtual museum. The idea, says Metapurse co-partner Twobadour, is to “open up both the experience of art and its ownership to everybody.”

Shaylin Wallace, Stellar Goddess. Current bid: $2,647

Even as artists, collectors and speculators benefit from the NFT craze, the phenomenon is not without its dark side. The barriers to entry—it costs money and requires tech savvy to sell an NFT—could prevent some creators from joining in on the action. Many are concerned that young artists of color in particular will be left out, as they have long been marginalized in the “traditional” art world. Legal experts are scrambling to determine how existing copyright laws will interact with this new technology, as some artists have had their work copied and sold as an NFT without their permission. “It’s providing another platform YTD 6.9.11 Crack product key - Crack Key For U people to take advantage of other people’s work,” says artist Connor Bell, whose work was plagiarized and posted on an NFT marketplace.

Then there are the environmental concerns. Creating NFTs requires an enormous amount of raw computing power, and many of the server farms where that work happens are powered by fossil fuels. “The environmental impact of blockchain is a huge problem,” says Amy Whitaker, an assistant professor of visual arts administration at New York University, though some cryptocurrency advocates argue these fears are overblown.

Read more: Digital NFT Art Is Booming—But at What Cost?

Theoretically, climate-minded artists could move to some alternative blockchain platform with less environmental impact. They’re already finding ways to bend NFT technology in other beneficial ways. Some, for instance, are setting up their tokens so they’re compensated every time their work is resold, like an actor getting a royalty check when their show airs as a rerun. Taiwanese tech startup Bitmark has started an NFT-like program to give rights and royalties to music producers around the world. And artists who join NFT-based social media sites, like Friends With Benefits, receive fractional ownership in the platform and can receive direct compensation for the work they create through the network, in sharp contrast to existing tech giants like Facebook and Instagram.

For technology evangelists, meanwhile, the NFT frenzy is just more evidence of their long-held beliefs that cryptocurrency, and blockchain platforms more broadly, has the power to change the world in profound ways. Blockchain technology has already been implemented in attempts to make voting more secure in Utah, combat insurance fraud at Nationwide Insurance, and secure the medical data of several U.S. health care companies. Advocates say it could also help companies ensure transparency in their supply chains, streamline mutual aid efforts and reduce biases in historically racist loan-application processes.

“The potential societal impact … is so important that we should do everything in our power to make it manageable, environmentally and otherwise,” Whitaker says. “New idealistic technologies are always really imperfect in their rollout: they can have a speculative boom, and people can misuse them in unsavory ways,” she adds. “I try to stay centered on what’s possible.”

—With reporting by Julia Zorthian

This appears in the March 29, 2021 issue of TIME.

More Must-Read Stories From TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com.

Источник: https://time.com/5947720/nft-art/
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Future of Video Games: Trends, Technology, and Types


Table of Contents

  1. Types of Video Games
  2. Video Game Graphics Design
  3. The Video Game Development Process
  4. Gaming Industry Trends Driving Innovation
  5. AI in Video Games
  6. VR in Video Games
  7. What Will Shape the Future of Video Games?

A game controller, a VR headset, a smartphone, and a handheld game

The future of video games is bright, with billions of gamers worldwide and revenues in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Some key statistics:

As the gaming industry evolves, companies such as Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft continue to advance innovation in the game console space. The market has attracted tech giants such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google, all with gaming products of their own and offerings that extend gaming to the cloud.

Understanding the industry’s history can help offer a glimpse into the future of video games. This brief timeline of the evolution of video games spans from their origin in the 1970s to the present:

  • 1970s: Home and arcade gaming grew in popularity. The decade’s hits included Atari’s arcade game Pong, computer game The Oregon Trail (developed by the Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium), the Atari Video Computer System, and arcade game Space Invaders (made by Taito).
  • 1980s: The video game market boomed in the ’80s, starting with the arcade game Pac-Man (Namco), quickly followed by Nintendo’s Donkey Kong, which introduced Jumpman, known today as Mario. Nintendo dominated the rest of the decade, debuting its Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1985, the role-playing game Legend of Zelda in 1987, and the handheld Game Boy in 1989.
  • 1990s: Microsoft included Solitaire with Windows 3.0, introducing gaming to millions. Sonic the Hedgehog and the Sega Genesis game console dominated the early to mid-’90s before Sony released its PlayStation in the U.S. market. The decade introduced Mortal Kombat (Midway Games), which brought video game violence to the U.S. Senate’s attention, resulting in hearings.
  • 2000s: The Sims, a life simulator game made by Electronic Arts (EA), kicked off the decade. In 2001, Microsoft entered the game console market with Xbox, and in 2005, the software giant became a major player with the Xbox 360. Nintendo maintained dominance in the handheld market with the Nintendo DS, introduced in 2004. The company then introduced the Nintendo Wii, which included motion sensors. Games such as Rock Band and World of Warcraft were among the most popular. FarmVille and Angry Birds, both mobile games, also stirred up the market.
  • 2010s: The popularity of mobile games grew, thanks to the rise of smartphones. Games such as Minecraft, created by independent developers, and Pokémon Go, which laid the foundation for augmented reality (AR) in video games, transformed the video game market. Nintendo responded with the Switch in 2017, allowing players to take the same games they play on their home TV screens with them anywhere they go. Sony dominated the 2010s with its best-selling PlayStation 4 game console, surpassing all other game console developers in the decade. In 2018, Fortnite, an online cross-platform battle game, earned $2.4 billion.

Today, technologies such as AR, virtual reality (VR), and 3D graphics and trends such as streaming services and mobile gaming continue to transform the future of video games. Other drivers include innovative game consoles, mobile devices, and technologies such as facial and voice recognition, gesture control, high-definition displays, and wearable tech.

Types of Video Games

Video games are typically categorized by type, or genre, depending on how players interact with them. Below are six popular types of video games:

1. Action Games

“Action” is a broad term referring to games that require high reaction speed and strong hand-eye coordination. The player is often under time pressure to overcome physical challenges, including combat, while partaking in activities such as solving puzzles.

Popular subgenres of action games include fighting, first-person shooter (FPS), and survival. Early action titles include the Super Mario Bros. series. More recent action series include Assassin’s Creed, Resident Evil, and Saints Row.

  • Fighting: Close combat between two or more characters or groups. Titles: Street Fighter IV, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Tekken 7, Virtua Fighter 4, Soulcalibur VI.
  • First-person shooter: Weapon-based battle from a first-person point of view. Titles: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Halo 5: Guardians, Wolfenstein II: A New Colossus.
  • Survival: Gathering of tools, weapons, and other resources to survive in various environments. Titles: DayZ, Subnautica, The Forest.

2. Idle Games

Idle games, also called incremental games, require little to no interaction. Players progress through basic actions, such as clicking, to receive rewards. Rewards can come in the form of in-game currency or opportunities to build upon their success.

For example, players of AdVenture Capitalist start with a lemonade stand, but over time, through minimal actions, they can grow their business into a thriving, lucrative enterprise. Titles: Realm Grinder, Cookie Clicker, Clicker Heroes, Idle Miner Tycoon, Plantera.

A list of six popular game genres

Game genres in high demand include action games, idle games, role-playing games (RPGs), simulation games, sports games, and strategy games.

Back To Top

3. Role-Playing Games

Role-playing games (RPGs) often allow players to create customized characters who represent them in a fictional space. The player inhabits the character to interact with companions and others in the game and makes decisions that can lead to rewards such as skill points and inventory. The key characteristics of RPGs include combat, a developing storyline, exploration and discovery, and choices and consequences.

An early example of an RPG is 1987’s Dungeon Master. More recent popular RPGs include Final Fantasy XV, Pokémon Yellow, and World of Warcraft. Popular subgenres of RPGs include massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) and sandbox RPGs:

  • Massively multiplayer online role-playing games: Large numbers of players in perpetual online worlds play MMORPGs. Titles: EverQuest, Guild Wars 2, RuneScape, The Elder Smadav pro free download Online, Star Trek Online.
  • Sandbox RPGs: Game play in sandbox RPGs is open-ended, allowing gamers to roam a virtual world at will and make changes without much limitation. Titles: Astroneer, Minecraft, Roblox, Surviving Mars, The Video Game Genres That Are Currently Thriving Latest Information 2021 [2021] of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

4. Simulation Games

Simulation games, also known as sims, are played in a simulated real-world or fictional experience. Examples of real-life experience sims include flying a fighter plane, cooking like a chef, or driving a truck. A fictional sim might involve taking part in a historical event or living life as an animal. Sims offer gamers authenticity and entertainment at the same time.

Popular subgenres of simulation games include the following:

  • Life: Players control the daily lives of virtual characters in real-world and fictional settings. Titles: Animal Crossing: New Horizon, The Sims 4, Second Life.
  • City building: Players plan, build, and lead a city, town, or world. Titles: Aven Colony, Frostpunk, Jurassic World Evolution, Skylines, Surviving Mars.
  • Flight: Users get an in-the-cockpit experience. Titles: Kerbal Space Program, Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, X-Plane 11.
  • Vehicle: Players get behind the wheel. Titles: American EM Client Pro Free Download Simulator, F1 2020, SnowRunner.
  • War: From strategy to making life-defining decisions, a simulated experience of war. Titles: Brothers in Arms, World of Tanks, World of Warships.

5. Sports Games

Sports games simulate real-world sports, such as soccer, basketball, boxing, or football. Some sports games aim to realistically depict game elements, including physics laws. So-called arcade sports games are less concerned with accuracy and include impossible physics and unrealistic settings. Others include elements such as franchise management and player development.

Popular subgenres of sports games include the following:

  • Racing games: Users compete on simulated raceways. Titles: Need for Speed Heat, iRacing, Forza Horizon 4, Asphalt 9: Legends.
  • Pro sports: Users manage teams, make trades, and play as their favorite athletes. Titles: ESPN NFL 2K5, NBA 2K11, FIFA 13, the Madden NFL series, PGA Tour 2K21.
  • Arcade sports: Taking sports to unrealistic — and entertaining — extremes. Titles: Mario Tennis 64, Rocket League, Windjammers 2.
  • Extreme sports: Users play virtual sports that involve a high degree of difficulty and risk. Titles: BMX The Game, Riders Republic, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2.

6. Strategy Games

Strategy games allow players to make important gameplay decisions that determine the result. Thinking, skillful planning, and managing resources are essential to success. Themes often include military scenarios in which players plan battles, gather essential resources, build bases, and recruit and train troops. In peacetime strategy games, a player may have to make important decisions to hunt down treasure or save humanity from impending doom.

Popular subgenres include the following:

  • Multiplayer online battle arena: MOBA games involve two teams competing against each other in a predefined environment. Titles: Heroes of the Storm, League of Legends, Smite, Strife.
  • Real-time strategy: RTS games involve fast, strategic decisions to defeat an opponent against a ticking clock. Titles: Age of Empires 2, Command & Conquer, Company of Heroes, Rise of Nations, StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty.

Resources: Video Game Genres

The evolution of video games has led to a range of genres and subgenres.

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Video Game Graphics Design

Video game graphics have come a long way. The limited processing power of first-generation home consoles, such as the Atari 2600, only allowed for simplistic graphics. Arcade games, such as Space Invaders — an FPS in which the player defends the planet from pixelated spaceships — bolstered the popularity of gaming worldwide, and game developers sought new ways to cash in.

As bit technology advanced, video games transformed to include better graphics and more complex features in the decades that led to the modern era of 3D graphics.

Graphics Evolve from 8 Bit to 64 Bit

In 8-bit games, each pixel consists of 8 bits (1 byte) of image information in a computer’s memory. Early video games only offered a maximum of 256 colors and resolution of 8-bit graphics, limiting the ability of game developers to simulate realistic visuals.

As hardware and software evolved, games incorporated 16-bit graphics that offered 65,536 colors, resulting in the massive popularity of Nintendo’s Super NES and its catalog of 16-bit video games.

The introduction of 32-bit graphics allowed for 16,777,215 colors. Using strategic placement and integration of 2D bitmaps called sprites to create the visual effect of 3D, the Sony PlayStation became the most popular console of the era.

The Nintendo 64, which used 64-bit technology to create even more realistic 3D images, enabled higher color depth and advanced visuals, such as gradients and transparencies, but also required more processing power and memory. The advantages of 64-bit technology offered improved ability and speed in processing high-end graphics.

3D Graphics

The progression of bit technology ultimately led to the development of true 3D graphics. Throughout much of video game history, game developers used 2D technology to achieve a 3D effect. The 1996 release of Video Game Genres That Are Currently Thriving Latest Information 2021 [2021] Software’s 3D polygonal graphics engine for its game Quake marked the beginning of a new era in gaming: true 3D. 3D graphics allow games to operate in three dimensions, simulating the natural movement of characters and objects. Since Quake, 3D gaming innovation continues to evolve.

Resources: Video Game Graphics Design

These resources provide information and insights on the evolution of gaming and graphics over the decades.

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The Video Game Development Process

Whether it’s a triple-A title with a massive production and marketing budget or an indie game with a tiny development team, a lot goes into developing a video game. The process involves working with various artistic media — music, art, animation, video — programming, and marketing. The following key steps make up the development process.

Idea/Core Concept

A game’s vision is born in the idea stage. Developers determine the type of game it will be, imagine the storylines of heroes and protagonists, establish game play principles, and develop themes and environments. Bringing an idea to fruition requires a proof of concept, a process that gathers ideas from various stakeholders to determine the feasibility of producing a viable game. At this stage, development teams address the cost, timeline, and technical capabilities and set expectations.

Market Analysis

The FPS game Duke Nukem Forever spent 15 years in development, but all that time and effort didn’t translate into critical or financial success. Most games don’t take that long, but game development is a resource-intensive and costly process, and an expensive game that fares poorly costs developers time and money.

Market analysis helps determine if a game will sell and identifies the audience’s desires. During this stage, game developers examine gaming trends, follow fan sites, and may interview or poll gamers regarding what they’re looking for in a game.

Preproduction

Market analysis provides useful information about what features players want to see, paving the way for preproduction. During the preproduction stage, designers, developers, writers, and programmers work together to outline game mechanics, create prototypes, set project deadlines, create documentation, and develop a test plan. The development team brainstorms story and character ideas and determines the elements of game play.

Production

Because so many pieces are involved, production can take years to complete. During the production stage, the development team executes the elements established in preproduction: user interface, characters, audio, storylines, and programming. After months or even years of work, some aspects of the game may be changed or scrapped for various reasons, such as cost overruns, design changes, limited resources, or poorly received demos.

Testing

Before releasing a scanner with pdf, developers work to ensure that it functions correctly. Quality assurance (QA) testers identify bugs, looking for vulnerabilities or broken features, such as characters walking through walls.

The testing phase also determines whether the game’s progression works, also known as flow analysis. Does the story match the player’s journey? Answering this question can help improve the game. Sometimes, game developers release an alpha version to a very limited audience, widening the pool of users reporting bugs and suggesting possible enhancements.

Launch

After fixing bugs and implementing feedback, game developers take the next step: releasing a formal beta version as part of a prelaunch. The beta phase opens up the game to a wider audience, spreading the word about a game and appealing to influential users for their opinions and feedback.

After the beta phase, developers incorporate final changes and continue to address bugs before finalizing a launch version that can be sent to factories to produce physical media or released online. The final key step of launching a game is marketing, including advertising, promotional activities, and sometimes playable demos of certain levels.

Postlaunch

The postlaunch phase involves assessing the launch’s success and identifying ways to improve the game. Postlaunch work can include providing regular software updates, refreshing content, adding new features, and fixing bugs through patches.

Resources: Video Game Development

These resources can provide additional context and information on the video game development process.

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Gaming Industry Trends Driving Innovation

From triple-A big budget titles to crowdfunded indie games, successful developers follow trends to learn what audiences are looking for and anticipate future video game development trends. Below are six gaming industry trends worth noting:

1. Cloud Gaming and Streaming

Increased smartphone use, faster Wi-Fi and internet service, more reliable mobile networks, and larger hardware storage capacities in mobile devices have been primary drivers of people’s consumption of more digital content. Typically, users download games to their devices.

With an internet connection, gamers can then interact with others anywhere in the world as they play, but the games are still running locally from their devices. Over time, this can impact the performance of a player’s device. With cloud gaming and streaming, users play games from their devices, but the games actually live somewhere else, such as in a data center.

2. Digital Distribution

Companies such as Netflix and Amazon have upended the home video market, and the video game industry is headed in the same direction. While game revenues are up, brick-and-mortar video game stores are in decline, thanks to lower sales of physical games.

Digital distribution of games via services such as Steam complements the marketing strategies of publishers, allowing companies to deliver continuous messages to users, consistently introducing new features, updates, and games.

A list of current gaming trends

Six video game trends transforming the industry include cloud gaming and streaming, digital distribution, business models such as free to play, increased diversity and audience, mobile gaming, and next-generation consoles.

 

3. New Business Models

Business models making their mark on the industry include free to play and gaming as a service (GaaS). The free-to-play model allows players to play games for no initial charge. The games, typically available on mobile devices and gaming PCs, then introduce opportunities for monetization. For example, players can purchase credits to remove ads, interact with other gamers, or get unobstructed play.

GaaS is primarily a subscription-based, on-demand streaming service that enables users to play games on the hosting servers of a video game publisher. GaaS, combined with additional monetization opportunities, helps expand a game’s lifespan over the long term.

4. Increased Diversity

The idea that gamers are strictly young males is a myth. According to Gamify, 17% of men and 10% of women ages 18-35 in the U.S. play video games. Among those 50 and older, 13% of both men and women play. Additionally, with the rise of cloud gaming and similar trends, the video game market continues to become more diverse. For example, users with lower income can participate without buying high-end gaming PCs or consoles, according to a Deloitte Insights report.

5. Mobile Gaming

Mobile is becoming the go-to platform for consumers looking for new ways to stay entertained. With more than 2 billion people worldwide playing mobile games, according to Deloitte, mobile is the largest driver of growth in the video game industry. Amid COVID-19 lockdowns, mobile gaming surged because it offered users increased accessibility to video games. The mobile game user population in the U.S. and Canada has increased by 12% since 2019, according to a Deconstructing Mobile & Tablet Gaming report.

6. Next-Generation Consoles

Gaming has reached a lot of new audiences, thanks to trends such as mobile game users, distribution digital models, and cloud gaming. In response, the primary game console manufacturers have embraced that change by introducing next-generation consoles that enable players to use physical and digital games. For example, Xbox Series X provides subscribers with access to a constantly updated library of hundreds of games. With state-of-the-art graphics, lightning-fast load times, and easy access to new games, next-generation consoles will continue to push the envelope in the video game industry.

Resources: Gaming Industry Trends

Find additional information about the coming developments in the video game industry.

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AI in Video Games

Artificial intelligence (AI) describes computer algorithms that allow machines to think and learn like humans. In video games, AI can teach itself to be unpredictable in the way that a human player would, finding ways to outsmart human users.

AI may also deliver benefits in the game development process. Game developers are experimenting with using AI to create games that evolve automatically based on player feedback. For example, an AI algorithm can respond to a player’s choices to quickly and automatically develop new challenges, characters, worlds, and elements in a game, creating levels and challenges for players to explore.

Resources: AI in Video Games

These resources offer additional information about AI’s role in video games.

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VR in Video Games

The terms AR and VR are often used interchangeably, but they offer different experiences. VR games immerse players in worlds created by software using hardware such as headsets from Magoshare data recovery for android, HTC, Google, PlayStation, and Facebook. AR games add a digital layer to the real world, superimposing video and graphics on top of reality.

Top VR games available today include the following:

  • Beat Saber: Music-based movement/dance game
  • Catan VR: Video board game
  • Falcon Age: Adventure game
  • Superhot VR: First-person shooter
  • Skyrim VR: Adventure game
  • WipEout Omega Collection: Futuristic racing experience

The future of VR is promising. An area of potential growth is education. Some medical schools, for example, already use high-quality VR applications to help students immerse themselves in simulated surgical experiences without risk of life.

While VR is relatively new — the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation’s PSVR all launched in 2016 — it’s already resurrected a classic video game experience: going to the arcade. VR arcades give players room to play without harming themselves and turn gaming into a social affair. While VR arcade locations had been popping up across the U.S., pandemic lockdowns have affected expansion.

Resources: VR in Video Games

Learn more about VR in video games, gaming technology, trends, and predictions for the future.

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What Will Shape the Future of Video Games?

The gaming industry has progressed rapidly in the past few decades. Thanks to technological advancements such as 3D graphics, VR, and AI, video games are continuously evolving. As developers introduce new innovations, players will discover more realistic, fully immersive simulations on screens and lenses and will be able to connect further with others. The future of video games will be shaped by our desire to create awe-inspiring experiences and increase our opportunities for social interaction and engagement.

Infographic Sources

Exploding Topics, “7 Huge Gaming Industry Trends For 2021”

Game Luster, “What Are the Most Popular Video Game Genres in 2020”

Gaming Shift, “Top 5 Most Popular Mobile Game Genres”

Hacker Noon, “Video Game Genres”

IGN, “The Games Industry on the Biggest Changes in the Last Decade”

Investopedia, “How the Video Game Industry Is Changing”

Perforce, “What’s the Future of Game Development? Trends & More”

Think with Google, “6 Key Marketing Trends Changing the Gaming Industry”

Источник: https://online.maryville.edu/blog/future-of-video-games/

How to price your game and thrive during Steam sales

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If you're an independent developer who prefers a premium business model, there's an excellent chance that your business is built around Steam.

Our GamesIndustry.biz Academy guides to Steam tackle every aspect of publishing on Valve's platform, from pre-launch to later periods of your release cycle, direct from developers and Valve itself. You can read them all on this page.

How to price your game and how to approach sales on Steam are two closely related topics. As a game studio publishing on Valve's platform, a large portion of your revenue is going to be made through discounts. Such a big portion in fact, that your game should be priced specifically with this in mind.

"The Steam seasonal sales are the things which get PC players excited"

Simon Byron, Curve Digital

Here, we'll explore the link between price and discounts, as well as everything you should take into account when you decide how much your game is worth on Steam. We'll also look into the strategies you can apply when Steam's famous big sales are around, as well as how to approach discounts in general.

"Without doubt, the Steam seasonal sales are the things which get PC players excited -- you only need to look at the feverish activity if a sale date leaks," says Simon Byron, publishing director at Curve Digital. "But the store does give huge flexibility to provide 'self-service' discounts outside of these, and they can be valuable when they are well timed."

The banner for the Steam Autumn Sale 2019

The banner for the Steam Autumn Sale 2019

Valve's Tom Giardino points out that big events such as the Steam Summer and Winter Sales are valuable to players and developers in multiple ways.

"Players congregate and re-engage with friends on Steam," he says. "Developers get their games in front of gamers actively shopping for deals. And these big events generate millions of first-time customers.

"There is no single correct discounting strategy"

Tom Giardino, Valve

"There is no single 'correct' discounting strategy. Developers make all the pricing decisions on Steam, and we have seen them achieve success with wildly different strategies. Some very successful games on Steam have never even run a discount. Others have found success via more aggressive, early price reductions. For a developer's own decision making, we recommend thinking about discounts as one of many tools to bring in new players.

"One thing we see every year, which often confounds press and publishers, is popular full-price games holding their own on the Top Sellers list during a big sale event. Price cutting isn't a prerequisite or guarantee of success. It's cliché but true that building and supporting a great game is going to be a lot more important than the decision to offer 20% versus 25% off during a sale."

But before we dive in these different strategies and opportunities, Byron prefaces the discussion with one golden rule when it comes to Steam seasonal sales.

"The biggest implication generally for Steam sales is not to launch a new game anywhere remotely close to them -- sales dive a couple of weeks before and after as consumers mentally prepare to empty their wallets when the sale starts."

Don't forget that if you have any practical questions about pricing or sales, you'll find most of the answers on Steamworks, which is also where you can manage your own Steam discounts when they happen.

How to choose a price for your game on Steam

  • Your price is higher than you think

Knowing how to price your game for Steam, especially as a new developer, can be an ordeal. Even having spent years on a game, many young developers tend to believe their product should be cheap. And that's a mistake. The answer to the question: 'how to price my game' is: higher than you think, No More Robots' founder Mike Rose believes.

"A lot of people just price their games too low," he says. "I've always thought [Lucas Pope] priced Papers, Please way too low. $10 is absolutely ridiculous for a game [like that] -- that game is a $20 game."

Michael Schade, CEO of Everspace developer Rockfish Games, agrees that your price has to be as high as possible.

"If nobody complains about your price, you're too cheap"

Michael Schade, Rockfish

"If nobody complains about your price, you're too cheap. Instead of binge watching Netflix, watch every talk from Simon Sinek -- this will help you to understand how to sell your product, and how you build a successful business in the long-term.

"What I learned from him is something called the diffusion of innovation. Basically, he says that every product, in every market, is a bell curve. You have your early adopters, the early majority, and the late comers. And it doesn't make sense to use the same kind of marketing, the same message to sell to everybody. Especially not at the same time.

"You need to address your marketing to the [early adopters]. Especially as an indie. Then [the early majority] will buy your game when others buy it and tell them about it. So when the game comes out, the price, to a certain degree, doesn't matter. It's gonna be your biggest fans who buy the game, support you, and they don't care if it's $15, $20 or maybe even $25."

  • Take Steam sales into account

The main reason your price should be high, especially on Steam, is that sales are going to be important for driving revenue after launch, and if your game is priced extremely low you're going to make less money once a discount has been applied.

"Even before you launch a game you need to think about the promotional spikes which form part of the natural sales cycle, and what your players will be paying at key discounts," Byron says.

"While protecting price is important, the truth is that shallow discounts after launch tend not to move the needle much, so in order to convert some of the post-release wishlists into sales you will usually need to be at least 33% off, with 50% proving a genuine tipping point. With that in mind, your full suggested retail price will need to take into account these discounted sales, so do price that in at the start."

Curve Digital's Embr released on Steam at the end of May

Curve Digital's Embr released on Steam at the end of May

Rose points out that if you put your game at $10 rather than $20, you will indeed certainly sell more units. But that shouldn't be your focus.

"What you're doing there is focusing on the short-term rather than the long-term, because in a year's time when you're doing 40% off sales, your game at that point will be $6, which once it actually gets through to your bank account is $3 a copy.

"People focus too much on unit sales rather than the money they're making"

Mike Rose, No More Robots

"Whereas, if your game is $20, you're making more like $8 a copy by the time it gets through to you. It just makes a massive difference. I think people focus too much on unit sales rather than the money they're making. It's easier to sell a bunch of copies on Steam at a lower price point, but a lot of time, it really doesn't work out in the long term. I see people selling their game for $5 and they get tens of thousands of sales and that's amazing, but then when you actually work out the numbers, they barely made anything because the price was so low."

Rose addressed this issue and related topics more in-depth in a report he published last year, entitled "How well are PC games selling in 2019?"

Going back to his diffusion of innovation concept, Schade explains that the late majority only buys your game when it's on a discount or in a bundle, which is why pricing needs to be taking these aspects into account from the get go. He shares the lifetime sales trajectory of Everspace, showing that the highest sale beats all correspond to a Steam sale.

Everspace's sales beats, courtesy of Rockfish Games

Everspace's sales beats, courtesy of Rockfish Games

"So [No.1] was the Early Access [launch], so it was pretty nice for an indie game. These [smaller beats between No.1 and No.2] are the 20% sales during Early Access. [No.2] is the full release. The biggest revenue by day was [No.5] where we had 67% off, which was $9.99. It was a front page feature, kicking off the Steam Summer Sale. So obviously the lower your price at the beginning, the less money you make while going through these deeper discounts.

"And of course you have to compare to your peer groups, but generally there's a lot of pressure on indies so they are afraid and tend to sell at a low price."

  • Do some research on competitors

As Schade touched upon, comparing your game to your peers is crucial in finding a sweet spot for your price on Steam.

"One mistake some indies make is to price their game based on the amount of effort they have put in," founder of Grey Alien Games Jake Birkett says. "Instead, they should look at prices for comparable games in the same genre and use these as a guide."

"One mistake some indies make is to price their game based on the amount of effort they have put in"

Jake Birkett, Grey Alien Games

Rose adds that the best thing to do is to find games on Steam that are as close to your game as possible.

"The fact is that, if your game does do well, then you are going to be appearing in the 'More like this' section on the bottom of their store pages," he says. "So players are going to be comparing prices there. If all the games that are doing well in a similar genre to your game are $20, then it's fair to say that you can probably charge $20 for your game."

While doing this research, you also need to consider the law of supply and demand, as well as the quality and replayability of your product compared to the competition.

"For me, the most important factors that determine the price is the quality, the demand for the game, as well as the time a player can spend in it and its replayability," says Pawel Miechowski, partnerships manager at 11 bit studios. "If the demand is high, too [high] a price can be tricky and too low won't leave space for proper discounts. I imagine people being suspicious about a $30 indie game but also unconvinced about a $20 AAA game. So the production value is an important factor too."

Grey Alien Games' Shadowhand

Grey Alien Games' Shadowhand

  • Consider which tier your game falls into

Knowing when to cross the $20 barrier on Steam can be difficult. As highlighted by Miechowski, players may be weary of over-priced indies.

"I think once you get over $20, you have to start really thinking about it," Rose says. "$25 only really works if your game has a sort of AA feel to it and is less indie. But I think most titles that class as indie could get away with $20."

The definition of AA is a blurry one to say the least, and chances are you'll know whether you belong to that category quite clearly. But if you don't, Rose shares his perception of what a "AA feel" is.

"I think once you get over $20, you have to start really thinking about it"

Mike Rose, No More Robots

"I like to take a game's trailer and imagine: if this was announced during E3, if this was up on the screen during the Xbox conference, would the average person watching just say the same comments that they would for all the other trailers or would it stick out like a sore thumb? Would people be like: 'Oh what's this indie shit?'

"I think if we put a Descenders trailer out during an E3 conference, that probably wouldn't stick out. It's 3D and I think people would feel like it looked good enough to be in with all the other games there.

"Whereas I think if we put Yes, Your Grace in there, we would get a lot of: 'Oh what's this indie shit' just because of the way it looks, the pixel art. That's why for example we've gone for $20 for Yes, Your Grace. I know that's a very rough definition but that's kind of what I try to imagine."

As a comparison, it's worth mentioning that Descenders had a $24.99 price tag at launch on Steam.

RageSquid and No More Robots' Descenders

RageSquid and No More Robots' Descenders

Byron adds: "There are established tiers like in any entertainment media, so it's all about predicting where your game will end up in terms of quality and playtime and ensuring that the full SRP will leave players feeling satisfied. If you're launching on PC only, you're free to set the price as you like, though games do cluster around the xx.99c mark."

It's worth noting that Steam doesn't have pricing restrictions, but other platforms may have standards to follow, Byron points out. So if you are launching on multiple systems you should work out the final SRP on those you're unable to set freely, and then apply it across all stores.

  • Take your business model into account

Your game's business model needs to be clearly defined before you decide on a price for your game on Steam.

"It's best to make pricing and discount decisions while keeping the long term perception of the product in mind"

Tom Giardino, Valve

"Before making any pricing decision, it's good to look ahead and map out all known product releases, updates, and other events, and then try to find opportunities to tie those into a discount or sale," Giardino says. "This is helpful for a few reasons. First, the goals and overall business model is a huge factor when making judgment calls such as pricing and discounts. For instance, a game that offers micro-transactions or DLC might benefit more from an influx of new players with a lower initial price (or no initial price).

"For traditionally priced games, there is always the challenge of marketing after the 'honeymoon of launch' wears off. Discounts can be helpful, but there's no shortage of discounted or free products available.

"Managing the 'horizon' of your product is worth keeping in mind. In just about every case, it's best to make pricing and discount decisions while keeping the customer and the long term perception of the product in mind."

  • Consider localised prices

The GamesIndustry.biz Academy already highlighted the importance of localising your store page, but you also need to consider local markets for your price and adapt it accordingly.

"It is important to remember, when you make any sales estimation, that SRP in US dollars is one thing However -- especially on Steam -- you have to remember about regions with localised prices, like China," says Piotr Bajraszewski, senior business development manager at 11 bit studios. "ARPU coming from those regions may be even twice lower than the one from the Western countries."

You can read more pricing tips from Valve on this Steamworks documentation page.

How to make the most out of Steam sales

  • Don't rely exclusively on seasonal sales

Now that you've priced your game sensibly, you can start thinking about the next step: how this price is going to evolve through Steam sales. The first thing to keep in mind is that seasonal sales are not the only option -- themed sales can also represent an opportunity, and you can reach out to Valve directly to make these happen.

"In terms of Steam's big seasonal sales, the process is pretty straightforward - Valve communicates the dates and publishers are free to set their own discounts," Byron says. "The key things to be aware of are 'cooling off' periods between launching a title and price promoting, but these restrictions are clearly outlined in the documentation. There are a number of other sales where the eligibility criteria is more narrow, but, again, Valve will reach out to those who can take part.

"[But] another approach can be to team up with publishers or developers of similar types of games -- in terms of genres, geography, events -- and suggest a themed sale directly to Valve. I've seen the frequency of these increase recently, and they can be a good way to create a 'moment' on store."

Developers can get in touch with Steam to organise themed sales

Developers can get in touch with Steam to organise themed sales

  • Be progressive with your discounts

Once you've settled on participating in a sale on Steam, you need to be careful about how you approach your discount, and not reduce your price drastically, especially soon after launch.

"I'd recommend making small discounts at the beginning [of your game's cycle] and then step by step offer bigger promotions," Miechowski says. "Some customers are impatient and they want to buy the discounted game but won't wait until 50% promotion, so any kind of discount is satisfactory to them. So it's pretty logical to go slowly down with promotion and not shoot the big guns too early."

"I think deep discounting too quickly can really kill a game"

Mike Rose, No More Robots

Rose points out that he's seen publishers discount games up to 40% only three months after launch, which he believes is a bad idea.

"It's good for the short term, because all the people who wishlisted it then are like: 'Holy shit, it's [discounted], let's grab it!' But I think in the long term, it's bad. It devalues your game. All our games are not just drawing sales years after they've come out, they are making a nice chunk of money for each of the devs we've worked with, on a daily basis. Not Tonight's been out for a year and a half now and I think the deepest discount we've done on it is 35%.

"I think deep discounting too quickly can really kill a game. So I would just say, during sales, you want to be thinking: Do I really need to heavily discount this year? We normally will go 10% off at launch and then 15% off in the first big sale."

No More Robots never discounted Not Tonight deeper than 35%

No More Robots never discounted Not Tonight deeper than 35%

Schade says Rockfish also works its way down with its discounts on Steam, as going too quickly doesn't send a good message to the fanbase and closes other doors for you.

"Our first sales [for Everspace] were 20% in the first year, during Early Access. With 20%, your early adopters won't be pissed. As an indie, if you start to discount your game too aggressively too soon, you're going to upset your biggest fans."

Birkett suggests to step down 5% per Steam sale at most, repeating the same discount twice or more, as discounting too much also has an impact on your reviews.

"The danger is that pricing too low will make your Steam user review score go down"

Jake Birkett, Grey Alien Games

"The danger is that pricing too low will make your Steam user review score go down," he says. "These customers are less invested because they paid less and are more likely to leave unfavourable reviews."

Giardino does warn that Valve sees "diminishing returns on the same game running the same discount over and over." So be careful of being too repetitive.

Being featured EZ Game Booster Pro Crack Steam's home page during a sale is a guarantee to boost your sales. The store usually features a couple of titles as part of its daily deals for instance.

"The daily deal means you are featured one or two days," Schade says. "The second day depends on your performance. There's no contract, but if you have a contact [at Valve], they let you know: 'We will feature you on that day.' Then you put all your effort on this one day to drive the numbers really high and, if the numbers are good, you get a second day."

Byron adds that Steam provides developers and publishers with the tools to make their games successful themselves. But some aspects, including being featured on the home page, remain a mystery.

"I wish I understood the criteria with which Valve makes its featuring decisions -- I'd be a very rich man," he says. "But anecdotally, I see Steam choosing to feature games which have previously sold well, have converted their wishlist numbers well, or where there's wider interest being generated which will bring an audience into the store."

If you need advice on how to convert your wishlist numbers, you can read our Academy guide on the topic on this page. Having a Steam page that stands out can also help attract more visitors -- you can read our advice on the topic here.

Byron continues: "The important thing to remember about Steam is that it's a highly dynamic, algorithmic store. Sure, there are sections that are common to all -- top sellers, popular upcoming, etc. -- but the area above the fold can vary immensely user to user. It can make it difficult to see for yourself exactly where [your game] is being featured. So, while being one of the daily deals being highlighted right at the top is very important, you'll also be popping up elsewhere on store throughout the promotional period."

"The important thing to remember about Steam is that it's a highly dynamic, algorithmic store"

Simon Byron, Curve Digital

  • Do discounts at the beginning of the month

You may want to discount your game apart from Valve's big seasonal sales. If you do, keep in mind that discounts will always be more successful at the beginning of the month.

"I usually try to do sales at the beginning of the month simply because people have more money," Schade says. "It is a thing. The effect depends on the time and the competition, but we've seen a difference -- if you do a sale at the beginning of the month compared to the end of the month, [the difference] is roughly 10%."

  • Time your updates around sales

Whether you're planning on releasing a quality of life patch or sizeable DLC, you should plan those launches around Steam's sale periods.

"When you release a new patch or a new content, [it] naturally increases the traffic on the game's page," Birkett says. "It also shows that your game is still being developed and it grows, so these are natural moments for promotions."

Rockfish Games' Everspace

Rockfish Games' Everspace

Byron adds that it also "offers newcomers confidence that they are joining the community of an actively developed and maintained game." Similarly, updating your store page around sales can also be a good idea.

"Refreshing your store art and text around a sale can combat artwork fatigue if you've been out for a while," Byron continues. "You'd be amazed at how much simply changing a base colour can help make your game stand out on the store. Aim for a lighter background colour so it stands out against Steam's dark shop window. "

  • Consider bundling your game

Steam bundles are another way to discount your game that can be very valuable if done correctly.

"Steam is remarkably flexible when it comes to bundles, offering a huge amount of freedom for developers and publishers -- you can even easily team up with other companies to promote similar titles in one package," Byron says. "We've experimented with many types of bundles, and smaller collections work better than bigger ones due to the total cost being lower -- when have you ever, for example, dropped over £100 on a digital collection?

"Complete The Set bundles are interesting -- you can use these effectively as owner discounts, which we do see as valuable. The key thing to remember on Steam is that these bundle discounts stack, so if any of the base games included are on discount, the offering to the consumer is even more appealing."

Steam bundles can be very valuable if done correctly

Steam bundles can be very valuable if done correctly

Bundling as part of a partnership with an external storefront is also worth considering and another reason to avoid discounting too deeply in the first place.

"If you go too aggressively into the high discount numbers, you minimise your chances to be part of a big bundle," Schade says. "Humble Bundle, Fanatical, Chrono GG, and all these others won't take your title if you diluted the value like crazy before. If you ran a couple of 90% sales then why put it in a bundle anymore? That's usually the price that you make in a bundle.

"What you have to do is you need to desync this with your sale because [Valve] wouldn't like it if you have a massive aggressive sale right before you hope to get featured on Steam. Because then it's bad for the Steam consumer. So if you do these super high discounts with Fanatic, Chrono and whatnot, always [do it] after you just did a Steam sale. This is for those guys who missed the Steam sale. It's only a day and it doesn't upset Steam."

"If you go too aggressively, you minimise your chances to be part of a big bundle"

Michael Schade, Rockfish

Once your game has been out for a while, you'll be able to identify a sweet spot in terms of discount, which, taking the base price into consideration, will drive your unit sales without devaluing your title. Usually that sweet spot is somewhere between 70% to 85% off, Schade says.

"There is a sweet spot [before] you lose too much revenue per title -- for Everspace, at a $30 price point, it's around 75 to 80% off. It matters if you go below typical price points like $20 -- $19.99, $9.99 and so on. Because then you might pop up in other categories like 'Games below 10$' or 'Games below $5'."

Players often browse by discounts -- at the time of writing, 'Up to 80%' wasa category on Steam's Special Offers page -- or through the price point categories Schade just highlighted. But be careful: do not apply a drastic discount just to appear in these categories.

"Don't go lower than [85%] off," Schade advises. "We did 85% and now we're going back to 80%. We will most likely never do 85% for the base game [again], because the extra 5% doesn't change that much."

Steam's Summer Sale banner in 2019

Steam's Summer Sale banner in 2019

On top of finding the right discount level for your game, you also need to figure out what is the right rhythm for discounting. Knowing when you should and shouldn't offer your game on sale can be difficult.

"It's a delicate balancing act, but overall, you should discount as often as you are comfortable with," Byron says. "The market is so price sensitive that I believe an active approach to discounting yields the best results. Steam offers a really valuable way to track Wishlist conversions over the lifecycle, even suggesting how your title is converting from Wishlists to sales compared to an 'average' game. This is an enormously valuable piece of data -- if you're not converting as much as the average, then that suggests your discount strategy isn't quite right. Post-launch wishlisters are basically flirting with you, signalling they're interested, but not at the current price.

"Don't be scared of discounts. I do see some publishers and developers being very cautious in terms discounting -- leave it too long and there's a chance that those waiting for the opportunity to buy at a price they deem fair will have lost interest, losing you potential sales."

"Nobody does a better job in promoting your game to people who don't own it yet than Steam"

Michael Schade, Rockfish

To figure things out, whether that's your ideal discount or how often you should be discounting, it's crucial that you monitor your game's performance over time. Keeping track of everything will help you to identify what works best for your specific game.

"It's good to think about the long-term earning potential and price perception of your game when making discount decisions," Giardino says. "Monitoring wishlist conversions during sales and after price reductions is a good way to measure the value of pricing changes."

Schade tracks every single detail related to Everspace, including everything happening on its Steam page during sales, such as traffic, click through rates, impressions, conversions, and so on.

"[Traffic] is categorised by either it's coming directly Uncategorized - Free Activators the Steam home page, which means you were featured, and 'Steam organic', which is when somebody searches for it or you pop up in some [articles] or whatnot," he explains. "Then the second most important thing is obviously the wishlist -- how much traffic is generated by the wishlist also has a big impact. Then I compare this on a year-to-year basis.

"You don't get this kind of data from any other store. Nobody does a better job in promoting, showing your game to people who don't own it yet, than Steam."

You can read all our Steam guides on this page, covering everything you need to know about publishing on Valve's platform, direct from established developers and Valve itself. Our articles about how to make money from video games also cover a wide array of topics, including how to create a successful Patreon or tips from Ian Livingstone to make sure you're investor-ready. You can read all our guides about sellling games on this page.

Источник: https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2020-06-10-how-to-price-your-game-and-thrive-during-steam-sales
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