Universal Music Group (UMG) has struck a deal with Conduit Labs, a startup that creates musical social games, to provide users with access to UMG’s library of licensed music from the record label’s artists such as Lady Gaga, Rihanna and others. The partnership will extend to all 1 million users of Conduit Labs’ games, including Music Pets, Super Dance and Loudcrowd, to access the tracks.
All of Conduit Labs’ games are free-to-play but allow users can purchase virtual items, such as songs, to further personalize their experience. For example, Loudcrowd, which we reported on here, allows users to create their own virtual world with avatars and access music playlists while playing a series of music-themed games with friends. Conduit uses a virtual goods model to sell music within games and songs on the social network range will range from costing nothing to several dollars. Through the agreement, Conduit will share revenue from all sales of UMG’s music with the record label. Users will also be able to purchase separate digital downloads of UMG music and other products. UMG will be offering licensed music from Lady Gaga, Little Wayne, Rihanna, The Killers, Beck, Kanye West, Black Eyed Peas, Weezer, Justin Bieber and several other well-known artists.
Conduit Labs has already partnered with Indie rock record labels including the Beggars Group, DFA, Domino, Downtown Records, and Modular but the UMG deal is fairly huge for the gaming startup. The company, which recently raised another $3 million in funding, is rapidly growing its userbase. Its Facebook game, Music Pets, has already surpassed one million monthly active users less than 30 days after its launch.
And Universal Music has long been a little trigger-happy on the lawsuits against music and video sharing services (MySpace, Veoh and its investors, Grouper / Bolt.com, etc.), so the deal is definitely a win for the young gaming startup.