How we are changing the landscape of online gaming audio, while creating a multi-million dollar business in the process
January 9, 2008
The Short Story of STICKMAN and TRACTION Radio
With Alex fresh off the tour bus from his 12-year stint as Bass Guitarist with multi-platinum rock band, INCUBUS, STICKMAN Entertainment began in the videogame space in 2004 as original music production company. The philosophy was simple: gamers were demanding that audio no longer be an afterthought to the visual medium and STICKMAN had a collective of A-List musicians who were lining up to address their need.
But when Alex teamed with marketer and entrepreneur, Chris Wilkinson, the duo quickly discovered a bigger and better business model. The world’s 100 million online PC gamers were playing an average of 80-120 hours per month and no amount of original music would satisfy those listening times … So what if there were a music network which could stream new music into a videogame environment 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? And what if promotional messages in the form of contests, sweepstakes and give-aways allowed the network to monetize itself without punishing listeners with commercial breaks?
The team discussed the concept with Sony and the management at the gaming social networking site, Xfire, and after an extensive period of research, it was conclusive: 90% of gamers were unhappy with their current in-game audio options and 74% said they would adopt a streaming radio service similar to the one we proposed. Furthermore, the business of in-game advertising and promotions was fast approaching $1 billion annually with few competitors (none in the audio space.)
With that, STICKMAN set out to develop what would be the world’s first in-game radio and promotions network. TRACTION would be a free, third-party application – compatible with 100% of PC games – which allows gamers to choose from a collection of branded game-oriented, music-driven radio stations designed specifically for them. These channels feature today’s hottest music and breaking bands — replacing boring, redundant in-game soundtracks. The interface includes a proprietary media player boasting CD-quality sound at low bit rates and in-game controls. (With advances in technology in the last six months, TRACTION will develop a Flash-based version of the player which may be embedded in social networking pages and leveraged with web-based casual games to further its reach.)
They placed the application into beta test onto 50,000 desktops and the reactions were overwhelmingly positive with gamers heralding it as the “next big thing” in game audio.
STICKMAN assembled a 5-member board of advisors from the technology, gaming, advertising and finance communities, and signed a Letter of Intent for distribution adjacent to a major gaming network (10,000,000+ registered users and counting), and was even nominated for OnMedia’s Top 100 Media and Technology companies for 2008.
Advertisers eager for new and innovative ways of reaching the elusive 12-24 male demographic are paying big bucks to advertise with gaming related media properties. As the TRACTION network creeps closer and closer to a critical mass of listeners – as many as 1-2 million monthly listeners in the next 2 years — they expect a rate card which includes audio promotions at premium CPM’s as high as $30-40 and skins, wallpapers and video as high as $100-$150, based on other comparable media properties. With radio listening times of 20-40 hours per month per listener, they expect annual revenues to reach 8 figures within 3-4 years.
As we embark on the next stage of our growth to become of one of America’s most exciting new media technology companies, STICKMAN is enormously excited about what the future holds … not just for the emerging business of in-game audio, but digital audio in general and its ability to revolutionize the traditional radio space, allowing major terrestrial radio brands to leverage the full potential of the Internet. Imagine that powerful local radio brands are no longer simply simulcasts of a single terrestrial radio stream, but full featured radio services with multiple, user-customized streams of new music blended and delivered according to listener preferences … that is what STICKMAN Entertainment is all about.
Los Angeles-based STICKMAN Entertainment, Inc. was founded to revolutionize the world of sound for interactive games, broadcast environments, wireless applications and all media and marketing devices which require a high impact musical experience.
Led by multi-platinum recording artist Alex Katunich (a.ka. “Dirk Lance”) and entrepreneur and marketer, Chris Wilkinson, STICKMAN Entertainment is a pioneer for a new generation of sound experiences.
STICKMAN was founded on the principal that excellent music can and should be the driving force behind new products in the entertainment industry. This belief seeks to destroy the idea of music as an afterthought to the visual medium. STICKMAN looks to enhance the entertainment experience by creating soundtracks that help propel the audience further into the game they’re playing, the commercial they’re watching, or the movie they are dying to see.
For more information, please contact Chris or Alex at chris [at] stickman.tv or alex [at] stickman.tv