New Dances and the Dance Market 120801
I've been away from SL for a month then involved with Dance festival V and have not kept up with new dance releases. So, now that I again have SL time, I went around to all the MOCAP Dance Makers (see list) to see what was new. I found lots of new dances at MyAnimation, A&M, Henmations, Vista and HUMANOID/Akeyo (HUMANOID, Akeyo and Animocca have a common ownership I think). But, I also found more dance makers seem to have stopped or slowed making new dances including Ministry of Motion (MoM), There in Spirit (TIS), 3FX, Studio4D (S4D), Sine Wave (dead for a long time), Animazoo, Extreme, Abranimations, Akaesha, NHC and SEmotion. AV Puli has withdrawn to Animation Warehouse where it is tough to stand out, and Raymation and Lost Dog have gone out of business.
Last November I did an analysis of the dance maker market. At that time I concluded that the Dance Makers had separated into three groups. The strong, the middle and the weak. If you go back and look, you will see the introduction of new dances is completely by the strong. Some of the weak seem to have perished or are about to. The middle is weakening. Only the strong seem to be surviving. In a year or so we may have only five Dance Makers who actually make new dances.
As I think about why this is the conclusion I come to is the market is mature. The growth of SL has slowed. When you log on the number of people online seems about the same as a couple of years ago. However, the number of dances made in the last two years is huge. What this means is that the demand is stable and the offerings have increased. The result is fewer sales per dance. That means less revenue for the dance maker per dance. The cost of making dances has probably decreased somewhat as Dance Makers processes have improved, but I suspect that for the middle group the cost of making new dances is not justified by the sales. So, the middle group is doing what is called "milking" the market. They are selling what they have, but not making anything new. Eventually milking leads to a slow death.
The strong group seem to be competing in different ways. For example, Akeyo/Animocca/HUMANOID seems to be competing by trying to differentiate the market on price and quality. They also have a vendor program and you run across their dances in different places in SL. Henmations is innovating equipment and at the same time flooding the market with dances. It's a kind of mow down the competition strategy. My Animation is also making a lot of dances and focusing on broadening the offering, for example, the Nossa and MC Hammer dances. There are a lot of smaller dance categories and styles and MyAnimation is filling them. A&M is also filling the categories and styles, but with fewer dances being produced. A&M also seems to be forming relationships with dance equipment makers, such as the sale of the Barre HUD at A&M. Vista seems to dabble in the dance market and puts much more emphasis on the animated pose market.
Yummy has talked about the exciting new things coming in dancing and I also see them too, but, I don't see anything that changes the trend we are seeing. I predict that the middle group will become weak in the next couple of years and some of the strong will begin to weaken. If SL is alive in 10 years there may be only a couple of strong Dance Makers.
Of course, I always have to think about the "everything has been invented" quote. Maybe SL will evolve into something that goes beyond what I can dream.
I hope so.