Missing the Beat: The Surprising Truth Behind the Lack of Music-Themed Online Slots

Online slots continue to be a popular form of entertainment for those visiting an online casino. Despite the live dealer games and numerous live game show experience offerings, people still turn to slots for their real money gaming pleasure. Slots offer players the chance to win big prizes while also being entertained by the game’s themes and visuals.

The branding of slots is critical in their continued success and many are based on popular movie and TV franchises, as well as traditional casino themes such as classic fruit machines. Yet, there are surprisingly few online slots that are based on music and that appears to be a missed opportunity.

Scattered Notes” (CC BY 2.0) by S. Parker

Find a beat

Music is a huge part of popular culture, and it seems like it would be a natural fit for online slots. There are many different genres of music, as well as countless bands and solo artists who have legions of fans around the world. So why aren’t there more online slots based on music?

Music is a critical element to enhance the gaming experience, engage players and ultimately develop a prosperous slot. Music can be used to build excitement and anticipation during bonus rounds or big wins with a fast tempo creating a sense of anticipation. The music inspired in online casino games can also set the tone and create the right atmosphere for the game. For example, a slot game that is set in ancient Egypt needs music that transports players to that time and place and if the slot is based on a film or TV show, you simply must have the soundtrack to create a sense of familiarity and pull in fans of the media. There’s also a great deal of research into how certain types of music can be used to keep players engaged and playing for longer. 

While music plays a vital role in the development of engaging slots, there are a few issues that might explain why you don’t see a Harry Styles, The Beatles, or the legendary and undisputed queen of pop, Madonna slot.

Please don’t stop the music

One possible reason is the rather dull issue of licensing. In order to create an online slot based on a particular artist or band, a game developer would need to obtain the necessary licenses from the copyright holders of the music. This can be a complex and expensive process, particularly if the artist or band in question is not currently active or if there are multiple parties involved in the ownership of the music. It’s possible that considering the numerous music copyright cases over the years, casino game developers simply don’t want to deal with the hassle of securing these licenses.

Another possible reason is that music is inherently more subjective than other forms of entertainment like movies and TV shows. While there are certainly fans of specific bands and genres, music taste is often a matter of personal preference. It’s possible that game developers are hesitant to create online slots based on specific bands or genres because they worry that these themes might not appeal to a broad enough audience.

Additionally, music can be difficult to incorporate into a game in a meaningful way. Unlike movies and TV shows, which often have clear storylines and characters that can be adapted into game mechanics, music is more abstract. It can be challenging to create engaging gameplay that is directly tied to a particular band or genre of music. Despite this, there are still some examples of online slots that are based on music.

For example, NetEnt’s Guns N’ Roses slot and Motorhead slot both feature music from the respective bands, as well as graphics and gameplay elements that are tied to the bands’ imagery and style. More recently, developer Microgaming created a branded deadmau5 (pronounced’ dead mouse’) slot featuring hits from the Canadian electronic music producer and DJ.

While music seems like a natural fit for online slots and is a key feature of all online casino games, there are several hurdles to creating music-based slots that will capture a large audience.  Nonetheless, there are some examples of successful music-themed slots that demonstrate the potential of this genre, and it’s possible that we will see more music-themed slots in the future as game developers continue to explore new themes and ideas.