There is no limit to the excitement of modern slot machines. High technology has turned them into complete multimedia experiences. Today, rock n’ roll and music stars of all kinds provide the most exciting themes behind the latest slot machines, and this makes perfect sense in a way that requires a little bit of understanding. There is no time like the present for music-themed slot machines.
Music is an important part of many people’s lives, but perhaps none so much as members of the baby boomer generation. It was popular music that provided the soundtrack to their lives as they changed the world. The rock n’ roll of the 50s flowed into the British invasion and hard rock of the 60s, which in turn powered the glam rock and disco of the 70’s. For three solid decades, music both reflected and inspired constant social change and upheaval. Throughout the last 60 years, music has been the constant companion of the precise generation now most likely to be enthusiastic slot players.
Currently, music-based themes are coming to dominate the world of slot machines, just as movie soundtracks based on popular records became standard in the 1980’s. When the film “The Big Chill” was released in 1983, many in the media were impressed with how the film’s all-pop-song soundtrack almost became another character in itself. Thus, the die was cast. The following decades would see music dominate in every aspect of media. And music has followed the money as the boomer cohort has aged.
Stars have realized the importance of slots in their licensing revenue streams. Dolly Parton actively promotes her line of slots and other gaming machines, enthusiastically putting her name and music behind the latest slot technology.
Other major stars with an interest in slots include ZZ Top, KISS, Elton John, Kenny Rogers, The Monkees, and even The Rolling Stones.
The multimedia capabilities of modern slots can be used in their full capacity thanks to the musical tie-in. Locking wilds on the ZZ Top machine reward the player with a few bars of “Legs.” The Dolly Parton Machine enables the player to choose their favorite Dolly song from a digital jukebox to play behind their game. The Rolling Stones use their copyrighted tongue-and-lips symbol to float around the screen, turning various symbols in to wilds by licking them. Yes, when Mick Jagger licks something, it goes wild. As the song “Rocket Man” plays, a star on the Elton John machine darts around, transforming whatever it touches into a wild. The right combination of symbols on The Monkees machine awards a bonus game backed by their famous theme song.
The stars lending their names and likeness to the world of slots are, for the most part, familiar most to the boomer generation. There are exceptions. When Britney Spears took up residence at the Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino in Vegas, a Britney-themed slot seemed a no-brainer. Of course, it would come as little surprise to some that it’s a penny slot.
Some stars are immortalized in slot form. Popular tributes to eternal stars include Michael Jackson, Dean Martin, and, of course, Elvis. Prince is likely not far behind.
Psychologically, music-themed slots only make sense. Music is evocative of certain times in our lives. A pop song can bring on an avalanche of positive memories around friendships, dating, rites of passage, and life events of all sorts. Wins on the ZZ Top machine are accompanied to the graunchy guitar riffs of “Just Got Paid.” One can imagine a former gas station employee from rural Texas remembering the receipt of his first paycheck while that song played on some grease-spattered radio in the background. The song snippet is a little tidbit that counts as a reward, and inspires addictive play in a way that mere coins (or more likely these days, credits) just can’t on their own.
Music-themed slots have come of age in a perfect storm: The population most likely to play them expects music to be part of their lives, and can look back on a whole lifetime of memories based around music. The technology to fully exploit music playback (and animation) is now commonplace. And the money and exposure is there, thanks to the popularity of not only Indian casinos throughout North America, but also online gaming. It’s likely that music-themed slots never could have reached their current white-hot levels of popularity at any other time.