Roblox has published a new report about people’s behaviour on its platform. It includes some startling stats relating to one of its music partners: electronic-music label Monstercat.

The 2023 Digital Expression, Fashion & Beauty Trends report focuses on what Roblox’s users – particularly those in the Gen-Z demographic – are doing with their avatars and virtual items on its service.

It includes lots of data, including the claim that 56% of Roblox’s Gen-Z users said styling their avatar is more important than styling themselves in the physical world. 84% said that digital fashion is at least “somewhat important” for them.

The report also quantifies Roblox’s virtual items economy. People have bought nearly 1.6bn digital fashion items and accessories on the platform in 2023 so far. That’s up 15% year-on-year.

The report has been published the day after Roblox’s latest financial results, in which it revealed that it now has 70.2 million daily active users, up 20% year-on-year. with players spending 16bn hours on Roblox last quarter.

One of the newer features around the company’s virtual items economy is ‘Limiteds’ – limited-edition virtual items that developers and brands can create to sell within their Roblox experiences. Cue the startling stats.

In September this year, Monstercat released six limited-edition virtual necklaces (pendants), with only one copy of each available. The report notes that they sold within minutes.

“The Ruby Pendant was acquired for 1,000,001 Robux in under 10 minutes – the equivalent of approximately $10,000, representing the highest initial Limited sale to date,” explained the report.

A couple of years ago, the obvious joke to make in response here would be that some 10 year-old’s parent is getting a BIG shock when their Apple or Google in-app purchases receipt lands in their inbox.

Sadly this is an outdated LOL, because Roblox has been ageing up for a while now.

“More than 55% of our users are now over 13 years old and our fastest-growing demographic segment is 17-24-year-old users,” wrote CEO David Baszucki in May this year. “17-24 users now represent 22% of our community.”

[Update: the new report has upped the first stat from 55% to 57%.]

At least someone in that demographic (or older) can afford to buy a $10k virtual necklace without having to worry about getting grounded until Christmas.

But let’s be serious. Music Ally talked to Karibi Dagogo-Jack, Roblox’s head of music partnerships, ahead of the new report’s publication, to find out more.

“The Monstercat stat in that report is astounding. The highest Limited sales to date,” he said, before talking about the wider demand for virtual items on Roblox.

“It shouldn’t be so surprising to the music industry or to musicians, because there’s a track record of musicians being able to sell [physical] items to their fans, and of that transaction being a pure expression of fandom,” said Dagogo-Jack.

“You wear the hat, you wear the t-shirt, you wear the pin, whatever it might be. It’s another way of flying the flag for the artists that you love. So it’s just an extension of that behaviour on Roblox.”

Dagogo-Jack praised Monstercat for the way the label has not just built its own experience on Roblox, but has worked with its community of fans there to guide its strategy with virtual items, including its lucrative Limiteds.

“They have really rolled up their sleeves and met Roblox users where they are. There’s a community of people on Roblox that speak a slightly different language, and have different memes, and are really, really internet-native,” he said.

“Monstercat has, every step of the way, been in conversation with them, has been in league with them. A lot of what their success is, is just an accretion of small activities over time.”

He noted that Monstercat had used polls to gauge the views of its community on its plans for Limiteds, but had also built its reputation in other ways on Roblox.

For example, the label put a portion of its catalogue into the audio library of Roblox Studio, the tool that people use to make their own Roblox games and experiences.

“They won a lot of goodwill that way,” he said. “They now have this natural music distribution service that’s happening across tens of millions of experiences on Roblox that now have the opportunity to use their audio.”

“So, there’s a music distribution aspect, there’s a deeply social aspect, there’s an understanding-the-community aspect. It’s an accretion of so many different things: that’s the secret sauce, I think.”

Our full interview with Karibi Dagogo-Jack will be published early next week. He is also one of the speakers at our Music Ally Connect conference in January 2024.

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