Delaware indie pop veterans The Spinto Band have released several quirky videos for their new album "Shy Pursuit". On the heels of their most recent video, the band has also released an iPhone game which they developed independently with programmer Jordi Pamies. But it's more than a game - it's a unique, clever example of branding in action.
The app itself is actually six mini-games, each bearing an addictive 8-bit charm and a surprisingly steep (but not TOO steep) difficulty curve. The band members are injected into game worlds that borrow from classic arcade fare (Frogger, Tetris, etc). Each game begins with a short video "cut-scene" that provides a dose of nerdy humor. The app also includes an album cover editor that lets you create & save your own version of the Shy Pursuit album cover.
Compared to most artist apps, it's pretty low on bells & whistles. In fact, it's deliberately "retro" -- and that's the point. The Spinto Band did not create a slick MobileRoadie-esque app with a shiny interface or exclusive content. They didn't intend to "leverage it" for fan acquisition or social sharing. They just set out to make a fun game -- and in the process, they created something truly engaging that honestly reflects their brand.
For starters, all the guys love classic videogames (see this video of the group playing Bomberman). They share a sense of humor visible in their viral hit "Shit People Don't Say at SXSW". The giant plush Noid in their studio symbolizes their affection for quirky retro stuff. All these aspects of the band's identity are present in the app. Plus, the instrumental versions of their songs make for surprisingly nice in-game music. To top it all off, the group even recorded original sound effects for each mini-game. From the small details to the overall experience, this app conveys a charm and personality much like the band itself.
The app may not be brimming with fancy features, but it offers more fun than most artist apps out there. These games are simple but instantly engaging. A Spinto Band fan will walk away from this app feeling like they touched something that truly came from the band itself. And first-time listeners get an immersive introduction into the Spinto Band's world.
With this game, The Spinto Band has encapsulated their "brand" in an app and provided an appealing way to deepen fans' connections. Plus, they've given me a new way to kill time in the grocery store checkout line. How many artist apps can say that?