Apps, Mobile & SMS

New Music Games: TastemakerX [w/$1.25M new funding], Rockstar Rising, Bands, JuzzMusic

Bands_logo_whiteA new crop of music games, some with marketing elements for indies, are launching this week. Rockstar Rising debuts at SXSW as does a new version of TastemakerX. Bands, a Facebook game, launched out of Berlin while JuzzMusic is a new iTunes app out of Singapore. TastemakerX has the edge in funding and longevity though they still seem to be iterating towards a winning approach while Bands seem to be the strongest debut.

Aside from videogames like Guitar Hero, music has mostly done well as an element within games or in other forms of web and mobile apps that aren't games but focus on music. However I'm not at all in the market for such games either personally or professionally so please correct me if I'm offbase. I've seen a lot of games get introduced over the last few years and they all seemed to disappear leaving TastemakerX the longest running player currently available.

TastemakerX Introduces Fantasy Leagues for Music

TastemakerX-sxsw-showTastemakerX seems to be the leader of the pack having received $1.8 million in funding over a year ago with another $1.25 million in recent days.

Billed as a "social game for music discovery", TastemakerX is introducing "Fantasy Leagues for Music" with a "Collections motif" and streaming audio provided by Spotify, Songkick, SoundCloud and YouTube. The Fantasy League concept has potential and their new funding round gives them a shot at seeing if it will take.

TastemakerX is a SXSW Music Accelerator Finalist and they are also sponsoring a music showcase during SXSW at Speakeasy on March 11.

You can check out the Fantasy Music League concept for yourself.

Rockstar Rising Debuts at SXSW

Rockstar-risingRockstar Rising is a new iOS and Facebook game debuting today at SXSW. It's a product from WhoTune who've developed a fairly complex looking promotional platform for indie artists with the option to get your music into the game by creating a profile at WhoTune and then entering the Rockstar Rising competition.

From the press release:

"Rockstar Rising is a free role play game (RPG) chronicling the journey of becoming a rockstar. The game integrates users' social networks, allowing gamers to hire and fire their Facebook friends as band mates and work their way up from garage practice to worldwide tours. From choosing outfits to purchasing equipment, gamers live the lives of up-and-coming artists as they experience the same struggles and successes as many bands in the industry."

"Game play includes learning and performing songs from the independent artists of Whotune at various venues around the world in a casual arcade-style game. The band levels up by earning fame and fortune from gigs, allowing them access to bigger and better gear as well as new venues to play at. Bands can also write songs, record them in the studio, play original songs at gigs, and ultimately release an album to build even more fame and fortune."

If you're at SXSW, you can connect with the Rockstar Rising folks at Booth126/128 from March 8 to 10 in the SXSW Gaming Expo. A preview with senior execs on hand is also planned for the Startup Debut event on Sunday, March 10.

Newtracks Launches Bands on Facebook

Bands_posterBands is the first release from Berlin-based Newtracks which describes itself as a "music game developer." Their goal with Bands is to offer "gamers a new breed of addictive social music experience, as well as novel revenue streams and exposure opportunities for both established and independent music artists."

According to the press release they are developing some interesting marketing and revenue possiblities:

"Bands charts the players' rise from garage band hopefuls to musical megastardom, from playing no-mark small time venues all the way to sell out stadium events on a whirlwind tour of the USA. Gameplay revolves around playing along to in-game music provided by a roster of established and up-and-coming artists, simultaneously allowing users to discover new music while they play."

"All tracks featured within the game are available for download via in-game purchase, offering musical acts and their labels a new way to get their sounds in front of an engaged, relevant new audience….Players are also given the option to buy items and branded merchandise to upgrade their in-game avatars and speed up progression through the game."

New Tracks has made initial deals with Universal and EMI in Germany. In addition they have received seed funding so they look like a game company to watch.

JuzzMusic Includes Singing & Self-Promotion

Juzz-musicJuzzMusic describes their free iOS app as bridging a "Singing Function with Self-Promotion, through innovative Music Trivia Challenges." Here are some details:

"JuzzPlay: Users select from free playlists & genres to start playing this addictive, multi-level music challenges with their friends, music fans worldwide, or they can go solo, and also get ranked on global leaderboards. When they come across a Cover Artist, they can also vote, follow, & message any artist."

"JuzzSing: Artists & singers of any level can record cover versions of selected songs and post their renditions online. Popularity & quality of votes can be amassed by global players voting for you, & further enhanced by sharing the track with friends via Facebook and via the 'Spotlight feature' that includes the recorded track in the JuzzPlay section."

"JuzzGroove: Celebrate special occasions by recording and dedicating the songs via Facebook. Also browse through an ever-expanding library of music to a non-stop music experience."

It's not quite a karaoke game but seems likely to draw on the popularity of karaoke to some extent. It also sounds really complex which might be a challenge for a mobile game.

More: The Game Of Music Discovery

Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at All World Dance: Videos and maintains Music Biz Blogs. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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