Facebook Game ‘Bands’ Gives Musicians New Revenue Stream

NNewtracks, a 9 month old nouvelle game company from Berlin have set an exciting new trend of virtual concerts via their flagship product, a Facebook app called ‘Bands – The Game‘. Capitalising on social networks’ strengths combined with a unique gaming premise, both established and independent musicians can reach out to their fans and earn revenues during the process.

The music business has diversified a lot and even though the commercial success of a few acts eclipses the visibility and the resulting margins of independent labels and obscure artists, the game app promises to deliver in terms of actual revenues: the revenue from selling tracks and virtual goods is split with the bands or their labels.

In an interview to Dotted Music, the Newtracks founder Daniel Bock commented on the specifics of the game. “The gameplay itself consists of mixing in-game skills like guitar solo, bass solo or drums to match the crowd behaviour,” said Daniel. He also clarified: “We are not trying to compete with Rockstar’s Guitar Hero. We want to do something different with music.”

Bands: The Game

Bands: The Game

The process is revealed in the game-play dynamics as the listeners choose to hear songs from a curated playlist of licensed songs from new entrants and star acts, wherein the bands playing their part have to start from bare essentials – a garage band – and have to make their concerts interesting enough to sustain the interest of the crowd. Better performances result in larger venues and more popular venues.

The game maintains a live chart of top performing bands among friends and the gaming community in general and the toppers can jet-set towards playing a virtual USA tour, as well as establish a fan base goodwill using virtual goodies as they work towards upgrading their in-game avatars. This works as an exciting new way to introduce lesser known acts to their virtual fan base, and an entertaining way for mainstream artists to promote their releases.

At launch, Bands featured 26 tracks from 12 artists, primarily from Universal Germany. Last week, Newtracks signed a deal with Earache Records, giving the game access to music from the likes of Napalm Death, Cult Of Luna, Oceano and more.

Artists can upload their own songs for inclusion in the Bands roster of tracks, where their success can be tracked through the live in-game charts. Players are able to monitor the progress of friends within the game, along with which songs they are listening to, which songs they have uploaded, what items they own etc.

The target audience is between 16 and 34 years old and Daniel Bock maintains that contemporary tastes and hybrid genres like rock using electro demolishes any genre barrier, while encouraging the younger listeners to explore new sonic acts over than the ones they already know. Daniel also plans to incorporate virtual merchandising as a strong prospect currently a work in progress.

The revenue is a split of the margins between the band and Newtracks, of the songs downloaded by enamored members of the virtual audience who are enticed enough to purchase the tunes.

All in all, this is certainly something more than just a novelty in keeping with today’s independent musicians needs.