The New York Times has a feature article on Tap Tap Revenge, the iPhone-equivalent of Guitar Hero. The big story with Guitar Hero, and it’s doppleganger Rock Band, was that not only were people buying the games, sales of music featured in the games experienced an upswing. Tap Tap Revenge has seen a similar reaction to content featured in their game, which is currently the most popular free iPhone game.
Tapulous, the company behind Tap Tap Revenge, has been capitalizing on this phenomenom. The company has Tap Tap Thursday, on which new songs are released to users from big name artists like Katy Perry. Popular songs regularly generate over 1 million plays in a short amount of time, and drive music sales as well; “Hot N Cold,” a Kay Perry song, saw 50,000 downloads after being featured in October.
In the same vein, Tapulous released for-pay versions of the game co-branded with popular bands, such as the Nine Inch Nails edition and a Christmas with Weezer version, priced at $4.99. Future plans include special editions with Dave Matthews Band. Even the record labels are starting to take notice: EMI joined up with Tapulous to realease a version called Tap Tap Dance with music by Moby and Daft Punk.
The article does not get into specifics about how well Tapulous is doing, but CEO Bart Decrem says they are profitable. Revenues come from advertising in the games, while most of the product fees for the paid editions goes back to the musicians themselves. The company recently raised a round of $1 million from a group of investors that includes Rajeev Motwani, one of the original investors in Google.