Social music app developer MXP4 is launching Bopler Games, a standalone Facebook canvas application in which users play a suite of games that revolve around licensed music. Bopler Games creates a new revenue stream for musicians by paying them royalties when users spend $1 in Facebook Credits to play with the full version of a song instead of a 60-second preview.
If MXP4 can demonstrate that social games can be a significant money maker for musicians, it could convince major record labels to loosen their grip and become more willing to license their songs. Social game micropayments might then help save musicians and record labels that have been struggling to earn money off of recorded music since the widespread adoption of the MP3.
Previously, MXp4 only offered games that musicians could brand and install on their Pages as tab applications, but there were no in-game purchases. This meant that while useful for familiarizing fans with music and drawing users to a musician’s Page, MXP4’s games didn’t monetize directly, making musicians and labels weary to pay the developer or license their most popular songs to it.
Licensed music has been available for listening in some games such as NightClub City, and developers such as CrowdStar have allowed musicians to sell digital downloads through their games. However, this appears to be the first time a prominent developer has allowed users to pay for music that can only be listened to in a game. This is important because these purchases are less likely to cannibalize download sales, and instead create a parallel revenue stream or even encourage download sales.
Along with its existing game Pump It!, which focused on triggering sounds in a style of reminiscent of Guitar Hero and recently reach 1.3 million monthly active users, Mxp4 has added several new game types.