French interactive music app developer MXP4 has released a new application called Pump It. Similar to Guitar Hero, users move their mouse to the beat of the music to earn points. Scores can posted to the news feed and users can invite friends to compete with. Branded versions of Pump It will appear on the Pages of several of the most popular musicians on Facebook over the coming weeks.
The game is twitchy and fun, but sustained usage will be limited by a lack feedback mechanisms and social features. However, it could become an engaging way to launch new singles, and labels could promote their entire roster through mixes which feature multiple artists.
MXP4 released several Facebook Page tab applications earlier this year to help musicians share music with their fans and grow their Pages. The apps, including Mix It, which lets users turn on and off different instrumental tracks of a song, or Sing It, a karaoke app, require users to Like the musician’s Page before they can play. Despite having no scoring or competitive elements, these apps have gained traction. MXP4’s app for DJ David Guetta, one of the top 20 musicians on Facebook according to PageData and an early adopter of Page tab app marketing campaigns, gained over 300,000 users this month.
Still, MXP4 sees potential in making full-fledged games. Users are directed to a branded Pump It standalone application from a tab on a musician’s Page. Once installed, they see a quick tutorial on how to maneuver their mouse to anticipate the music, select a difficulty level, and begin playing a song. Instead of having to click buttons or strum as with Guitar Hero, users merely hover their mouse over the quadrant of the game area which displays colored pulses representing the song’s rhythm.
Users don’t need the help of friends to succeed in the game, so it’s not inhererently social. However, they can still post their scores to Facebook and Twitter, invite friends, and see how their scores compare to those of friends or the entire user base. Users with the top scores for a song appear on a leaderboard, which will encourage some to play until they get this recognition. Most users will just play each track once, though, so the success of the apps will depend on artists adding new songs.
Pump It offers much more intimate engagement with a song than traditional streaming or downloading. Users have grown accustomed to listening to music while multi-tasking elsewhere on the internet, so other promotions which aren’t interactive don’t always make a strong enough impression for users to want to buy a song or hear it again.
For this reason, Pump It could become a high conversion rate method for musicians to debut new singles online. The app could also be a good way to foster interest across a record label’s roster or catalog. London label Ministry of Sound’s Pump It app includes multi-song mixes of 80’s artists including Duran Duran, Billy Idol, and Human League who appear on their annual compilation albums.