Hit Or Not: A Facebook Role-Playing Game Designed to Help Real Musicians

Startup thebizmo recently launched a new Facebook role-playing game called Hit or Not: It’s designed to give users the experience of running their own record label. The developers are hoping to match the widespread success of other Facebook apps like FarmVille and Mafia Wars, but in order to help real-life musicians.

The artists in the game are genuine, and your efforts to help them in the game could lead to online sales and more recognition among Facebook users. For the sake of all those starving musicians out there — and because of the music industry’s financial troubles — we’re especially interested to see this sort of experimentation.

Hit or Not gives Facebook users a chance to play music mogul by allowing players to rank songs in a Showcase based on how they think other players like or dislike them. The closer they get to hitting the average ranking — a sliding scale between 0 and 100 — the higher their Hit Spotter Rating climbs. The ultimate goal is to reach a rating of 90% or higher, which is fairly difficult as the score will rise and fall with each ranking.

As players listen to the songs, they can also decide to sign the artists if they feel the song will rise in popularity. This is one of the quickest ways to build your bank roll, measured in Hit or Not dollars (HN$). As songs become more popular, their value increases; players can then trade their songs or sell them, kind of like a virtual stock market for music.

For the artists, Hit or Not is a way to have their music heard. You aren’t going to have any big name bands or songs on the Top 40 come through your Showcase for a ranking; the bands and artists currently on Hit or Not don’t have contracts with major labels or songs in heavy rotation on your local radio station. But there is the potential of songs in the game giving these budding artists much-needed exposure. Players are given the option of purchasing MP3’s of tracks that they like and want to put in their permanent collection. Actually purchasing songs also translates into added clout in the game — as developers put it, money speaks louder than words.

The music Showcase runs on a “battery” that only allows players to listen to a limited number of songs before having to wait a few hours to let the meter recharge. Players can spend real dollars to add to their battery capacity, thus giving them more of an opportunity to rank songs, sign artists and move up the ranks. If players want to add to their virtual dollars quickly to sign high-profile artists to their label or buy more popular songs, they can also turn real dollars into the HN$ currency to get a leg up on the competition.

Thebizmo is still adding layers to the game, it’s aiming to mirror the world of the notoriously cut-throat music industry — actions like bribes and shady contracts. The attention to such detail can be attributed to the fact that the startup is run by a team with music industry experience that touts its company as being formed by musicians, for musicians. Artists looking to have their music be a part of the game can do so through thebizmo site.