If you've had dreams of managing The Beatles but haven't quite figured out where to begin your management career (or how to build a time machine), Indie Music Manager is the game for you.
Launched today, the locally developed iOS and Flash game transforms players into managers for New Zealand artists such as Tiki Taane, Princess Chelsea and I Am Giant. The aim of the game is to raise these acts into stardom, by booking them into gigs, earning money, doing PR and growing the number of screaming fans. All the while discovering Kiwi artists and their music.
The game is developed by Auckland-based game studio InGame and with artwork by Images & Sound.
InGame director Stephen Knightly (also the head of the New Zealand Game Developers Association) says the project ties in with New Zealand Music Month in May as a tool for discovering Kiwi music.
"The conversation the music industry has had for the past many years is about online distribution – funnily enough that's the same issues the game industry is grappling with. Indie Music Manager takes both these worlds and gamifies music discovery," says Knightly.
Indie Music Manager's gameplay is inspired by the incredibly popular Football Manager franchise, of course with a Kiwi music slant adds Knightly.
In total there are 28 tracks, with additional tracks and artists to be added later this year. The music is provided by the artists themselves and Knightly says securing music was no where near as difficult as he initially imagined it might be.
"We've purposely selected acts that don't have complicated licensing arrangements or are in control of their music," he says.
Tiki Taane says the experience of being transported into a video game is a first for the singer, songwriter and friend of the police everywhere.
"I never thought I'd become a character in a video game so for me it’s a real buzz,” says Taane.
“It’s a new way to explore homegrown music and try your hand at managing an artist through all the challenges that the rock’n’roll scene presents. It was really cool to see the game progress and have an input to some of the game’s creative.”
The production, licensing, and marketing of the two versions of the game is funded by New Zealand On Air's digital fund, to the tune of $280,000.