7bit Hero and The Future of Music

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“We’re a band that’s also a video game”.

7Bit Hero is a 6 man act that combines pop music, VJing and crowd gaming. The Brisbane based band members are in their 30s and grew up playing Nintendo games. The singer/coder, Hunz, is known in the demoscene for making music for Fairlight.

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Here’s how it works: The band has a giant screen behind their backs. A character reminiscent of Minecraft and NES games appears in the background, inviting the audience to join the game as some 8bit chiptunes start playing. You need to download the 7Bit Hero app for your iPhone or Android, then connect to the open Wifi network. You get to create a little character and give it a name, and you’re good to go.

The song is about to start and the game in the back will pick up to 20 players at random. The game is playing in the background and accompanies the band, kind of like a blend between a music video and a mini-game. Each song has a little story with its own gameplay, though they’re always variations of one button games. In between segments of the song, the story of the game will intensify and players will need to ready for a bigger wave of challenges. Once the set is over, the best player will get a nice victory song and get to join the band on stage.

Of course, 7Bit Hero isn’t the first band that attempts to connect with the audience in a new way. Japan has had massive concerts with the virtual idol Hatsune Miku, and Genki Rockets has combined digital elements with live gigs as well.

The reason I think this is a big deal is that during the past 10 years, the music industry has been searching for a new business model. Today’s stars are built by creating a following online via Youtube, Bandcamp and others, and connecting with their fans at live gigs. Up and coming bands aim to sell merch and singles. In the case of 7Bit Hero, the game could become a powerful way to promote the band (and vice versa).

I think that such a music game would be more engaging than most. I believe that fans would be more eager to buy in-app purchases that will support a band they love. Because of this, I wouldn’t be surprised if we soon see a band that combines 7Bit Hero’s approach together with a massive brand such as Hatsune Miku. That would be a major disruption in the music business.

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