RiK, the world’s first interactive online rockstar, launched his new single, Essex Girl, last week in what is proving to be the most original and cost-effective way of promoting music to date.
Essex Girl the single has been released in tandem with a free-to-play online computer game, which has clocked up 15,000 hits in the first week and is expected to receive over 100,000 hits by the end of the first month. The game has already reached a global audience, with players registering scores from as far away as Japan and Taiwan.
The computer game involves the user taking control of digital rockstar RiK to help him play the bass guitar in the song Essex Girl, as well as directing the cameras and lights. The game is available to play on internet gaming sites like miniclip and newgrounds, which have a total of 43 million unique users per month (source: Google Analytics, December 2007).
Producer of Sandi Thom’s million-selling single I Wish I was a Punk Rocker Steve Smith believes the RiK project is groundbreaking: “Musicians have to find innovative ways of getting their music to the market these days. You need to have more than just a good song to break it. The RiK project combines a catchy pop tune with an addictive animated game that allows listeners to get involved with making music. It’s a genius idea – I wish I had thought of it!”
The idea came about when songwriter and top London session musician Ricci Riccardi met award-winning flash game designer Luke Whittaker. “We wanted to create the world’s first internet popstar that the public could interact with and control” says Ricci. “RiK’s image is bold and iconic and has a strong brand identity, offering us many commercial opportunities. We eventually plan to perform RiK’s songs with a live band and real-time animation, but for now we are exploring the interactive realms in order to create a sizeable fan base.”
Steve Lyall, tour manager of international superstars Girls Aloud and Estelle, is also enthusiastic about RiK: ‘Audiences will love the excitement and innovation that RiK offers. To have a computerized character talking in real-time to the crowd will be something else. This is a unique musical project” says Steve.
After just one week, dozens of online gamers have commented upon Essex Girl: “I find myself humming the song well after I've walked away from the computer”.
To play and hear Essex Girl visit www.rikworld.com.
Animator Luke Whittaker has created games for MTV, Ministry of Sound, BBC and animated for established music acts Lemon Jelly and Ms Dynamite. He has recently launched his own company State of Play Games.
Ricci Riccardi is currently the live Musical Director for British R&B star Jamelia and has songs on forthcoming Sony BMG releases.