Overseas headlines in recent weeks have been rife with news of the decade-long ‘ghost money’ saga in Afghanistan. That is, every year, the CIA and MI6 have been said to drop piles of cash-loaded backpacks in the palace of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Some call it buying his loyalty to the US; others call it the price of freedom. As this autumn’s most hotly anticipated game hits the online world, the New Zealand public has paid a price to ensure the most basic of its freedoms: the freedom to rock.
Yes, ‘Indie Music Manager’ is here. It took no less than $287,460 to make this two-dimensional powerhouse, but such is the price when it comes to the very best in New Zealand Music™.
Are you the world’s best Indie Music Manager? Can you take real bands and make them famous, while managing the egos, scandals, fans and glamour of the music industry?
Indeed, being an Indie Music Manager in New Zealand isn’t as simple as it looks. It is a cutthroat industry that can chew you up and spit you out just as easy as it did lick you up. For this reason, we here at The Corner will walk you through the tricky interactive experience step-by-step. Because we care about Indie Music Management, is why.
Indie Music Management: An Indie Music Step-By-Step Guide
Hold your breath, folks – we now enter the weird and wild world of Indie Music Management. Who knows what could await? Nobody said it will be easy.
And after nine long seconds of waiting, we arrive at the opening screen. “Uughhh it exists,” tweeted one Street Chant drummer, and if by that he means “thank god it’s finally here,” then we at the Corner absolutely agree. Let’s proceed.
Here we are introduced to our PA, Julie. Though our height disappoints her, she is willing to give us a chance. Thanks Julie!
We are spoilt for choice with four of the country’s top indies. Let’s narrow it down, shall we? Well, Tiki Taane sounds like a bit of a troublemaker, I Am Giant seem too unadulterated for our tastes and Princess Chelsea’s ‘sardonic wit’ just sounds plain unmarketable… let’s make a snap business decision and go with the ‘two-girl-and-a-guy’ outfit Street Chant – we’ll worry about the music later.
Our budget is limited, so let’s go with the cheapest option here, the sports club, where we entertain those loyal to New Zealand’s biggest cultural pursuits – alcohol and sports.
No, you’re absolutely right, Julie. We need to make sure Street Chant is punk enough. Let’s check out their profile here at Lounge Lizard Central.
Now that we have assurance that Street Chant are no slouches, we ready ourselves for a rabid crowd who want it both loud and unplugged.
We return to Lounge Lizard Central to find Street Chant in their natural habitat – savour this moment, it’s your first encounter with a real live Rock Band! Here we meet the spectacled-yet-rambunctious Billie Rogers, the fiery frontperson Emily Littler (known for her dazzling purple hair) and the always-cool Alex Brown, who we see here practicing a few moves on his drumstick for the big show.
Behold, the most well-known scene in the tale of Auckland music: the empty bar. Let’s set it up with a crew to assist our helpless indie heroes.
In a scene so obsessed with image, we demand only the best for our aspiring starlets. Let’s pick the best-dressed roadie, Fabio, to show off to the sports bar drunks.
Looking fab, Fab! Let’s pick some gear on behalf of the musicians, because that’s what Indie Music Managers do.
It’s important to show these murky dives that we’re serious – Street Chant is a band that brings its our own gear, right down to the microphones.
Now, with the gear issue out of the way, the band is set to play their first gig with their lone microphone.
Uh-oh – this throws a spanner in the works! Luckily, Street Chant are the adventurous type of band and know how to improvise. They throw together some cash and pay for a taxi.
Well, isn’t this our lucky day! The band makes it to their gig AND gains a fan!
Alex Brown, like a real pussy, wants to puss out on us in true little pussy fashion. We’ll tell him not to be such a little pussy.
The band gets on with it anyway to rapturous applause. As we can see in the above picture, the crowd is going wild to Street Chant, Auckland’s finest all-male fedora-wearing five-piece band.
Congrats! We sold 54 tickets, taking in $432 in total – if “you do the maths”, that means we sold tickets for $8.64 each. In this unstable economic climate, you want to keep prices down as much as possible – no matter how even or round a figure like $9.00 might be, it could put punters off. We might have not packed out the 200-capacity venue, or sold any merchandise, but 27 new fans is reward enough. That’s a 50% success rate! The other half of the audience are clearly unloyal and should be executed.
We see that Street Chant have new songs – ‘Less Chat More Sewing’ and ‘Blister’ – so we take it upon ourselves to organise recording. Wow! The famed Arch Hill Studios – home of Surf City, Beck’s™ Ghost Wave™ and now Street Chant! Let’s pick our producer for the day.
She might not be up to scratch on a technical level, but anyone who’s anyone in Auckland knows that having dated a musician or two is all you need.
“What do ah dew?”
Oh no! We told that pesky Billie not to drink her energy drinks near the desk! We, with our hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money, instruct the band to be resourceful.
The recording was a success! We’re on a sure-fire path to stardom now! Behind Sharon, we can sort of see that there is an option to release our new single, but her head is in the way! Get out of the way, Sharon, this is a male-dominated industry!
Good news! Street Chant have made it to number 18 on the charts! This enables us more bargaining power in the music industry, and soon enough we will able to BUY our success! The industry is rapidly changing in this digital age, and we must say goodbye to old practices like letting the music speak for itself.
But remember, nobody said being a top Indie Music Manager would be easy. We still have many hard yards ahead of us. Let’s do a gig at the Kings Arms.
Before the show, we want to make sure our band is happy. Now, we don’t want to spoil them – no-one likes a feisty musician! – but the least we can offer is some personal training for Street Chant.
No, silly, take that bee out of your nose! Our friend Julie is talking about manipulating the masses through control of the media! Such a practice is common in the Indie Industry, so you better wise up quick! Nobody said it would be easy.
While the boys are out doing their manly things like making their music, let’s leave the promo stuff to the girls. Here we are given a selection of five stunning ladies doing what they do best – “walking the streets and pushing your music all night.” Girl power!
Well, there’s no use having a publicist with no way to advertise. Nobody said this would be easy. Let’s aim big with this one – we’ll take a break from blowing our money on necessities like food and drugs, and spend it on a big rock campaign instead.
With an upgraded crew, gear and rider, the band is ready to generate some cash. Here at the Kings Arms, the all-male tour-de-force that is Street Chant is a hit!
Congratulations! We made close to $5,000 and we magically have no costs at all to cover.
Now here comes the fun part – profit! We’ll reward our tireless dedication to the music scene by decorating our corporate headquarters lavishly. To symbolise our bloated lifestyle of excess, we’ll do something surreal and unpredictable like placing our newly-purchased arcade machine on top of a coffee table.
Buzzing from the new addition to the office, the band have come up with a new single that is taking the country by storm! At 13 on the charts, Street Chant are ready for a newer and bigger audience than ever. But nobody said this was gonna be easy – we have an equipment-hungry band to appease, so we’ll buy them some new gear.
Good news! We can’t afford it. We’d better head back to the studio to churn out some more money-making hits.
This game knows us too well – Street Chant are this nation’s top Traditional Rock band. Let’s go with Brian.
Our first interaction with our new lizardlike friend reveals that he, like many Auckland engineers, is a floating apparition trapped within a transdimensional box. The realism of this game astounds us yet again.
Brian is left speechless by the performance.
With a big, glittery star, Street Chant is confirmed as a Top 10 act! Cool it, kid – you’re in the big leagues now. Nobody said it would be easy.
No thanks, Julie, I’m a Fugazi fan — it’s a Soy Latte or nothing for me.
Here in the Western world, we’re all about selling people’s rights. Let’s license Street Chant’s music to a cellphone company and their many cancerous pursuits.
We’ve made it to level 4! Way to go, team! As we can see by Street Chant’s plummeting happiness meter in the top-right corner, the band members are being little divas. We don’t have the power to prescribe antidepressants so we’ll leave them to wallow in their misery for now.
It’s tough deciding whether to impr them or invite them to the afte party, but for now we’ll invite them to join us on the glamorous festival stage.
What a festie! The band might be on the verge of suicide, but maybe they should stop being such little prima donnas and get on with the show. After all – we’re about to go office decorating!
There we go – looks a little more like home. Now, to our next show!
Woah there! Who’s playing with the lights? Waaiiit a minute… I think this a technical glitch, and I think it represents the end of the game (I think)! Does this mean we have finally made it as Indie Music Managers?
Well, one way or another, our virtual life supply has been cut off by what some might see as a vast limitation of technological foresight. But I prefer to see it this way: In refusing to finish their game (or even test its functionality in the slightest), the developers have made a profound — yet seizure-inducing — artistic statement. Yes, the game may be technically unuseable after only four short levels. Yes, the only industries it may actually represent are 1997 in video games, and 1979 in music. And yes, its creators may already be halfway across the ocean in helicopters stuffed full of cash.
But maybe… just maybe… we can interpret this abrupt ending as an inspiring message that we, in ourselves, have the ability to shape the world on our own; and that no glitch-heavy, taxpayer-funded web-game can ever finish our Indie Music Manager stories for us. And so, the developers have left the rest of this compelling story untold. The book is yet to be written, and it is our job as real-world Indie Music Managers to write it.
Ladies and gentlemen… two-hundred-and-eighty-seven-thousand, four-hundred-and-sixty New Zealand dollars.
Appendix A: Tips, Tricks, Cheats & Secrets
So you can’t make it through to the bitter end of Indie Music Manager, huh? Well, nobody said it would be easy. Luckily, we have a few suggestions that might help your journey through Indie Music Management a little easier to stomach.
~~ Ever wanted infinite fame? Kurt Cobain didn’t. For those of you that do, however, this little trick will help nicely.
Unlike most bugs in this game, this one is not immediately noticeable and experience-destroying. Upon reaching level 4, you unlock a wider selection of cellphone music offers. At this point, if you opt to sell your rights, it conveniently and accidentally comes at no cost! That’s right, folks — so long as you keep clicking, the offer never ends and you can have as many new fans as you want in the game! I have determined that it takes approximately half an hour of furious clicking to gain 100,000 fans. Given that each new level requires progressively more absurd amounts of fans, this process will keep you busy for days on end! As well as this, it circumvents the dreaded level 4 screen-flicker bug that may cause your operating system to restart, potentially damaging your files and destroying unsaved documents.
If enduring lasting hours of technical hell is not enough, this trick will force you to survive it for a lifetime!
~~ For those suffering performance issues, right click the game window and choose ‘Quality’ -> ‘Low’. This will improve game speed, allowing you to experience Indie Music egos, scandals, fans and glamour at real-time speed. Remember: The faster you play the game, the sooner it will finally come to an end.
~~ If you press ‘up’, ‘down,’ ‘left’, ‘right’, ‘a’, and ‘b’ at the start menu, you unlock the ability to play as an out-of-touch music industry type. Of course, these keys do nothing, but much like in the industry this game portrays, the point is to provide you with the false illusion of any free will and creative control at all!
~~ Thanks to Matthew Crawley for discovering this secret:
“Type in “manage your own band” on either the Street Chant and Princess Chelsea levels and you automatically get to regularly tour the world, release music videos that get a million hits on YouTube, and acquire the maximum amount of fans possible!”
~~ For those that spend the time navigating past Indie Music Manager’s plentiful bugs and glitches, there is a final secret level to be unlocked: CRS Management. In this stage, you can secure infinite fans and industry dominance!
~~ Upon nearing the end of the game, the band is faced with a career choice between two prestigious NZ Music traditions: the ceremonious New Zealand Music Awards, or a handful of small overseas pubs before breaking up as a band. Choose carefully!
~~ We’ve heard rumours of a Starboy/Dr. Glam unlock feature — any leads on this one, readers?
Appendix B: Future Instalments
Check out this hot news from the Indie Music Manager website:
- “Later in 2013 we plan to add four more acts to the game. We’ll be looking for a range of acts, and you’ll need 7 tracks, a good social media and iTunes presence, existing fans and the rights to license your tracks to us freely.”
For those of you that can’t contain your excitement for future additions to the Indie Music Manager family, here’s who we predict to be the upcoming featured four.
~~ SHARPIE CROWS are no pushovers. When it comes to playing live, they know how to cause a scene! Whether howling about finance companies or starting fights over Rastafarianism, this band of misfits are here to cause some trouble! However, they’re not all doom and gloom – this bunch is also known as rabid partiers! But first, there’s an important gig to play.
~~ RACKETS are the life of the party. This ragtag bunch will play anywhere that will have them, whether it be on a music festival stage or an interisland ferry. But be warned – get them excited enough and they might just take their shirts off to showcase some sexy bod! Unlock the instrument-swap feature if you dare.
~~ Better watch out, because HOMEBREW are here and they’ve got a lot to say. These experienced rhymers are hip to the underground scene and they really know how to get down! With special talents including the Political Commentary function, the rabble-rousing Publicity Stunt, and Damage Control — which you better know how to handle when you reach the Drunk Driving Tips Video stage!
~~ GIRLS PISSING ON GIRLS PISSING are the quirky, exotic types. When they’re not kicking up a storm about self-hatred and social anxiety, they’re powering through the countless hits that their devoted audience knows and loves. Needless to say, this promising young group loves to ruffle a few feathers!
Happy New Zealand Music Month™, everyone. Nobody said it was going to be easy.