Loudcrowd Marries Gaming And Music In A Virtual World

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Startup Conduit Labs has launched Loudcrowd, a online community that integrates a virtual world with social gaming and music. Loudcrowd users can create their own virtual world with avatars and access music playlists while playing a series of music-themed games with friends. Loudcrowd is launching with 50 artists and over 250 songs featured on the platform, including music from the Indie rock bands Justice, Phoenix, Santigold, and Friendly Fires.

Loudcrowd wants to create the feel of an online concert or dance club for users. The site will feature social games that will be played simultaneously with music tracks as well as daily playlists from guest DJs. Loudcrowd’s feature Dance game is similar to the popular game Dance, Dance Revolution and is pretty innovative. Loudcrowd says that the dance game has been played more than one million times since they entered private beta, with over 25 percent of users visiting the site more than 100 times a month. The games are all built on Flash and the animation is disarmingly good.

Loudcrowd has partnered with Indie rock record labels including the Beggars Group, DFA, Domino, Downtown Records, and Modular to provide exclusive music to users. In an attempt to monetize the site through a music-related virtual goods model, Loudcrowd charges users for music tracks and extra gaming and avatar features. Prices will range from micropayments for certain features to rare music tracks that could be in the triple digits. We reported on Conduit Lab’s $5.5 million Series A funding round from Charles River Ventures and Prism VentureWorks for Loudcrowd back in 2007 but the plan didn’t seem to include an online music community at that point.

While imeem and Last.fm also build social networks around music, Loudcrowd seems to be doing something unique by combining gaming and music all within a virtual world. While Loudcrowd is trying to be part social network, it certainly doesn’t want to reinvent the wheel, says Conduit CEO and co-founder Nabeel Hyatt. Conduit will be using Facebook Connect and Google Friend Connect to bring in users from Facebook and other social networking sites like Last.Fm, MySpace and others. Hyatt says that Loudcrowd could actually sit inside a social network but he’s hoping to be able to integrate the standalone unique experience of the site with larger social networks at the moment.

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