Gaming

Billie Eilish, Lady Gaga & More Join U.S. Version of Hit Korean Game 'The Superstar'

Billie Eilish "The Superstar"
Courtesy The Superstar

Billie Eilish "The Superstar"

In South Korean gaming app The Superstar, players use their fingers to tap along to K-pop hits like BTS' "DNA," similar to video games like Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution. The app has scored more than 63 million global downloads since its 2014 launch, according to its developer, Dalcomsoft, but has never been available in the U.S. -- until today (July 1).

A U.S. version of The Superstar has officially launched on iOS and Android, and it features hit songs from a suite of Interscope Records acts including Selena Gomez, Billie Eilish, Lady Gaga, Imagine DragonsRae Sremmurd, Zedd, DJ Snake, Gryffinblackbear and Juice WRLD.

"It became evident that from the past year and a half, when everyone was staying safe at home, it also became the most vital time for fans to really connect with their favorite artists' music through The Superstar's unique interactive experience," Dalcomsoft head of U.S. Operations Allen Chung said in a statement. "As part of our global expansion efforts, we're truly thrilled to finally launch our exciting music gaming platform here in the U.S. with some of the biggest names on the charts after our fundamental success from overseas."

The Superstar has worked with more than 140 artists to date, according to the company. The majority are in the K-pop genre (such as SM Entertainment's SMTown) and The Superstar has also created games for record labels like PSY's P Nation.

The company secures licensing deals with labels and publishers to stream songs in the app, and also offers those partners a cut of in-app purchases like artist-branded wallpaper, profile pictures and digital photo cards allowing players to level up for a price. Dalcomsoft takes an undisclosed cut of all in-app sales, and also makes a small percentage of its revenue through in-app advertising.

Courtesy The Superstar

More participating acts from major labels are expected to be announced in the coming months. Billboard has reached out to Interscope for additional comment.

The Superstar is just the latest avenue for the music industry's ongoing pursuit of gamers. Gaming has emerged as a potentially lucrative revenue stream for the music industry over the past several years, whether through synch opportunities, in-game performances or selling in-game collectibles like avatar accessories.

That is, if games are properly licensed. The growth of the gaming market has also spurred a music industry crackdown on gaming companies which feature unlicensed music. Last month, the National Music Publishers' Association slapped gaming company Roblox with a $200 million copyright infringement lawsuit for its alleged use of unlicensed music in games, and the organization -- alongside the RIAA -- is also ramping up its pressure on gamer-focused livestreaming platform Twitch to secure broad music licenses.