After today, the long strange trip that is the Grateful Dead's career may just get longer and stranger. Thanks to Curious Sense Inc., a digital-entertainment company that today announced it had obtained exclusive rights to the group's legendary music vault, the legendary band may soon have a digital resurrection, complete with interactive gaming and social media experiences.
"Right now we're figuring out the best way to use the band's music, characters and lore and translate it into a fun interactive experience," says Adam Blumenthal, founder of Curious Sense and a self-proclaimed Deadhead. "This is an innovative way to reach both old fans and prospective fans in a mass-market medium played by both kids and adults."
A recent report by eMarketer bears this out. The research group forecasted the social gaming market will surpass the $1 billion mark in 2011 with 62 million Americans playing at least one game a month.
The deal, brokered with the Grateful Dead's Legacy Manager David Lemieux (formerly their official archivist) and Rhino Records, gives Curious Sense exclusive worldwide rights for three-and-a-half years to create online and mobile experiences from the Grateful Dead's voluminous music and visual assets. The band's vault reportedly contains more than 4,000 recorded live shows.
"The ideas are not completely settled yet," says Blumenthal, "but we are considering a card-playing game complete with a saloon, characters and multi-players." Other likely concepts include a name-that-tune-like game that would fit in with Deadheads' penchant for deep song research and band trivia, as well as a recreation of band's legendary "Shakedown Street" parking lot experience. Here, if participants are lucky enough, they might win a "miracle" -- that valued commodity in the analog world that once meant a free ticket to a Grateful Dead concert (though in the digital realm a miracle might include merchandise or rare recordings).
The Grateful Dead social media and gaming spaces are being developed for both mobile and online platforms and will be featured both on the band's official site www.dead.net and a new dedicated website yet to be named.
Titles the company is considering for the new destination include "Terrapin Station," "Truckin' " (the band's best-known anthem) and "The Music Never Stopped," which Blumenthal points out contains rather prescient lyrics: "No one's noticed, but the band's all packed and gone. Was it ever here at all? But they keep on dancing."