JamLegend is a new startup that has recently been launched and is funded LaunchBoxDigital. If you like to rock out with Guitar Hero and Rock Band, here is your chance to do so online with your friends. With Jam Legend you play using your keyboard instead of the familiar guitar and other instruments in the aforementioned games.
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The experience is fun and engaging, although it takes a bit getting used to at first. The service is completely free so you do not have to pay the possible hundreds of dollars needed with the console games. Another advantage is that you can play anywhere and with friends and others across the world. For example, you can play while you are traveling, while you are at a coffee shop, and even while you are at work.
Once you sign up, you pick a song from a variety of genres and chose a difficulty level. Instructions will appear on the screen and soon the song will start playing. You know this happens when you see dots, which are notes, come down the screen. You need to press the correct key which is either 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 (guitar frets) and the enter key (guitar strum) as this happens. There are currently two different styles of play. “Jam style” is where you hold your keyboard like a guitar and “chill style” is using a keyboard like a conventional keyboard. I personally like the feel to “jam style” although other people may find it a bit awkward if they you see rocking out on your keyboard.
A nice feature of Jam Legend is the ability to play against any of your friends in turn-based duels or simultaneously in showdowns. There is a small green dot in the top right corner of the screen that lets you know when your friends are online. After the completion of each song you receive a score that is based on the number of correct notes played and the number of correct notes played in a row. This is because you receive a score multiplier that goes up as you correctly play notes without messing up. You also receive a rating based on your score and the scores of everyone else playing.
As of now there are very few advertisements on the website, which makes it look clean and does not distract you from playing songs. The current advertisements on the site are primarily products you can buy at Amazon.com related to Guitar Hero and Rock Band. The company is still figuring out how to make money in the future. They have several options such as advertising on the site, affiliate MP3 sales, or a subscription service to gain access to more songs.
Music artists are invited to upload their songs to the site and encouraged to do so. The problem right now is that there are a handful of songs from a couple of indie artists. Therefore, these songs can get old fast and after a few plays. As the website gains in popularity and artists become aware of the service the song selection will grow and will continue to grow. If you are a new band looking to gain exposure this might be an option.
Jam Legend is currently in private beta and is invite only. There are several ways to obtain an invite such as to ask someone who is already in (like myself) for one. I see Jam Legend becoming successful once the company can figure out how to monetize their service and provide a wide array of music choices to users.