Rapper Spose, aka Ryan Peters, created his own gaming app to generate buzz for his sixth album, “Good Luck With Your Life,” which will be released next month. Photo by Yoon S. Byun

Ryan Peters, better known as the rapper Spose, will release his sixth album next month, and he’s trying to generate hype for “Good Luck With Your Life” with an unusual marketing play: a gaming app.

On Tuesday, he launched “Spose: The King of Maine,” a $1.99 app available on Apple and Android devices that allows users access to new tracks as they earn points. The game now has four levels, though 16 are planned – one for each county in Maine. The action begins in Wells, where an animated Spose makes his way down a waterfront street battling a guy on a four-wheeler, sea gulls, a runner and assorted other characters. All the while, the song “Gee Willikers” from his 2012 album “The Audacity!” plays in the background.

The Portland level has Spose, wearing his signature backwards baseball cap and a pair of L.L. Bean-like boots, battling a man-bunned hipster in Monument Square. Collecting pine cones, iced coffees and coins earns players points toward new tracks. The game is part hilarious and part challenging. And, from Peters’ perspective, it’s smart marketing.

The Maine rapper Spose enlisted local talent to create “Spose: The King of Maine,” a $1.99 gaming app for use on Apple and Android devices. Courtesy of Ryan Peters aka Spose

“Artists are desperate to cut through the clutter,” said Adam Lewis, co-founder of Planetary Group, a music marketing company based in Boston and Los Angeles. “Whatever it takes.”

ENLISTING HOME-GROWN TALENT

“Good Luck With Your Life” by Spose is set for release on May 5 Image courtesy of Ryan Peters

Between music buyers’ short attention spans and a multitude of ways to reach them, including social media and YouTube, musicians are looking for new ways to engage fans and set themselves apart.

Lewis pointed to one example from Boston, The Lights Out, who just released an album on the side of a beer can. Cans of one of Aeronaut Brewing Co.’s beers include instructions on how to unlock digital access to the band’s album.

Peters’ app smartly leverages both his fanbase and the relationship people already have with their devices. “People are on their phones,” Lewis said. “That’s how they’re doing all of their discovery.”

Peters said he came up with the idea for the app himself and reached out to Mike Preble, program manager for the University of New England Academy of Digital Sciences. Preble referred Peters to three of his former students, Quinten Campbell, Marcus Gosselin and Bradley Oakes, all 20 years old. It was the first time any of them had been involved in making an app and Peters was very impressed, especially with Campbell, the lead programmer. “Quinten is going to be a billionaire,” he said.

Peters hired Hanji O’Chang, from O’Chang Studios in Rockland, to create the art for game.

O’Chang said in an email that the hardest part of making the game was the fact that she’s never made one before.

“Creating an animation for a game is a little more complicated than for a cartoon,” she said. “I had to work with the programmers and really understand what they were doing on the back end first.” She also said her cause wasn’t helped by the fact that she doesn’t own any touch-screen devices. The most fun part about making “King of Maine” was the freedom Spose afforded her, she said. “He really trusted my instinct to come up with ideas and be creative.”

A screenshot from the gaming app promoting “Good Luck With Your Life” Image courtesy of Ryan Peters

LEVEL FOUR: BATTLE GOV. LePAGE

All told, Peters said the app cost him about $36,000. “I’d say about half of it was art,” he said. “It was very time-consuming and involved thousands and thousands of graphics.” But does spending that much to create and launch an app make sense? Peters said yes, because it establishes him as someone with original ideas and he isn’t concerned about seeing a return on the investment. “I definitely think I’ll get my money back whether it be from album sales, app sales or T-shirt sales.”

He’s hoping more indie artists will reach out to him and the development team to create similar apps. And if things go as planned, he’ll have a little help in getting the word out from an unlikely source. When players reach level four, they fight Gov. Paul LePage in Augusta to earn the title of “King of Maine.”

Ads for the new app begin running this week on WCSH-TV, but Peters said, if LePage “comments and it ends up on the news, then I don’t need to pay for advertising.”

Aimsel Ponti can be contacted at 791-6455 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: Aimsel

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