Meet the Brains Behind Nightclub City DJ Rivals
San Francisco—Ted Mosby, the central character in the CBS sitcom “How I Met Your Mother,” once said, “Nothing good ever happens after 2 a.m.”
Keith Lee thinks otherwise.
In 2010, Lee and some friends were walking out of an L.A. nightclub, having been impressed by that night’s DJ lineup, and he thought to himself: “Why don’t we create a gaming app, where, instead of people simulating a restaurant or a zoo on Facebook, why don’t we create a game where you start your own nightclub and choose your own DJs, program your own sets, and you can hire your friends as bouncers or bartenders?”
It was a Red Bull-fueled eureka moment.
Of course, the fact that Lee had founded a gaming company called Booyah put him in a position to execute the idea—and his CV, which included a stint at Los Angeles-based Blizzard Entertainment, creators of the massively successful online role-playing game World of Warcraft, enabled him to secure venture capital.
“I had been working on some of the best video games of all time over the last couple of years,” says Lee of his time at Blizzard. “World of Warcraft became a cultural phenomenon, and then, because we were into music—I’ve always loved French house, like Daft Punk, French Fries, and Justice—and we used to go to parties a lot, to Vegas clubs like XS and a lot of after-hours parties, I thought nightclub gaming would be tons of fun, and I thought it was an opportunity in the Facebook entertainment space where no one was doing that.”
After designing and launching the game, Nightclub City DJs, within six months more than 20 million users had flocked to the Nightclub City Facebook page—currently, 600,000 users are actively engaged every month, and the game has 4.5 million Facebook fans—providing a remarkable marketing opportunity for music labels and DJs, and a revenue model for Booyah equal to that of music ID app Shazam.
“I think what resonated with people was that it was really good music that came with a ton of fun,” he says, “and we added a lot of viral channels in there that got tons of people pulled in to the game right away, and there is nothing like that on Facebook where you were making a game where you actually had real music and cool music.”