Most recording artists would love to have their music available on MTV Networks' Rock Band videogame. But MTV's Harmonix unit, the developer of Rock Band, simply hasn't had the time or staff to program the vast number of songs it would like to include in the game.
That's about to change. Later this year, MTV plans to launch a groundbreaking initiative called the Rock Band Network that will enable any artist-unsigned emerging act, indie cult fave or major-label superstar-to submit songs for possible inclusion in the game.
To quote: The Rock Band Network recently started a closed beta trial, which MTV expects to expand to a public beta test in August. The company hopes to open the Rock Band Network store before year's end.
Songs available through the new store, which will remain separate from the existing "Rock Band" store, will be initially available for download to users of Microsoft's Xbox 360 game console. MTV expects to eventually make the popular tracks available for use on the Sony PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii game systems.
"We've figured out how to make it so anybody who owns and controls masters and publishing can put music into ["Rock Band"] at their own pace," says MTV Games senior VP of electronic games and music Paul DeGooyer. "We're talking about a set of serious professional tools to allow people on the front line of writing and recording songs to completely control their destiny with respect to interactive products and then giving them direct access to the download store."
Rather than deal with Harmonix directly, artists and labels will submit songs to a community of Harmonix-trained freelance game developers and other interested programmers who will prepare the tracks for "Rock Band." Additionally, labels can either hire trained developers or school their existing employees to do the work in-house.
Songs submitted through this process must then be reviewed by other developers to check for playability, inappropriate lyrics, copyright infringement and so on. Harmonix will post approved tracks to an in-game download store separate from its existing "Rock Band" store where creators can set their own price (50 cents to $3 per song) and receive 30% of any resulting sales. Gamers will also be able to demo 30-second samples of each track.
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