Hit games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band are creating a subtle put profound shift in the way music is experienced, heard, interacted with and purchased. In these environments music is not listened to passively, it becomes an immersive and engaging experience that is changing the nature of the relationship between the hard-core fan and the artist, pulling them closer together in ways that have never been done before.

In the past six months, the number of songs downloaded to the “Rock Band” game has surpassed 10 million tracks, according to MTV Networks, while song downloads from “Guitar Hero” passed 15 million, according to Activision. With more than 100 songs available for download via the “Rock Band” platform, that’s an average of 100,000 downloads per song sold through the game.

The songs that are selling via these video games are a heavy mix of classic rock and metal tracks that account for approximately 80% of sales, but also include new tracks by known and unknown artists trying to break new ground. One example is new metal act Black Tide. When its “Light From Above” CD was released in November, the single “Shockwave” sold only a few hundred copies per week.. The week before being featured as a downloadable song on “Rock Band”, the single sold 1,000 downloads. Two weeks later, download sales doubled. Yet sales on “Rock Band” were 10 times that of those on iTunes and other stores. In the six weeks following the “Rock Band” debut, “Shockwave” sold 6,000 digital downloads via online retailers, compared with an estimated 60,000 downloads via the game.

This is just one example of the way that music is finding new ways to reach an audience – with or without record labels – rising to fill the opportunity. Keep your eyes on the video game space to see how it evolves further as a catalyst for music exploration, discovery and distribution.

Check out this Wikipedia page on the songs available in Rock Band.

We Welcome Your Comments

Comments

12 replies
  1. Seth Tehan says:

    When I went to SXSW in 2004 they spoke specifically about how music would be more integrated into video games, by God they were right. I suppose it’s hard for a video game company to pirate a license to use the song so this is probably one of the other ways labels will make some skrill once music is available for free.

  2. Seth Tehan says:

    When I went to SXSW in 2004 they spoke specifically about how music would be more integrated into video games, by God they were right. I suppose it’s hard for a video game company to pirate a license to use the song so this is probably one of the other ways labels will make some skrill once music is available for free.

  3. Seth Tehan says:

    When I went to SXSW in 2004 they spoke specifically about how music would be more integrated into video games, by God they were right. I suppose it’s hard for a video game company to pirate a license to use the song so this is probably one of the other ways labels will make some skrill once music is available for free.

  4. brentalicious says:

    Music licensing is a major revenue source for artists. I know that the value of PRO’s are often debated but when you combine a licensing fee with performance royalties you begin to build a substantial revenue model.

    These video games are leading the charge and there are many more of them. From on line games to single player, the amount of content being produced is staggering. Artists that are able to position themselves in this stream of media stand to do very well.

  5. Terra says:

    I disagree that the music is really becoming emersive. If anything it is simply the background to the game, sure people enjoy playing their favourite songs, but in the end it is the game that matters, not the songs. The game may boost sales but as the stats show people are buying more songs in-game – they’re not interested in a new song, but a new level.

  6. Terra says:

    I disagree that the music is really becoming emersive. If anything it is simply the background to the game, sure people enjoy playing their favourite songs, but in the end it is the game that matters, not the songs. The game may boost sales but as the stats show people are buying more songs in-game – they’re not interested in a new song, but a new level.

  7. Barrett says:

    The fees paid to recording artists for the use of their master recordings in video games is dismal. Exposure is the real benefit artists get with video game placements.

    For example, a song placed in Madden Football will generate around $2,000 for the artist from licensing fees. The real benefit is over a billion impressions from that placement!

  8. Seth Tehan says:

    Yeah but what about these new games coming out. Guitar Hero-Aerosmith and Guitar Hero-Metallica. What kind of revenue will these bands see off of these releases? Are games going to be the wave of the future and not albums? ha!

  9. Seth Tehan says:

    Yeah but what about these new games coming out. Guitar Hero-Aerosmith and Guitar Hero-Metallica. What kind of revenue will these bands see off of these releases? Are games going to be the wave of the future and not albums? ha!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] tidbits regarding the power of guitar games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band, in his post at The Future of Music. One reason why posts like this are important to read as you plan your music career is because […]

  2. […] tidbits regarding the power of guitar games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band, in his post at The Future of Music. One reason why posts like this are important to read as you plan your music career is because […]

  3. […] tidbits regarding the power of guitar games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band, in his post at The Future of Music. One reason why posts like this are important to read as you plan your music career is because […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply