"Our goal with Rock Band has always been to go beyond making music games and create a true music platform."
—-Alex Rigopulos, Harmonix CEO/Co-Founder


Offer a Way for Bands to Market Their Music Via Online Store, Game Inclusion
Harmonix Music Systems and MTV Games hope they have the next iTunes on their hands.

The companies have announced an initiative that gives musicians and record labels the ability to author their own original recordings into gameplay files and sell their music as playable tracks through a Music Store. This allows emerging and established artists to use videogames to give them more exposure, while opening up new revenue streams and promotional avenues.

"Our goal with Rock Band has always been to go beyond making music games and create a true music platform," said Harmonix CEO/co-founder Alex Rigopulos. "With the Rock Band Network, we've evolved the platform to its next logical step, giving players access to an incredible amount of new music by putting the professional tools we use in the hands of the artists themselves."
Added MTV's SVP Electronic Games and Music Paul DeGooyer: "The Rock Band Network enables songwriters and musiciansat any stage of their careersto create their own paths through the interactive music realm. Our download store has been an extraordinary success, and it’s exciting for us to provide access to our platform through this uniquely elegant solution."

The Rock Band Network will launch as an open beta late next month in the U.S. with a sophisticated toolset that includes detailed documentation on how bands can begin the process of authoring songs into Rock Band gameplay files. Authors will be able to submit tracks for playtesting and peer review via a specialized site, www.CreatorsRockBand.com.

Publishers will need a membership to Microsoft’s XNA Creators Club Online in order to test and publish game content, which is available for four months at $49.99 or a year at $99.99. Knew there'd be a catch, didn't ya?

“The proven strength and stability of Microsoft’s game development tools, technologies and services allowed Harmonix to focus on making an easy-to-use experience for authors without needing to reinvent the wheel,” said Dave Mitchell, product unit manager, XNA publishing platform. “Rock Band Network is a model example of integration with XNA Creators Club Online.”

Once tracks are approved, they will be transferred to the Rock Band Network Store, an in-game music marketplace where millions of Rock Band fans will be able to demo samples of the songs for free before they purchase. Songs will debut exclusively on Xbox 360 for 30 days. Artists featured in the store will be able to choose from multiple pricing tiers for individual tracks and will be compensated via a simple payment system that provides automated accounting and regular royalty payments.

Tracks for the Rock Band Network will be made available later in the fall on the Xbox 360 video game entertainment system from Microsoft. Stand out tracks will follow for PlayStation 3 and Wii.

Joining the more than 750 tracks available to date, the Rock Band Network Store will greatly increase the amount of music available through the Rock Band music platform.