Activision Boss: Music Industry Should Be Paying Us

Activision Boss: Music Industry Should Be Paying Us

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Now that he's had some time to mull it over, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick thinks the music industry is getting off a little too easy with the current Guitar Hero licensing deal, and that maybe it's time for music publishers to start paying him to use their music.

In August, Warner Music CEO Edgar Bronfman criticized the current licensing arrangements between the music industry and companies developing and publishing music-based games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band, saying, "The amount begin paid to the music industry, even though their games are entirely dependent on the content we own and control, is far too small." Kotick responded by saying Bronfman's comments failed to take into account how those games had introduced various acts to entirely new audiences. "We're introducing a whole new group of artists to new audiences that is resulting in their iTunes downloads being exponentially higher than they would otherwise be, [as well as] new album sales and new merchandising opportunities," he claimed.

Now that he's had more time to think things over, it appears Kotick is willing to go even further in that regard, suggesting in a Wall Street Journal interview (via GameDaily) that the music industry is enjoying huge benefits resulting from the popularity of music-based videogames, and that maybe it's time to start paying for it.

"We compensate artists and publishers extremely well. There are millions and millions of dollars that are being made and paid," he said. "There's a misunderstanding of the value we bring to the catalog. What happens to your catalog in digital downloads? What happens to your merchandise? What happens to your ticket sales? When you look at the impact it can have an on Aerosmith, Van Halen or Metallica, it's really significant, so much so that you sort of question whether or not, in the case of those kinds of products, you should be paying any money at all and whether it should be the reverse."

He also rejected the idea that Guitar Hero is "entirely dependent" on licensed music for its success. "We have lots of music to choose from, lots of artists to choose from," he continued. "A 12-year-old kid has no idea who Steven Tyler is or who Aerosmith is. The bulk of our consumers will tell you they're not purchasing the products based on the songs that are included. They're purchasing based on how fun the songs are to play when they're playing them."

Kotick has a point: In May it was announced that the new Motley Crue single "Saints of Los Angeles," which had been released exclusively in digital format, had been downloaded 47,000 times during its first week of availability at the Rock Band music store, while downloads from conventional MP3 sites like Amazon and iTunes added up to just over 10,000.

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I think Kotick needs to do a little research on payola.

Really, I have to side with the game developers knowing just how much renewed popularity a game can give a band. GTA3 Vice City is my proof, as all the classic 80's tunes from the game have done a major resurgance in airtime with local stations.

As long as the bands get paid if the game releases a soundtrack, then they really shouldn't get much for including their music in a game because if they wanted that kind of mass exposure elsewhere it would be costing them a fortune as opposed to earning them a little extra.

Look at how popular DragonForce became after Guitar Hero 3. Everyone knew who they where.

The man has a point.

"The amount begin paid to the music industry

Shouldn't that be "The amount being paid..." not "begin"? ;o

Look at how popular DragonForce became after Guitar Hero 3. Everyone knew who they where.

The man has a point.

To be fair, Dragonforce were at least on Kerrang! and Scuzz music channels 'fairly' regularly GH3 was released/track list announced. They weren't exactly invisible. There's no denying that they're better known thanks to GH3, but the way you sounded (in my head, anyway) made it seem like you were implying no one had any idea who they were.

I think we should be paid revenues for acting as advertising media. Doubt it'll happen though.

I think it should work both ways, if the song (or songs) has been released to the public in form of an album than yes the "publisher" should buy the song(s). But if a song(s) has not been released, excluding singles and EPs, than the music company should "sell it" to developers to put in their games as they would be "advertised" to gamers, like they do with radio companies.

I see and understand Activision's point but good luck getting that to work for you.

Rajin Cajun:
I see and understand Activision's point but good luck getting that to work for you.

Exactly what I was thinking. In addition to the notion that if they did use this system, then we might end up w/ a lot more songs that none of us care about on GH.

[PLEASE PARDON MY GRAMMER, FOR IT IS 3 in the morning]

This is not a good sign. Ive been noticing this kind of thing lately.

It used to be fun with games. Now its a business.
I would be wrong to say that video games were never a business.
No.
they were.
But never like this.
I remember when news about games used to be about what feature
will be in what game and who is pissed off about what mod. Not anymore.
To think that those days were considered bad days. I laugh now.

It makes me wonder how we let this happen to our beloved medium. How we let these
suits come in here and transform our loves into dried up old hags begging for rest.
I can no longer tell my self that games are made for entertainment. I can't lie to myself
like that. Games are for making money now. It's not about content anymore, is it? I mean to us, the gamer, it is, but for these guys its just an income. They dont care if the video game character does crack and is fueled by infants. As long as there is a increasing sale of those type of games, These guys will sign anyone up to make the next "Baby eating crackhead 5:Rehab". Whats worse is, is that they are good at it. Obviously. The only other 5+ games that come to mind are either Final Fantasy, Resident Evil, Sonic and....Mario(?). And Sonic is horrible now.

Yet we accept this as our medium's new face job.Why? Because we have to. In order to keep our love fed, we must -in turn- pay the piper. We grind our teeth as the electronic pimps raised the prices on our fix. We grind our teeth as there is constant in-fighting about who owns the rights to what game -which in turn, causes a game delay-. We grind our teeth until they are just gums.

What's worse, is that there is no one in the major media (by that I mean television and magazines) that are willing to say something. It's "This company is a subsidary of the company that owns us so we can't say anything bad about this game". Damage control is what it is. They don't say a THING about any of this trendy type of game style that is being released.

Now by trendy, I mean Fable 2. Fable 2 was supposed to be for gamers that didn't even play games. PM said it himself. look it up. PEOPLE WHO DONT EVEN PLAY GAMES WONT PLAY THIS GAME BECAUSE THEY DONT PLAY GAMES. There is nothing said about this in any review on tv. Infact,
The game gets a 5/5 on G4tv.

http://g4tv.com/games/xbox-360/55055/Fable-2/review/

Fable 2 was far from perfect!!!
(for my complete list of stuff wrong with it, go here:
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.107360?page=2#1782520
)

Now, before you hit quote and reply to me about how G4tv doesn't know games, Let me say this -OF COURSE THEY DONT KNOW GAMES!. Ever since G4 was bought out by E!, the decline of the video game presence and creditbility have faultered. Look at the tv guide! right now! seriously, do it, ill wait! look at G4tv's tv show line up. Only 1 and a half hours of video game RELATED (and related is a loose word in the sentence because Aots is a show about technology, not games) content in the entire day! the rest is ninja warrior, cheaters, cops and other stuff that has nothing to do with games. Now you may say that you cant fill out an entire day of tv with video games stuff but I disagree. watch:

Hour 1 am - 3 am: Arcade Classics Hour (have shows on about old arcade games or the history of arcade.
Hour 2 am - 5 am: Game Trailers (have upcoming or new released game trailers. dont tell me that 3 hours is too much. its not. One hour for PS3. One hour for Xbox. One hour for Wii. PC liberally spread in between.
Hour 5 am - 8 am: Game Previews (hands on footage of up coming or new released games while a spokesperson is talking about what will be featured in the game)
Hour 8 am - 9 am: Game News (Aots would be ok here)
Hour 9 am - 10 am: X-play type of show (review games)
Hour 10 am - 12 pm: Game hints (for those who need help)
The rest of the day will be repeats for those who missed the first showing of things.

And you don't even have to have the programs in dense blocks like this, but the content would be better than 1 and a half hours of pseudo-game news.

But I digress.

Games have changed too much for me to notice them. At a party, its not the "gamer nerd who knows every quarter circle back form change move" who is at the control. It's the "jocky douchebag who thinks hes a damn rockstar because of a plastic guitar that is often louder than the actual music on the tv".

Am I alone?

Kotick's a money-grubbing-cock, we get it!

Just paint the Hitler mustache on him and put a cigar in his mouth in the next article on him, go on, Photoshop it, I dare you!

But other than that, Guitar Hero and Rock Band are not games, they're quick-time-events with gimmicky controllers.

No, you are not. Unfortunately, as long as people are willing to satisfy these corporate assholes by purchasing their games the decline is not stopping.

If we have somebody to blame it's both the suit and the sheep.

EDIT: P.S. Guitar Hero was a novelty but not exactly fun.

Mordwyl:

If we have somebody to blame it's both the suit and the sheep.

Exactly!

Yeah. And Activision should be paying us to listen to this asshole run his fucking mouth.

Malygris:

Kotick has a point: In May it was announced that the new Motley Crue single "Saints of Los Angeles," which had been released exclusively in digital format, had been downloaded 47,000 times during its first week of availability at the Rock Band music store, while downloads from conventional MP3 sites like Amazon and iTunes added up to just over 10,000.

This, and the fact that the game is basically free advertising for the songs, is why I go with Kotick on this one.

I'm waiting for the inevitable wave of "KOTICK = HITLER" posts, because someone has to be the hate figure.

EDIT: Whoops, a bit late to the party on that one.

A twelve year old not knowing aerosmith, wrong.

Buying a music game and hating the music in it, wrong.

Bobby Kotic being a greedy douche, correct.

Well I can't say I'm surprised. This is Kotick we're talking about. Now if you'll excuse me I'll wait for Godwin's Law to take effect.

Khell_Sennet:
Really, I have to side with the game developers knowing just how much renewed popularity a game can give a band. GTA3 Vice City is my proof, as all the classic 80's tunes from the game have done a major resurgance in airtime with local stations.

As long as the bands get paid if the game releases a soundtrack, then they really shouldn't get much for including their music in a game because if they wanted that kind of mass exposure elsewhere it would be costing them a fortune as opposed to earning them a little extra.

Hell look at family guy "Bird is The Word" and "Conway Twitty" were pretty much unknown until Family guy played em.

buy teh haloz:
Yeah. And Activision should be paying us to listen to this asshole run his fucking mouth.

I'm going to have to second you on this, that is so true.

While I see his point, it's not going to work and I'm surprised I'm not more on his side because I hate the current state of the music industry today.

Then again this is like "which one of these do you hate the least?"

I do not like this guy. I know that has nothing to do with the situation but he's the kinda coniving douche that shouldn't be let near the press. Hire a PR department and stop mouthing off, idiot.

Mr. Music Industry isn't going to like this overly bold statement from his little brother Mr. Gaming Industry I predict.

 

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