Bands Are Making A Killing In Videogames

Bands Are Making A Killing In Videogames

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Major music labels may not be thrilled with current videogame licensing deals but many of the bands have a different perspective: Aerosmith made more money from Guitar Hero: Aerosmith than it did from either of its last two albums.

Publishing labels earn some royalties from games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band, but a new AP report (via Yahoo! Finance) says they often lose out on income from "image and likeness" licensing deals, which are usually controlled directly by the band. Videogame sales are still only a fraction of music sales, but music sales are continuing to decline while game sales experience phenomenal growth, a trend that's expected to continue. As a result, music-based videogames have become a new priority for many bands.

The release of Guitar Hero: Aerosmith earned the band more money than either of its last two albums, according to Kai Huang, president of Guitar Hero publisher RedOctane. "That kind of exposure artists can get through the Guitar Hero platform is huge," he said. But for the labels, it's a different story: One anonymous executive said that while bands are experiencing a videogame windfall, a "typical record company" makes more money from one album that sells three million copies than it does from all its videogame revenues combined.

But music publishers continue to play along, largely because they have no choice. "There are literally probably 2 million songs out there, and fewer than 1,000 were used in these two games combined in these last two years," said Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter. "If Warner wants to say, 'We'll take our 20 percent of the market and go away,' a lot of bands are going to leave the label if they think they can get better exposure by being on these games."

Even without their own special editions of videogame releases, bands like Nirvana and the Red Hot Chili Peppers have seen their music sales more than double after being released in videogame format, and some groups are now premiering new releases in videogame format. Not only does it give increased exposure to bands, but as Rock Band enthusiast Grant Lau pointed out, it also protects them from piracy. "It's a way to save the music industry," he said. "You actually have to buy the music. You can't just rip it and put it on Limewire." Fellow fan Tan Doan added that he bought The All-American Rejects CD after discovering the band through the game.

And despite some dissatisfaction with the current arrangements, Huang said most parties involved recognized the mutual benefits of the music game genre. "We still have great relationships with most of the (music) industry. We continue to really benefit each other," he said. "At the end of the day it's about creating a great game for the users. We'll figure this stuff out."

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Oh, and the games cost six times as much as a CD on iTunes. That might have something to do with it.

Just wait until Guitar Hero: Metallica.

Bands like Aerosmith must be glad that they don't have to pretend to believe in their new music anymore if they can just rehash the oldies for more scratch.

What sucks is that guitar hero is a three-edged sword.

a) bands who have good stuff don't have to make anything new (bad)
b) bands who aren't very well-known get their rise to fame with it i.e. Dragonforce (eh)
c) old bands who are losing luster i.e. most '60s and '70s bands get popular again (good)

EDIT: what would a three edged sword be called? Please answer that.

4thegreatergood:
What sucks is that guitar hero is a three-edged sword.

a) bands who have good stuff don't have to make anything new (bad)
b) bands who aren't very well-known get their rise to fame with it i.e. Dragonforce (eh)
c) old bands who are losing luster i.e. most '60s and '70s bands get popular again (good)

EDIT: what would a three edged sword be called? Please answer that.

The Tri Force. *badumtsh!*

Hah, good one.

4thegreatergood:
Just wait until Guitar Hero: Metallica.

If Rick's next LP have lots of rock elements, it wouldn't be too farfetched if the next game was called Guitar Hero: Rick Astley.

Just imagine nailing that intro in never gonna give you up.

4thegreatergood:
What sucks is that guitar hero is a three-edged sword.

a) bands who have good stuff don't have to make anything new (bad)
b) bands who aren't very well-known get their rise to fame with it i.e. Dragonforce (eh)
c) old bands who are losing luster i.e. most '60s and '70s bands get popular again (good)

EDIT: what would a three edged sword be called? Please answer that.

Dragonforce would be a bad example due to a rather large metal fan base already. A better example would be Freezepop, who still do most of their own publicity.

Thanks, I was looking for a better example.

That actually makes sense. Bands only get maybe 50c tops for every record sold, they probably got like 2 or so dollars for every game sold. Plus its a lot more fun to actually play along with Aerosmith than just listen to it.

And yet they still countinue to abuse their fanbase and sue them when they dare download a song they made 3 years ago.

Woo! Go recording industry!

Am I the only one who thinks that bands may be putting too much hope in music games as a future revenue stream? Sure, they're popular now, but they just seem like something that has all the trappings of a fad. They're fun and all, but I don't know how much longer banging on a guitar-shaped controller pretending to be a rock star will be the kind of experience that people are willing to spend lots of cash for.

Plus, the amount of music someone can consume via a medium like music games is much, much smaller than traditional channels (even as they dry up). Playing music in a game takes a lot of repetition - you're not going to be exposed to the same quantity of tunes as even the most boilerplate top-40 station from the 80s, and most people (even fans of the games) just want to listen to music rather than participate with it. It's a niche market no matter how you slice it.

 

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