Speaking at the 2009 CES (Consumer Electronics Show), Harmonix CEO Alex Rigopulos said the company is "very much" interested in the idea of offering music people can listen to on their PCs or MP3 players alongside the tracks the company sells for Rock Band. "People want to buy recorded music," he said. "I think it does make a lot of sense to find ways to offer up the game level along with a recorded version of the song as a single offering."
According to Ars Technica, Harmonix is "actively considering" bundling Rock Band levels with conventional music for sale as a single package. Rigopulos suggested that a partnership with another company to create such packages is one possible approach to the matter, although he didn't name any companies he's specifically interested in hooking up with.
I hope I can be forgiven for wondering why this hasn't been happening for years. It looks like a winning proposition for everyone: Musicians get even more exposure to new audiences, Harmonix opens up an entirely new revenue stream and music labels might even be able to address the perceived injustices of the licensing deals they currently have in place with game publishers. In fact, that may be the only thing holding Harmonix back: The fact that the music publishers probably won't be quite so willing to just sign whatever deal is thrown at them this time around.