Viacom is going all in on its hopes that The Beatles: Rock Band will be a huge seller.
We all knew that using The Beatles in a Rock Band game couldn't have been cheap, and not surprisingly, it wasn't. The LA Times has revealed that Viacom guaranteed The Beatles' rights holders a minimum of $10 million, with another $40 million if The Beatles: Rock Band meets sales expectations. According to Martin Bandier, chairman of Sony/ATV Music Publishing: "The royalty rates on this are not even comparable to anything that has been done before."
Set to release on September 9, The Beatles: Rock Band looks to do more than just shove another band into a music game. The mythos and psychedelic imagery behind The Beatles' journey, and the eventual phenomenon that they became, are incorporated in an attempt to at least make the game appear different than the rest. I have purchased a Guitar Hero and Rock Band title from time to time, eventually getting bored after a day or two as they degenerate into memorization exercises (they're lots of fun, but just not lasting experiences for me personally), but even I am interested to try The Beatles: Rock Band.
So, maybe The Beatles: Rock Band will bring the music game genre out of its current rut? The LA Times states that according to the NPD Group, "sales of musichave plunged 46% in the U.S. this year." Rock Band has been a "consistent money loser" for Viacom, mostly due to manufacturing and shipping costs of its instruments. However, based on initial orders, Scott Guthrie, general manager of MTV Games, expects production costs and the promised $10 million to be recouped on day one. It's The Beatles, after all, the biggest band of all time, so how could it not sell well? You just never know in the current retail landscape.