MTV is doing a big solid for independent musicians looking to get their music available on the Rock Band videogame. Later this year MTV will debut Rock Band Network, which will make possible for any artist to submit songs for potential addition to the game.
The Rock Band Network recently started a closed beta trial, which Harmonix and MTV Games expects to increase to a public beta test in August; they hope to open the Network store before 2010.
Authors will be able to submit tracks for play-testing and peer review via a specialized Web site, Creators.RockBand.com.
The new songs will have their own store, separate from the current Rock Band store, and be available for download to users of Microsoft’s Xbox 360. Look for music availability on the Sony PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii game systems down the road.
“We’ve figured out how to make it so anybody who owns and controls masters and publishing can put music into ["Rock Band"] at their own pace,” says MTV Games senior VP of electronic games and music Paul DeGooyer.
“We’re talking about a set of serious professional tools to allow people on the front line of writing and recording songs to completely control their destiny with respect to interactive products and then giving them direct access to the download store.”
Artists and labels will submit songs to a community of Harmonix-trained freelance game developers and programmers who will set-up the tracks for Rock Band. Labels can also either hire trained developers or school their existing employees to do the work in-house.
Once tracks are approved, they will be transferred to the Rock Band Network Store, an in-game music marketplace where 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.
“Our goal with Rock Band has always been to go beyond making music games and create a true music platform,” said Alex Rigopulos, CEO and co-founder of Harmonix. “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.”
So far, Harmonix developers have made about 700 songs available to download and play on the game.