Harmonix mulling song bundling

Rock Band maker interested in selling playable tracks and non-game renditions together for one price.

For a company that wasn't party to last year's E3 Media & Business Summit, Activision Blizzard made its fair share of news. Just before the show, CEO Bobby Kotick signaled his interest in creating a "viable alternative" to Apple's iTunes, saying, "If you're downloading a song to play on your Guitar Hero, there's no reason why you can't download the performance also." The move would be made all the more easy thanks to Activision's new parent company, Vivendi SA, which owns the world's largest record label, Universal Music Group.

Maestro Rigopulos.

The idea of selling a song alongside its playable counterpart has apparently also occurred to Activision's archrival in the rhythm game genre, Harmonix. As reported by Ars Technica, Harmonix cofounder Alex Rigopulos expressed optimism toward the possibility during a session at this year's Consumer Electronics Show.

"People want to buy recorded music," said Rigopulos. "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." Rigopulos reportedly went on to say that any move along these lines would "change the tenor" of the company's dealings with record labels, but he noted that Harmonix is open to distributing playable levels alongside an actual recording that can be listened to outside of the game.

While tech giants Microsoft and Sony were reluctant to use the CES stage for gaming-related announcements, Rigopulos has been vocal about his company's direction in the coming months and years. Yesterday, the exec said that Harmonix would be giving its Rock Band franchise a year off so as to devote its full attention to the upcoming Beatles game, due this fall. Harmonix does, however, intend to continue its weekly releases of new downloadable song packs.

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Discussion

76 comments
darklotus1775
darklotus1775

would be great for bands that still wanted to sell cds to include rockband/guitar hero renditions on their physical discs.

randomgod
randomgod

sounds fair, doubt there would be any complaints to it

-Squirrel-
-Squirrel-

I like this, as long as they don't double the song price. Buying a song just once and then being able to play or listen to it would make obtaining music a bit simpler. It would be even better if they included note charts in every CD so you could just pop it in your 360, rip the songs, and have the notes to play it in Guitar Hero as well.

Genexi2
Genexi2

If it doesn't add to the DLC price I'm game, but otherwise, I'll just stick to other means of getting my music either off a CD or straight to my PC through a proper channel. I don't mind paying $2-3 for a song in Rock Band given how much time it takes for a developer to nail the note tracks down for every note in the song across 4 types of control inputs, as well as dealing with all the fun of lip-syncing and controlling the stage antics to go with the music. Excluding the price of licensing the actual song for use in the game.

hairdie
hairdie

YEAH LOTS ALL PAY TWICE TO LISTEN TO A SONG WE ALREADY HAVE YEAH THATS A GREAT IDEA!!!!!

drewciferpike
drewciferpike

I'm in the same camp as most of you: DLC price should remain the same, or I'm not biting. My big concern is quality... if the tracks are only available in 128 (vs. 312 or lossless), I'll stick to buying albums the old way. Why play crappified music when you don't have to?

payne6705
payne6705

the only thing I hear is that it costs more because u get more

thrashunreal
thrashunreal

Kind of pointless, but I suppose it's a neat idea...

4quarters
4quarters

I'd like to see unlockable videos of the bands for completing a song.

Zidaneski
Zidaneski

I've been wondering how long it would take for this to happen. Its a decent bonus and shouldn't cost extra at all. If it does cost extra then its not a big deal for me cause the only good songs on Rockband for me are the ones I already bought anyways.

twisted_sith
twisted_sith

cool i hope it's backwards compatable to songs we've already bought though

TheDecoy2124
TheDecoy2124

I don't really think the ideas anything special but I guess some could get a use out of it.

RD1109
RD1109

I agree with "clauwman"

crunchb3rry
crunchb3rry

If they wanted to grow both industries, they'd just have tokens so you could get the opposite format 100% free. They'd be halfway there with the 360 since code input is possible, but iTunes/Amazon have no way of redeeming tokens from what I can tell. I, for one, would absolutely LOVE to get the real song if I bought some DLC, but would not bother if it wasn't free. Heck, you could theoretically buy the DLC and get the song for less than a dollar. So if they charged more than a buck they'd be wasting everyone's time, especially their own.

clauwman
clauwman

If this "new idea" raises the the price of DLC, I give it two thumbs way down...

Jshaw71
Jshaw71

selling a song that's rockband, or guitar hero enabled would be cool, and sounds like a good idea to me, thanks for the news...

Tyril132
Tyril132

I agree with Andrew LL. The only addition to their cost is a potential difference in associated licensing fees. I get the feeling their idea for bundling the original performance media with the playable game content is going to involve consumers having to pay twice for the same song. It's difficult to imagine them wanting to give them to us for free, so whether or not such actually becomes commercially viable depends on how much deeper they expect us to dig into our pockets.

Andrew_LL
Andrew_LL

The best way for them to handle this would to sell them for the same price. If you think about it, how much does it cost to provide mp3s? Almost nothing. It's not like you getting anything physical, just a file, a file you could otherwise get for free on certain programs/sites.

otanikun
otanikun

Sounds nice, but should have been done before RB2; just wonder how they're going to try and bundle them, should provide a few cheap laughs.

sagameister3
sagameister3

Sounds like a step in the right direction.

PS3Champ
PS3Champ

I would buy more songs if they were to do this. But I wonder... would this also apply to the disc songs? If so, I'm sure sales of Rock Band and Guitar Hero would go up a lot, same with the amount of songs downloaded. So... what are they waiting for? DO IT! :D

Hydrolix
Hydrolix

This is a great idea that could either be awesome or horribly abused by the industry.

StJimmy15
StJimmy15

master dj, one or more instruments would be missing if you did that....

gbbrocks
gbbrocks

I just hope the downloaded songs could be moved to your PC.

maverick_76
maverick_76

This would be pretty cool, I'd definitely buy my music this way.

jazilla
jazilla

boo, this will mean a price hike.

PatchMaster
PatchMaster

What if they put vouchers for playable songs in CD cases? You could go and buy your favorite band's new album and get a playable version of their biggest single. That would boost album sales and possibly rock band purchases.

redskinStu
redskinStu

They have to put in great songs like Metalhead by Blotto, and Forged in Fire by Anvil!

solideagle13
solideagle13

That would be awesome if they could use Zune accounts (that are linked to Gamertags) and update them with the songs that you buy. Seems like a stretch but maybe.

king23_
king23_

I agree with Puh. If it's free, no problem. If they bump up the price though, we'll have some problems.

PuhJesus
PuhJesus

As long as you can purchase the RB track SEPERATELY from the mp3.. or if they give you the mp3 for no additional cost i'm alright.. but i'm not going to pay anymore than I already am for these tracks.

necronaux
necronaux

Why not add playable game tracks to CDs and DVDs? Buy the new Batman move, get some limited release songs for GH... I know they "could" do it, I remember playing some Lucas Game demos on my xbox a few years ago (as bonus content on several different DVDs).

GamerKT
GamerKT

Haha, that's creative, Masterdj.

KWHCoaster
KWHCoaster

Game track + MP3 bundle? No sale. I'm not paying for a MP3 when I already have the track on my store bought CD.

Masterdj1992
Masterdj1992

He he, in RB2 my buddy puts a song list, puts it on no fail, then leaves it alone to play through the speakers.

Killer2401
Killer2401

Great idea, but I would want a choice too.

N-One
N-One

Good idea, GH has the resources (& the money), now use them.

XFoogyX
XFoogyX

meh. i wouldn't bother buying the music along with the game track, but I guess it would be cool to have the option. I'd much rather buy the game track, then go out and buy the cd, so I can have a physical copy in my hands.

rynocerator
rynocerator

The reason that they cannot allow songs to be made out of your own .mp3s is the tremendous legal implications that follow. You're basically asking EA and Neversoft to buy the liscensing right to every song that has an .mp3 ever made on Earth. It's just not going to ever happen. Just like no vocals in GH: World Tour's music studio.

RoboWizard
RoboWizard

It would be nice if someone would come along and make a Guitar Hero / Rock Band clone that allows users to make playable "levels" or what have you out of their own .mp3s. The modding community has been doing it for a while with Guitar Hero II it seems, so the concept is more than solid, just seems there's not enough money in it for the big players like EA and Activision-Blizzard, but hopefully some entrepreneurship will see it through.

gmagnus
gmagnus

"I don't buy dlc for this reason, that you don't own the song outside of the game" Why? If you download a track for a racing game, should they send you a few miles of asphalt, too? RB and GH "songs" are just levels, just like racing game "tracks" are just levels. There's no reason to expect to get the real thing it's based around for buying a level. Just becuase they call it a "song" doesn't mean you're entitled to a real song any more than buying a "track" or "car" entitles you to a real life race track or car.

mastertony88
mastertony88

2deluxe stating the real facts and people not liking it...I couldn't agree with this person more. Why hide the comment when its true hmmmmmm...

faceman420
faceman420

good idea, b/c I've had times where I've wanted to listen to certain RB artists on my mp3 player, but I only usually buy music when I get it on cd.