When Rock Band was first announced in April 2007, Harmonix founder Alex Rigopoulos laid out his ambition for the project, saying the developer had "very big plans for building out a huge library of online expansion content." That ambition has been soundly realized, as this week the Rock Band platform reached a new milestone, with 1,000 songs available on disc or as downloadable content.
That tally spans songs from Rock Band, Rock Band 2, Lego Rock Band, the PSP adaptation Rock Band Unplugged, and hundreds of downloadable songs that can be played across multiple games. It also includes the retail-exclusive AC/DC track pack's 18 songs, but omits The Beatles: Rock Band, as that game and its downloadable content are not compatible with the rest of the Rock Band series. A full list of Rock Band's 1,000 songs is available on the game's official Web site.
Rock Band's catalog has even surpassed that of its main competition (and Harmonix's previous project), Guitar Hero. Activision's official Guitar Hero music catalog lists roughly 830 songs available across the five main installments of the series, spin-offs like Band Hero and Guitar Hero Rocks the '80s, the Guitar Hero On Tour DS games, band-specific titles for Aerosmith and Metallica, and downloadable offerings. The Activision catalog page includes neither DJ Hero nor Guitar Hero: Van Halen, which includes 44 tracks and will be released in stores December 22. (The game was also sent out early to purchasers of Guitar Hero 5 as part of a since-expired promotion.)
Since Rock Band debuted November 20, 2007, Harmonix has supported the game with 105 consecutive weeks of new downloadable content. The offerings run the gamut from full album downloads like Judas Priests' Screaming for Vengeance to novelty freebies like Stephen & the Colberts' faux '80s stalker anthem "Charlene (I'm Right Behind You)."
At the moment, Pearl Jam is the best represented band in the series, with 25 songs available for download, and a 26th track, "Alive," available on the Rock Band 2 setlist. The Foo Fighters are close behind with 25 songs (22 downloadable and one on-disc track for each console installment of the series). That gap is likely to expand, as Pearl Jam in May invited fans to vote on their favorite versions of more than 40 different songs for inclusion in an unspecified "Rock Band project" to be released in 2010.
The Seattle rockers won't be the only ones seeing a surge in the Rock Band game's downloadable catalog. Harmonix and MTV Games have announced a do-it-yourself way for bands to get their music into the game with the Rock Band Network Music Store. When that project does launch (it's currently slated as "coming soon"), the companies said it will "exponentially increase the number of songs available."
For more on the latest addition to the Rock Band line, check out GameSpot's review of Lego Rock Band.