Harmonix mulling song bundling

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

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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.
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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