Report: Guitar Hero III spurs digital song sales

Weekly sales for Strokes, Sonic Youth, and Slipknot tracks included in Activision's latest triple over release period.

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SIDEBAR: With more than 70 songs in Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock and 1.4 million copies of the game sold in the US in its first six days on sale, there are doubtlessly a wealth of people being introduced to new songs by the game. Apparently a significant chunk of those gamers like what they're hearing, because Ars Technica is reporting that a number of tracks included in the game have seen their sales skyrocket on digital music services like iTunes.

Citing Nielsen Soundscan data provided by an unnamed source "close inside the music industry," the tech-centric site said the data clearly showed that Guitar Hero III was pushing digital sales of the songs on its tracklist. In the two weeks surrounding Guitar Hero III's late October release, Soundscan data showed that weekly sales of songs from The Strokes, Sonic Youth, The Sleeping, and Slipknot increased sharply, between roughly 200 and 300 percent. After that launch period, the Soundscan data showed that the growth leveled off, but sales still remained near their elevated levels.

One factor that likely contributed to those sales figures is the iTunes Guitar Hero Essentials collection, which was promoted on the music store's front page in the week before the Legends of Rock launch. The collection compiles songs from every installment of the Guitar Hero franchise in one place for easy access--and purchase.

"It doesn't appear to matter if you're in the main game or are a bonus song; huge gains are seen everywhere," the source told Ars Technica. "As long as your song ships with the game and you offer the track to be downloaded digitally, you see an increase."

The same could not be said of album sales. Although some albums with singles featured in the game (Weezer's 1994 debut album) did see sales increases of 47 percent, Queens of the Stone Age's Era Vulgaris, released this past June, showed no such signs of growth.

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