Warner Music says game makers need to pay up

Record company CEO says licensing fees paid to the music industry by game companies are "far too small."


Although the unequivocal success of the Rock Band and Guitar Hero franchises is certainly good for MTV Games' and Activision Blizzard's businesses, the two companies have found themselves in an arms race to satisfy their audiences' seemingly insatiable demand for new songs.

For MTV Games and Harmonix, this situation has led to an impressive library of downloadable tracks that will push Rock Band 2's total possible tracklist past 500 by the time it's released for the Xbox 360 in September. Activision Blizzard, on the other hand, has primarily opted for stand-alone tribute games to augment its flagship Guitar Hero franchise, including the recently released Guitar Hero: Aerosmith.

Regardless of how the music is distributed, it may begin to cost more for the game makers to deliver some of those songs. Warner Music Group has said that it wants to charge music-game purveyors more to license songs for their games, as reported by Reuters. "The amount being paid to the music industry, even though their games are entirely dependent on the content we own and control, is far too small," said Warner Music CEO Edgar Bronfman to the news outlet.

Warner Music is the third-largest music company in the world. The group represents a ranging number of artists, many of whom have or will appear in editions of Harmonix's and Activision's rhythm games, including Jane's Addiction, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Linkin Park, AC/DC, The Cure, and many more. Activision Blizzard parent company Vivendi SA owns in whole the world's largest music company, Universal Music Group.

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