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Rock Band and Guitar Hero raking it in, Warner Music not so much

by Steven Williamson on 8 August 2008, 10:09

Tags: Rock Band, Guitar Hero, Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA), RedOctane, Xbox 360, PS2, PS3, Action/Adventure

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Warner Music is complaining that it's not getting enough cash from royalties for tracks from its artists that appear in Guitar Hero and Rock Band.

The rant came from Warner Musics' Q3 earnings call:

Games have enormous opportunity, and proves we have future business in non-traditional formats. But we have to be very careful that we do not allow an eco-system to occur where we do not get compensated properly. Like what happened with MTV, and now with Apple. And now [game developers] Activision and Harmonix [owned by Viacom] are in the same place.

Amounts being paid to music industry for downloads, etc. "far too small". Industry needs to participate much more fully. If that does not become the case, "we will not license to those games." Very small license fee per song, plus additional revenue if artist involved. But royalties far below what true value is.


Sounds like a threat to us. You'd think that it'd see these games as a promotional tool for its artists and songs. There's been a number of tunes and bands in Guitar Hero in particular that we'd never heard of if it wasn't for the exposure in the game.

A two-fingered salute would be the right approach from developer's Activision and Harmonix. They don't need the Warner Bros catalogue of artists to make either of these games a success. It's only Warner Music that will be affected by its own greed if its not careful.

Source :: Reuters


HEXUS Forums :: 5 Comments

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Not exactly about Warner there, but close enough. ;) If they have their way, they simply lose all the money they're getting now, and we'll probably get more indie acts in the games. Suits me, tbh
Considering WB have no active input in the game devlopment (AFAIK), if they want to make more money from these games then they should work with the developers, not against them.

I'm guessing Sony BMG get a fair royalty rate from the Singstars franchise for instance…:rolleyes:
AS far as I see, these games sell so many copies anyway surely the knock-on effect of sales is worth it alone.

I bought the Stone Temple Pilots album, purely because I played one track on GH. Never heard of them before (not sure if they're a WB band).
Not exactly about Warner there, but close enough. ;) If they have their way, they simply lose all the money they're getting now, and we'll probably get more indie acts in the games. Suits me, tbh

I couldn't agree with you more. Though I don't know if they will actually go bankrupted :)
But that's exactly where YouLicense.com, which is the open online music licensing marketplace comes in to play. YouLicense lets indie artists interact with video game makers and allows them to quickly and inexpensively license their music. major record companies are entitled to demand any amount of money they wish. But it's up to game makers to open up and try out different resources. That can and will change the face of the industry as we know it.
I'll think I'll add my 2p to this now :)

When Rock Band was first launched I bit the bullet and got the full RB game, the full kit and then RB2 game when it came out.

I swore blind that I wasn't going to be getting any “DLC” as I couldn't justify it really.

Fast Forward to now and I'm sat here looking at the release lists of the DLC for rock band each week planning on what tracks I'll be getting to play once my internet access is sorted as a few quid per track which you can play over and over again is starting to look like pretty good value, especially if your like me and have a hour or so of play every day or so.