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Music Industry Conflicted On Guitar Hero, Rock Band 140

Posted by Soulskill
from the we-all-know-how-quick-they-are-to-adapt dept.
Wired is running a story about the friction between the music industry and music-based games, such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Despite the fact that these games are very successful and are drawing a great deal of attention to the music represented in the games, the industry is not pleased with the licensing arrangements that allow the games to use their songs. Quoting: "Putting the brakes on music gaming would hurt everyone in the ailing music industry. Instead of demanding greater profit participation, Warner should be angling for creative participation. Thirty years ago, Hollywood took a similar threat — the VCR — and turned it into a new source of revenue, building customer loyalty in the process. The music industry could use new games the same way — but its track record suggests that it won't."
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Music Industry Conflicted On Guitar Hero, Rock Band

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  • The music industry (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @04:14AM (#26979633)

    The music industry shooting iself in the foot?

    Colour me surprised...

    • by meringuoid (568297) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @09:54AM (#26981113)
      The music industry shooting iself in the foot?

      Yes, they are. And yes, this is unbelievably stupid.

      Guys? A clue for you. You've got me paying for music again. The Napster generation, the whole Gen-Y pirate crowd, people who habitually download entire band discographies from The Pirate Bay - these people are falling over themselves to pay you well in excess of the iTunes price per track, because you've made it interactive, you've made it cool. You've worked out how to sell music in the 21st century, and now you're about to break it. Unbelievable.

      • by StikyPad (445176) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @01:56PM (#26984063) Homepage

        Yeah, and paying something like $2.50 PER SONG, as far as downloadable content. I'm pretty sure I paid more for the Rock Band song downloads than I did for the game itself.

      • by Mia'cova (691309)

        Be careful who you praise. It was hardly the music industry that was responsible for GH/RB. It's the gaming industry that has been able to creatively monetize this free information internet era. If the music industry sticks to their guns, we'll be kissing those big players goodbye real quick.

    • by tixxit (1107127) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @10:25AM (#26981387)
      They are already making huge amounts of profits. I think the music industry just feels that that is all the game is; music. For example, a warner exec said, "the amount being paid to the industry, even though their games are entirely dependent on the content that we own and control, is far too small." They don't want to just license their music to the game companies, they're pissed they're not producing and making the games themselves.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by feldicus (1367687)

        I've always gotten the feeling that the music industry is pissed because they can't strongarm the market price for their commodity anymore. Until the rise of file-sharing, they had a much greater hold on the channels of distribution of their goods, which gave them the ability to artificially inflate the price. There were always people copying songs from the radio, or dubbing from one tape to another, but the loss in quality (and the processes involved) made it more attractive to just buy the music from de

      • by Ihmhi (1206036)

        Coming soon to a console near you, RIAAock Band!

        Enjoy the amazing 14 tracks that don't work half the time because the DRM server is down!

        Gawk at the privilege of paying a subscription based fee for songs that were considered played out ten years ago!

        Try exciting DUEL MODE! Can you fatten the pockets of record execs before your opponent does? Use your Purchasing Power to put the game into overdrive and send your score (and our profits!) through the ROOF! (Activation of Purchasing Power requires valid Debit,

      • by pragma_x (644215)

        "they're pissed they're not producing and making the games themselves."

        This is too true. And they should be pissed because they failed to see this coming and capitalize on it. But it's not too late.

        XBOL completely nailed the distribution details down for content updates, and RockBand and GuitarHero can now use the same controllers. The standards have been set, and the kinks worked out. If there was ever a time for any one of the big five to roll out their own game with regular updates, this would be it.

        B

  • Stupid (Score:5, Interesting)

    by religious freak (1005821) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @04:17AM (#26979641)
    If they had any creativity (music industry) or software acumen, they'd be better off now than ever. Yeah, copying songs for free is probably just going to be the way things are, but incorporating them into activities or games is not as easy as clicking a button. Maybe they'll get a clue one day?
    • Maybe (Score:5, Funny)

      by ElMiguel (117685) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @05:40AM (#26979975)

      Maybe they'll get a clue one day?

      Just to be prepared, I've patented a pig repellent. Never know when one of those obnoxious pigs might fly in through your window.

    • Re:Stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

      by langelgjm (860756) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @07:57AM (#26980511) Journal
      There's a fair bit of revisionist history in the summary, too, or at least it's misleading:

      Thirty years ago, Hollywood took a similar threat â" the VCR â" and turned it into a new source of revenue, building customer loyalty in the process.

      I'm sure most people here know it, but Hollywood didn't take the VCR and turn it into a new source of revenue. Universal sued Sony over the Betamax, hoping to litigate it into oblivion, lost, and were dragged kicking and screaming into a new era and way of making money. Remember Jack Valenti's comment about the VCR being to the film industry what the Boston strangler is to the woman at home alone?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Over the objections of its tech-savvy students, the morons leading Houston's School of Communication actually renamed their college after that technophobe.

        http://www.class.uh.edu/comm/
        http://www.class.uh.edu/comm/pages/files/Jack%20Valenti%20media%20hits%20summary.pdf

        It makes me exceptionally embarassed to be one of their graduates. Here I am trying to work to make the world BETTER for copyrighted works, and there they are enshrining someone whose entire point of view was "fuck the consumer."

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by elrous0 (869638) *
        Napster did the same thing with the music industry 20 years later. Without something like Napster, the music industry would have never realized "You mean we can sell our songs in some other format besides: 'Go down to the store and buy a $15 disc'?" The threat of piracy or the consumer simply bypassing their established model is the only thing that ever gets studios off their lazy asses.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Chih (1284150)
          Wait, what? I live in the fricken midwest, and CD's from "label" stores cost $20. I have to get the Walmart version or buy it secondhand to get it for under $15. Not that I've actually bought a $15 CD in the past few years, and the last couple were utterly disappointing
      • Remember Jack Valenti's comment about the VCR being to the film industry what the Boston strangler is to the woman at home alone?

        To be fair to Jack, there are many movies that are so bad I feel like hanging myself after watching them. When in a theater, there's at least a chance for some intervention...

  • Yeah yeah yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by neokushan (932374) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @04:18AM (#26979647)

    Let me rephrase and re-summarise the article:

    Games like Rock Band and Guitar hero are now incredibly popular, so the music industry wants to cash in on it and fleece everyone for every single penny they can.

    • by neokushan (932374)

      Oh and I forgot to add: They're all greedy, money-grabbing bastards.

      • Re:Yeah yeah yeah... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Endo13 (1000782) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @04:26AM (#26979681)

        This is great though, for the public. The reason is, because the RIAA is treading on *dangerously* thin ice here, and apparently they aren't aware. These games work every bit as well and are every bit as fun even if every single song is from an indie group that no one has heard of before. If they don't watch it, they might just get what they're asking for, and they're going to suddenly find the masses discovering whole new sources of indie music that can be had legitimately at a fair market price without hassle, and the RIAA will start to die sooner rather than later. I really hope they do try to push the music game developers. The only people they can possibly hurt are themselves.

        • Re:Yeah yeah yeah... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by neokushan (932374) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @04:33AM (#26979717)

          This is true, actually. I believe the first two guitar hero games came with bonus tracks from some of the developers themselves (I couldn't reliably name names, but I think "Freezepop" was one of them) and they were just as fun to play (if not more) as the rest of the songs on the game.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by davester666 (731373)

            This is SO WRONG.

            I just play the games to listen to music.

            • I just play the games to listen to music.

              If there wasn't already enough irony in that, consider that the *one* thing GH3 can't really do well is playing back the music without requiring interaction.

          • by batkiwi (137781)

            Freezepop is a real band. I remember getting an album of theirs sometime around 2000/2001 from a roommate.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by neokushan (932374)

              Indeed they are and one of it's members is a producer for Harmonix.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              Freezepop was one of the highest profile groups to give blanket permission to Flash Flash Revolution to use their songs, granted back in 2006:
              http://www.flashflashrevolution.com/vbz/showthread.php?t=50599 [flashflashrevolution.com]
              (FFR is, as you might expect, a rhythm game written in Flash patterned after Dance Dance Revolution, except you use arrow keys instead of your feet. It's more fun than it sounds.)

              Full list of artists (mostly independent, to go along with the GGP's point) that have given blanket permission to use their song

          • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            There are a bunch of Harmonix bands" [wikipedia.org] that feature in the first two Guitar Hero games and Rock Band with some great songs, I picked up an album from Honest Bob And The Factory-To-Dealer Incentives off the back of "Hey" in Guitar Hero.

            You've got to have a balance, though. I didn't get Guitar Hero to press coloured buttons in time to songs I'd never heard of, I got it to play Smoke on the Water and Crossroads to a screaming crowd (yes, I'm perfectly aware this is a delusional fantasy; no, I don't care that it

          • by Sta7ic (819090)
            Harmonix employees can be heard in Tribe [wikipedia.org], Bang Camaro [wikipedia.org], Speck, Death of the Cool, Acro-bats, The Konks, and several others. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harmonix_Music_Systems#Employee_bands [wikipedia.org]
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            This is true, actually. I believe the first two guitar hero games came with bonus tracks from some of the developers themselves (I couldn't reliably name names, but I think "Freezepop" was one of them) and they were just as fun to play (if not more) as the rest of the songs on the game.

            You clearly never played the bonus "song" made by one of Rock Band 2 artist.

            It's called Visions [youtube.com] and IMO should never have been part of the default songs. As a free DLC maybe, but not something you need to play to complete the last sets.

          • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

            I bought all three Freezepop albums after hearing them on Guitar Hero. :D

            They've been in both Guitar Hero 1&2, and in Rock Band, and I haven't played them enough to know but I wouldn't be surprised if they were in Guitar Hero: WT and Rock Band 2.

            They rock, and yeah, fun as heck to play. They even had "Trogdor the Burninator" in GH1, THAT was awesome. Rock Band has the Timmy song from South Park, again, fun as heck to play.

            Frankly, the songs I tend to skip are the songs I've heard, unless they are a fa

        • by adavies42 (746183) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @04:49AM (#26979783)
          well, i wouldn't go that far. the beatles rock band edition, if the damn thing ever happens, is going to be a best seller for a very good reason. i'm not sure where the balance is between "fun on its own" and "fun because i know the songs", but it's not at either end for most people.
          • Re:Yeah yeah yeah... (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Endo13 (1000782) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @04:53AM (#26979797)

            Sure, and I'm not saying that's not the case. But if you think the next Rock Band and Guitar Hero games won't sell millions of copies because they didn't use any RIAA songs, you're lying to yourself. People will discover that there's damn good music out there that's not from the RIAA, and that's a genie that is impossible to stuff back into the bottle. Plenty of school kids will buy and play the games regardless of where the music comes from, and word-of-mouth will do the rest.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by adavies42 (746183)
              Reminds me of a filk I wrote a while back:

              This song is your song, this song is my song
              It's not an ASCAP or a BMI song
              It's not a song that demands a royalty
              This song was made for you and me.
          • I bought GH3 knowing that I knew some of the songs and (having played GH2) expecting the game to be fun on its own.

            What I've found that the game being fun doesn't depend much on whether I know the music but whether I like the music.

            Prior to buying the game, I didn't know Eric Johnson. After having played Cliffs of Dover in the game, it's one of the songs I can go back to and play over and over again, just for the fun of playing the song.

            On the other hand, there are some songs I don't like; playing those is

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by EvanED (569694)

          These games work every bit as well and are every bit as fun even if every single song is from an indie group that no one has heard of before.

          Well, this is true to an extent, but not entirely; I'll give three (related) reasons why I partially disagree:

          1. I tend to have more fun playing songs that I like -- not to say that I won't like whatever indie music they put in (I've found a couple songs I liked because of GH and RB), but you have to be careful about putting a lot of unheard of stuff in there because o

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            So I agree that the GH/RB venue is a potential place for indy bands to break out... but I don't think that the companies would be particularly well-served by cranking up the indy music a lot.

            On the other hand, it would be a great way for the music labels to promote their new talentless hacks - give the content away for free. The people are more or less guaranteed a measure of success so it's worth putting some tracks they want into the game in order to get some tracks you want into the game, maybe cheaper or free.

            The RIAA doesn't want any music it doesn't control to exist. They don't seem to realize that's already over...

        • All the people I know that own Rock band, etc, pride themselves on how many songs they have on their list, but only ever play the same 20 or so unless forced to do so by the game. People who care less about music have more fun playing whatever comes up.
        • Unfortunately there are plenty of people, like my wife, who will skip a song because they've never heard it before. She never picks up a rhythm/harmony game without knowing most of the tracklist. They could probably do well with a GH: Indy Bands DLC pack but I don't know that they would do as well with the packaged GH: Indy Bands game.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          You know, I played Rock Band at a cousin's house for the first time the other day (with both adults and kids). I was elected "singer". I can tell you in no uncertain terms that I picked the songs I actually KNOW first as it is really hard to both READ the words and get the notes and inflections right on silly songs you never heard before in your life.
        • by smartr (1035324)
          nah, Warner is the company that's being stupid... Rock Band - which Activision bought - merged with Blizzard, and in the process became a part of Vivendi - a French massive media conglomerate which includes Univeral Music Group... Basically, what this means is - Warner makes less money, Vivendi makes more money off their own music labels... Guess who's winning the war?
    • by Moraelin (679338) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @04:25AM (#26979677) Journal

      That's their job, though. They're supposed to make the most money they can for their shareholders, not run a charity. If they think they can sell something for more money, well, they're _supposed_ to ask for more money.

      Now whether they're smart about it, is a whole other question. (E.g., too often I see companies shooting themselves in the foot for millions so some department can save cents or so the CEO's shares rise 2 cents in the very short term.) Whether their means are acceptable is another good question. (E.g., the RIAA lawsuit carpet bombing) But acting as if wanting money was a by itself a capital sin is kinda missing the point.

      • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @05:14AM (#26979875) Homepage

        That is all well and good, but they are actually responsible not only for getting every greedy dollar they can, they are forgetting that they also need to keep their eyes on the horizon and to maintain a connection with their consumer base and this is where they are failing miserably and what many see as the ultimate, though gradual, cause of their downfall.

        1. They sue their customers
        2. They don't give anything away

        Specifically, to address point 2, it is well known in the marketing world that "free" is the single-most attention getting word in advertising and marketing. It motivates people to participate in the market. And it is also well known that they should give away the razor in order to sell more razorblades. And in a case such as this topic, it is obvious what they should do but are not doing. They should set up a deal with xbox live and whatever other console gaming networks allow downloadable content and start sponsoring the development of free guitar hero and rock band games that allow for subscribed content. Free games, subscribed content. On the surface it would seem to be an obvious and very good model... and I know for certain that I'm something of a dumbass, so if I can see it, either I am very wrong or they are far more stupid than I am.

      • by Hyppy (74366)
        Actually, it is just as important to remain solvent (able to make a profit for the foreseeable future). If a company must choose between making a metric assload of money today and then dying, or making a reasonable amount every day until the second coming, the second option wins.
        • by Abreu (173023)

          Older, privately-owned companies might still go for the second option you mentioned, but sadly, it is much less popular in public companies when an Executive's worth is measured exclusively by his latest quarterly report.

      • If they think they can sell something for more money, well they're _supposed_ to ask for more money.

        That's not exactly true. If they think they can make more money, they should try doing that. However, sometimes you can make more money by actually lowering the price and selling a higher volume. That's especially true of digital content, where having "more volume" to sell comes almost for free.

        The trick is finding out where the point is that will maximize the profit. I would think at this point they could benefit more by asking for less money. Especially in a multiplayer game like this. The more song

  • I'm really lost with this one. For the music to be used, the developers of the game would require permission from the two copyright holders - publishing and recording copyrights.

    They agree on payment and royalties when they seek copyright permission. So why the fcuk are they moaning after?

    I also wonder how much money is made by labels and publishers in royalties, bet it is a lot more than selling CD a digial versions.

    • by Endo13 (1000782) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @04:35AM (#26979729)

      They agree on payment and royalties when they seek copyright permission. So why the fcuk are they moaning after?

      They're moaning because they think they deserve more money from their obsolete business model. They're moaning because they think there's potential here for them to get a lot more money from the games than they are. Problem is, they are 100% wrong. They don't realize it, but these games don't need their songs, not even a little bit. And if they ask for more money, the developers of these games will (hopefully anyway, because they *should*) tell them "sorry, we don't need your songs", and then proceed to use excellent music from dozens of indie bands no one has ever heard of before, which will in turn lead to those bands gaining popularity, people searching for music from those bands online, finding the free (or at least non-DRM) distribution sites that have that music, and discovering a whole new world of alternatives to RIAA music.

      If they do this, they truly will be blowing off their last foot. They'll still try to hobble around on their stumps for a while, but this will be the beginning of the end for them. I hope they do it.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by rcoxdav (648172)
        Or, they could do what has been done with more than one song in the game, have the original artist record a new version of the song for the game. Hello There by Cheap Trick on... I don't remember which game, is a newer recorder version of the original song. That version was never released by a record company, just the band. I think that is a great way for the artist to actually get compensated also, cut out the middle man. If that band still has it's chops it is an awesome solution. And as far as the Cheap
      • by philipgar (595691) <pcg2@NoSpAM.lehigh.edu> on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @06:09AM (#26980097) Homepage
        Fraid to break the news to you, but this just isn't the case. It is true that the diehard guitar hero players will buy these games no matter what is released on them. And, yes there is a sizeable number of them. However, what sells these games in the massive volumes they've had is name recognition. Guitar hero is one of those party games that people play in groups. Sure there's some fun in sitting around and playing songs you don't know, but when you have a group of 4 or 5 people (where only 2 can play at a time), the others want something they know on. Every time I've played those games, I've looked for songs I recognized, it just makes it easier to play. If only one person knows the song it gives them an unfair advantage when playing the game. Plus, it's just more fun to be "rocking out" to songs that you recognize. Sure the other songs might be just as good, but if you don't know them, you just can't get as "into" the game.

        A compromise will likely end up being made between the music industry and the game companies. If the music is the reason these games are selling, then they do have legitimate reasons to want more of the profits made from these games. If you read the article, they even mention that the NFL makes 30% of the profits from the Madden series. I imagine where the big discrepancy lies is in aftermarket content for the game. For instance if the game publishers are charging $3 to download a new song (I have no idea what it really is), and the music industry only gets $1 of it, I can see why they're complaining. This content is almost entirely their own, and they legitimately want some of the profit.

        Phil
        • The standard price for Rock Band tracks is $2, with some tracks being $1 at least temporarily.
          Personally, I've only bought tracks that I've heard and I know I like. (Of course I've downloaded the free tracks as well, Still Alive and Promised Land are awesome.) I'm not sure what the (Microsoft/Sony/Nintendo)/MTV Games/Harmonix/Artist/Music Industry payment breakdown if though.
        • by Phrogman (80473)

          To counter your argument: I bought a PS3 and got Rockband with it. As someone who very seldom listens to radio and who has (and I counted) 13 mp3 files on my system which I seldom play (I had to do a search to find out where I put them), I was only familiar with around 20% of the songs in the game. This didn't prevent me from enjoying playing it, and in fact I even enjoyed playing some of the songs I did recognize and recall thinking were absolute shit when I first heard them but are now at least "meh" for

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @07:49AM (#26980491)

      The music that is used in games like that is rarely the original version. What it is instead is a cover. A cover is where another band redoes a song. They are quite common. Sometimes they feature stylistic changes, like a rock band might cover a jazz tune in rock style, sometimes they are just a different band doing the same song. In the case of these games, the bands are doing their very best to imitate the original sound, and doing a rather good job at it. Not as hard as you might think these days given the amazing things you can do with a digital audio workstation.

      Ok, so why does this matter? Well many moons ago the recording industry lobbied for, and got, a law that established statutory cover fees. See they wanted their popular artists to be able to cover old songs. However it wasn't always easy or possible to track down the original artists and secure licensing rights, but the songs were still copyrighted thanks to industry's lobbying for copyright extensions. So their plan was that a statutory fee would be established. Thus you pay a fixed rate for covers. This allowed them to have their popular artists cover songs as they pleased, and they never had to worry about what they payout would be, it was defined in advance.

      Well now that same shit is working against them. A game company wants to use a famous song. The recording industry decides since it's famous, they want $10 million dollars. Ok no way the game company is paying that, especially if you are talking many songs. Instead they hire a cover band and a good recording engineer for much less, probably under a million. They cover those songs, and then pay the statutory fee of 8.5 cents per song per copy sold.

      This little loophole that they created for themselves is now becoming a real problem. Back in the day there was probably no worry. After all recording was real expensive, not the sort of thing you did outside the recording industry much. Now, heck a few grand gets you all you need to get started. Also the technology out there allows you to adjust things in amazing ways, and thus more easily replicate the sound another band gets.

      This would have to stop at games. It would be possible for bands to cover popular bands and sell their work. So music industry band A releases a popular song. Cover band B makes a cover that sounds almost identical. Cover band B then sells that cover for less than the music industry does, but enough to cover the statutory fees and make money.

      • A cover is a good idea, If you cover a song the record industry gets nothing in return.

        However, if you cover a song, you still need the publishing copyrights. The fees and royalties for these rights are far more expensive than the recording rights. You'd probably find the rights are owned by someone like a Warner Publishing company so in the end your in a no win situation. D'oh!

        Hey, you wont get the RIAA on your back for your own recordings though.

        • Actually, that's not true. For covers, you pay money to the copyright holder and you can publish your songs commercially. For an in-depth (but not legal advice!) breakdown in plain English, I recommend CD Baby's How to Legally Sell Downloads of Cover Songs [cdbaby.net].

          However, I'm not sure that it applies to video games:

          This Compulsory License is only available for sales in the United States. Other uses of masters, such as streaming, conditional downloads, and the like, are not subject to a Compulsory License. A separate license from the publisher is needed in those cases.

      • You haven't played in awhile, I see. This was true in GH1 and GH2. Virtually all tracks in RB/RB2 are originals.
      • Oh, the irony!

        Thanks for the highly informative post, by the way. That's a nice little gem I would have otherwise known nothing about.
      • by The Moof (859402)

        The music that is used in games like that is rarely the original version. What it is instead is a cover.

        While this is the case for the older games in the series, it's no longer true. The new games mostly use the original masters for the tracks. The music industry finally realized "Holy shit, our target consumer base eats this stuff up" and let the creators use the original masters. Good thing, too. Some of those covers were horrendous.

        Personally, I'm waiting for the owner the Led Zeppelin's rights to make the same realization.

  • by rolfwind (528248) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @04:28AM (#26979691)

    The music "industry" is not music. It's just middle men. They create drag, friction, between the musicians and the fans. They are an unneeded artifice, a relic of an earlier age, in my mind. For instance:

    "Despite the fact that these games are very successful and are drawing a great deal of attention to the music represented in the games, the industry is not pleased with the licensing arrangements that allow the games to use their songs."

    Does anyone here think "their songs" refers means "the artist's songs" or does it rather mean "Corp X's songs". Their original argument in the opening salvo of their war against the internet was "think of the artists!" Well, apparently they don't abide by their own logic (nor have they ever). From the very same article:

    "Music games are proven earners--Aerosmith has reportedly earned more from Guitar Hero : Aerosmith than from any single album in the band's history."

    Fuck the music industry. Please, just die already.

    • by rolfwind (528248) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @04:33AM (#26979715)

      Or this here, also in the article:

      Warner has actually led the industry with a policy of signing bands to so-called 360 deals, in which artists give the label a cut of everything they sell, be it ringtones, merchandise, or concert tickets.

      Yet it doesn't detail why the artist should give a cut to everything. Perhaps a $10k higher advance? Or does it become like the contracts all employees have to sign these days, with non-compete clauses, and other filled-to-the-brim bullshit which "everyone signs" because their peers do it - with no actual value added ever to the weaker party, everything always going for the stronger party in this case?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by digitalchinky (650880)

        For better or worse this is exactly what happens. The one musician that sticks his or her hand up and says "Hang on a minute, lets negotiate this contract a little bit" gets quickly shown the door. The big labels really don't care, there's another thousand hopefuls in the queue ready to sell their soul for their 15 minutes.

        Here in Asia a similar thing can be said for your typical call centre job, or rather, it was this area of employment that kick started the draconian employment contracts which are now rap

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Here in Asia a similar thing can be said for your typical call centre job, or rather, it was this area of employment that kick started the draconian employment contracts which are now rapidly spreading throughout all spheres.

          Factory workers were replaceable before the invention of the phone. The call script (which predates computers considerably) is responsible for the commoditization of the call center worker. It's also responsible for shitty technical support. Die, HP, die. And I'm not speaking German.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'd like people to stop confusing the recording industry with the music industry, but I guess neither of us will get what we want eh.

      The recording industry can die and music will survive.

      • I'm glad you posted this, you beat me to it.

        Music industry is flying at the moment. Record industry is dying a slow and painful death, unless they sort their business models out ASAP.

    • by Atario (673917) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @05:51AM (#26980031) Homepage

      To my mind, the base of the problem with the recording industry is that the labels are seen as some kind of conferrer of magical "blessed" status -- that if you work really hard, maybe some label will come and "sign you": sweep you off your feet to a wondrous world of superstardom, like you're Cinderella or something (not the band).

      They should be thought of (and hired as) service providers: consulting, recording, reproduction, distribution, marketing. These are services they should simply charge set rates for to anyone who wants them and forget about controlling artists or enforcing (or holding) copyright. They (and we) would have a lot fewer headaches this way, I'm sure.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        They should be thought of (and hired as) service providers: consulting, recording, reproduction, distribution, marketing. These are services they should simply charge set rates for to anyone who wants them and forget about controlling artists or enforcing (or holding) copyright. They (and we) would have a lot fewer headaches this way, I'm sure.

        It must be nice in your shiny little world. In this one, they control who is heard or not heard on the radio, which still controls what the masses of asses listen to. This is changing but it's still very true. And this is what the battle for net neutrality is about; if "they" can control whose media you can consume at high quality just as they control who is allocated the most desirable slices of radio frequency, then they can control your media intake the same way they have for decades.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I was thinking the same thing. Why is it the "Music Industries" music, not the song writer's or artist's music?

      For bonus points, did anyone watch the Academy Awards this year? Generally they trot out that that piracy takes food off of tables or that Hollywood produced film keeps the tired, depressed masses from putting a bullet in their collective heads. This year it was that movies are produced by professionals. Even though it wasn't stated explicitly, it seemed to imply that non-cartel produced material w

    • The music "industry" is not music. It's just middle men. They create drag, friction, between the musicians and the fans. They are an unneeded artifice, a relic of an earlier age, in my mind.

      I think we still need a "music industry" (by which I mean music labels). Their purpose has just shifted. Once upon a time, if you were part of a band and wanted nationwide (or worldwide) distribution and marketing, you needed to go to a label. Only they had the resources to record your music, press your albums, distri

  • by koinu (472851) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @04:52AM (#26979795)

    The music that comes from the music industry on DDR games or Hottest Party is the boring part of the game (well, not all of them, but most). Why not eliminate these tracks and put more native JPOP stuff on it that really makes fun? I would buy the games also without the music of the people who complain here. I've already ask Konami about it before. And now I'm even a bit happy that the music industry wants more money. This will perhaps minimize the impact of them on the music style. NAOKI and others, make more music for DDR!!

    Also... I haven't bought any music CDs for more than a decade, because I am very picky (I cannot really find what I need) and I don't like the greed. Some few licensed music tracks from the games (that also are sold by the music industry) are really good and I have actually considered to buy them. But I am seeing this greed again and I have enough for another decade. They cannot offer almost anything for me and complain.

    And let's not forget. On DDR/HP (I don't know guitar hero and stuff like that) the licensed songs are only covers, because the originals sound poor to me.

    • by EvanED (569694)

      On DDR/HP (I don't know guitar hero and stuff like that) the licensed songs are only covers...

      GH started that way almost entirely, but has moved to more master tracks. I think virtually everything in GH4 and RB2 are master tracks.

  • Anyone besides me think it's interesting to note that even though the music industry keeps bitching about new ways to distribute their music, they keep putting out the same old crap? Spending millions on a "star" personality marketing them to everyone and their dog seems to be the only way they expect to make money, while history shows that its the small-time surprise artists that make the enduring impact on the industry? If they would quit manufacturing superstars and start focusing on bringing GOOD musi

    • by Lisandro (799651)

      Spending millions on a "star" personality marketing them to everyone and their dog seems to be the only way they expect to make money, while history shows that its the small-time surprise artists that make the enduring impact on the industry?

      Sadly, it has never been about enduring impacts or quality of music. They create personalities because they're profitable during their lifespan.

    • It's been interesting to note that they seem to be going after a younger and younger demographic than they used to. I'm way out of the loop, but I can't think of any newer manufactured stars that weren't around ten years ago. We aren't seeing new people like Britney Spears and all her rip-offs. The ones that get really popular these days among the crowd that goes for the popular stuff and can pay for it themselves - older high school kids and college kids for the most part - are fairly "real", though obviou

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      It's only interesting in the way that all mass exerting a gravitational force is interesting; it's a critical fact, but it's no different from how it worked yesterday or the day before and the details need not be examined. Mass media has always been a bunch of schlock because they work on the least necessary effort principle and it turns out that people will pretty much buy what you sell them.

  • It's just Warner in the article.

    Since Guitar Hero is owned by Activision / Vivendi Universal, I'm pretty sure they're OK with it.

  • by Torodung (31985) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @06:43AM (#26980243) Journal

    Dear Time-Warner:

    1985 called. It wants its business model back.

    Change or die. You are irrelevant, and that's why you're seeing less money from licensing deals. Y'all should get down on your knees and thank God that industry publishers can still make money off of properties like "Welcome to the Jungle" and "Talk Dirty To Me."

    Embrace it, or wither and die.

    --
    Toro

    • Change or die.

      Entering from the right: big massive speakers, laying down the beat

      Center Stage, Puff Daddy

      Change or die muthafucka, muthafucka change or die
      Rock the change or else I'm gonna stick a knife through your eye
      The industry is founded on one simple rule
      Get out there and change or I will muthafuckin' kill you

      (With apologies to Parker and Stone)

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Mango Fett (1457557)

      Dear Time-Warner:

      1985 called. It wants its business model back.

      Change or almost die, then ask the government to give you a couple billion dollars to make up for your short sightedness. You are irrelevant, and that's why you're seeing less money from licensing deals. Y'all should get down on your knees and thank God that industry publishers can still make money off of properties like "Welcome to the Jungle" and "Talk Dirty To Me."

      Embrace it, or wither and die.

      --
      Toro

      There, fixed it for ya.

      • by Torodung (31985)

        If I could mod this thread, Chicago-style, I'd give you a '+5 funny' for that one.

        LOL!

    • by pragma_x (644215)

      "Y'all should get down on your knees "

      Yup.

      The internet is the hand of change, with consoles that run GuitarHero/RockBand, like XBox and the PS3, are the ring of power that adorns it.

      Time to kiss that ring, big five.

  • Nitpick (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    This article is about the RECORDING industry, not the music industry. The music industry is companies like Fender and Guitar Center.

  • Boston Strangler? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @10:45AM (#26981621) Journal

    Thirty years ago, Hollywood took a similar threat -- the VCR -- and turned it into a new source of revenue, building customer loyalty in the process.

    Actually, they fought it as long and as hard as they could, and only embraced it when it was clear it was going to happen.

    I distinctly remember comments comparing the VCR to the Boston Strangler. I'm too lazy to track it down, and most of you should remember...

    Keep in mind, this is Hollywood's attitude (and the Music Industry's attitude, incidentally) towards the ideas which ultimately provide them the most value. The music box, the phonograph, VCRs, digital audio tape, DVDs...

  • I would love to buy a music game done entirely with classic game themes. The music industry is already on very thin ice (or already through and sinking, depending on where you stand). If games left them behind entirely, I wouldn't be disappointed.

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