Activision CEO Suggests Record Labels Should Be Paying To Get In Video Games

from the this-ought-to-be-fun dept

Remember a couple months ago, when Warner Music's Edgar Bronfman complained that the makers of video games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band should be paying more for the music they used? He claimed, incorrectly, that the games were "entirely dependent" on the record labels' content. That was wrong, and totally downplayed the fact that the video games were actually adding value to the music. Now it appears that the maker of Guitar Hero, Activision, is hitting back. The company's CEO is pointing out how much being in those games has helped bands, suggesting that its really the record labels that are getting too good of a deal:
"When you look at the impact [the game] can have on an Aerosmith, Van Halen or Metallica, it's really significant -- so much so that you sort of question whether or not, in the case of those kinds of products, you should be paying any money at all and whether it should be the reverse. The bulk of our consumers will tell you they're not purchasing the products based on the songs that are included, they're purchasing based on how fun the songs are to play when they're playing them."
He's exactly right. The content industry always seem to over estimate how much "value" the content provides and almost totally ignore the value provided by anyone else in the value chain. It's going to be interesting to see what happens over the next few months, but I would bet that the video game companies have the stronger hand here, and despite Bronfman's statements, the record labels really understand that.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    jhunter, Oct 1st, 2008 @ 2:23pm

    I was thinking about this the other day...

    the record labels are getting paid to have someone advertise for them. How good a deal is that?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    David, Oct 1st, 2008 @ 2:48pm

    Re: I was thinking about this the other day...

    "How good a deal is that?"

    Not good enough, apparently.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Sean (in Bali), Oct 1st, 2008 @ 2:53pm

    Labels

    Sounds like Activision need to launch they're own label and start signing their own artists -- if, as Robert Kotick, claims, they can drive sales up a thousand percent, they'd probably have some real guitar heroes standing in line.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 1st, 2008 @ 3:11pm

    What about Valve/Steam?

    Well, this idea runs opposite of other games out there where customers can bring their music to the game.

    Valve/Steam AudioSurf for example. The creator of Guitar Hero said to the creator of AudioSurf something like "We wouldn't ever let people bring content to our game because they will mess it up".

    In other news, Valve was acquired by Google.
    http://www.inquisitr.com/3375/google-may-have-acquired-half-live-creator-valve/

    [Facepalm] Isn't Redmond 5 miles from Bellevue, WA?

    Oh well. Seems like Google's on the prowl again. If Activsion thinks it's worthless, oh well.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 1st, 2008 @ 4:09pm

    Simple product placement economics. except which is the product that benefits here?

     

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  6.  
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    Lucretious, Oct 1st, 2008 @ 4:19pm

    Theres a million great indie artists and small labels out there who would kill to get into a game like Guitar Hero, some would actually pay.

    Bronfman's statements beautifully illustrate why the music industry is headed into the shitter. Clueless. Old. Men.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    steveballmer, Oct 1st, 2008 @ 4:32pm

    Correct!

    Pay us to be used in our games!

     

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  8.  
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    porkster, Oct 1st, 2008 @ 6:38pm

    My kids

    I've often tried to get my kids to listen to "that olden days" music. Now thanks to Guitar Hero they are "into" bands that they wouldn't have touched otherwise.

    Now I can play a lot of "my" music on car trips without the hassle...

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Rik, Oct 2nd, 2008 @ 12:27am

    Old Digitally-Analphabetic

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Rik, Oct 2nd, 2008 @ 12:33am

    Old Digitally-Analphabetic Men

    About those Music Studio execs ...
    Well on one hand I tend to believe that they are a combination of "Digitally analphabetic" (not even able to start up a PC) and extremely greedy.
    On the other hand maybe they realized that their business is disappearing as their business model is outdated and they try to bring in whatever they can get still ...

     

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  11.  
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    Dom, Oct 2nd, 2008 @ 4:47am

    True!

    I never even knew "Through the fire and flames - Dragonforce", and what about now? I reckon many people were like myself before guitar hero appeared. It's one of the most famous songs now.

    I hope guitar hero won't become one of these crappy games, containing many of these crappy new pop songs, where hardly a guitar is even played, just because it was well paid...

    This way, the company had the control over which songs are used, because they wanted them.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 2nd, 2008 @ 5:25am

    Re:

    It seems fairly symbiotic and mutually beneficial, but the Game has a stronger position. Dragonforce was unknown before they were used in the game, and if the majors won't pay the indies surely will.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    J.Locke, Oct 2nd, 2008 @ 5:54am

    Activision is a content publisher, not creator

    Just a technical note, Activision doesnt make guitar hero, much like a record company, Activision doesnt actually make much of anything, they are a publisher. Harmonix invented the game, but Neversoft I believe is the current developer. Someone else correct me if I am wrong here?

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 2nd, 2008 @ 5:56am

    Re: What about Valve/Steam?

    "[Facepalm] Isn't Redmond 5 miles from Bellevue, WA?

    Oh well. Seems like Google's on the prowl again. If Activsion thinks it's worthless, oh well."

    Now Google is stealing EX-microsoft talent LOL

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    hegemon13, Oct 2nd, 2008 @ 6:20am

    Indie edition!

    If the RIAA insists on raising the royalties, it's time for Guitar Hero Indie Edition, packed with 100% RIAA-free music.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Yakko Warner, Oct 2nd, 2008 @ 7:53am

    Re: Activision is a content publisher, not creator

    If Wikipedia is to be believed, Activision and RedOctane publish Guitar Hero, developed by Harmonix until Guitar Hero III, which was developed by Neversoft.

    Related: MTV Games publishes and EA distributes Rock Band, developed by Harmonix.

    I couldn't find from there, though, exactly who is involved in the licensing deals for the music; whether it's the developer, publisher, or distributor.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Voice of Reason?, Oct 2nd, 2008 @ 9:33am

    Re: Labels

    Yeah - I'd love to see Activision develop acts. Activision is just using the media to try and negotiate with copyright holders.

    I think that music has value and should be respected and when it's used, should be compensated.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    JEFFREY TOBIAS, Oct 2nd, 2008 @ 1:53pm

    CREATORS OF MUSIC,HAVE EVERY RIGHT

    IF A BAND,CREATES A SONG,THE HELL WITH THE CEO,OF VIVENDI,DONT PLAY,THE MUSICAL GAMES,BECAUSE THE CREATORS,DECIDED,PUT UP,OR SHUT UP.EDGAR IS RIGHT,GO SUE THE PANTS OUT OF VIVENDI,OR DONT,SELL THE MUSICAL GAMES,GOT IT? I OWN,MANY SONGS,I WOULD,SAY HEY,PLEASE DONT SELL THE GAMES,ITS MY MUSIC I CREATED,HIT VIVENDI,IN ITS POCKETBOOK HARD,JEFFREY

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    anonymous, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 8:58am

    i think that record labels should pay to have their games in guitar hero and rock band. it helps to bring back the music and a new desire to listen to it. the only bad thing is the few guys that listning to the songs on guitar hero, listen to them again and air guitar

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 5:09am

    I guess games can afford now to put whatever music they want inside and hire their own guns they don't need the labels.

    I was just mesmerized at the 2010 crop of games at E3, I was viewing them at Youtube and they actually have stories, compelling ones and the graphics are gorgeous, why would anyone want to watch TV with such alternatives?

    Enslaved
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OG4oLZR3Qx8

    Splatterhouse
    http://www.y outube.com/watch?v=rhtqHAkKrdc

    Interactive movies are a reality right now and they could launch bands or break them.

    Just give it time an the labels will be begging for game studios to put their music in there.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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