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Did The Record Labels Kill The Golden Goose In Music Video Games?

from the of-course-they-did... dept

For the last decade or so, every year the major record labels seem to bet on some single "magic bullet" to fix all that ails them. They go through phases. There was their own crappy DRM'd and locked-down music stores. There were ringtones. And... there were music video games like Guitar Hero and Rockband. And, of course, as soon as those games actually started helping the recording industry, the industry decided to suck them dry. Edgar Bronfman kicked it off by declaring angrily that those games had to pay much more to license the music -- even though the music in those games tended to lead to much greater sales of albums for those artists.

And now it looks like the labels may have succeeded in bleeding those types of games dry. With Activision announcing that it was dumping Guitar Hero, one of the major reasons given is the high cost of licensing music. Yup, the labels priced things so high that they made it impractical to actually offer any more. Yet another case of the labels overvaluing their own content. Now, it's also true that these games haven't evolved that much, and people haven't seen the point of buying new versions, but part of that lack of evolving is because so much of the budget had to go towards overpaying for music, rather than innovating.

Filed Under: guitar hero, music, video games
Companies: activision

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Feb 2011 @ 10:56am

    Re: Re: Re: S.O.P.

    Actually, they start out with 100% of the rights. They don't get multiple rights, they have one big right.

    After that, they slice the rights down into slivers to allow them to be sold, transfered, or marketed. The right for music CDs, example. The right for radio play. The right for use in a movie, or a commercial. The rights for the underlying song, the lyrics, the music, etc. The sheet music versions of same.

    They are all slices of a single right, chopped up into finer parts to fit the various marketplaces.

    You can also end up in a situation with partial rights. As an example, an artist records a song in the public domain. They don't get the song writing or lyrican rights, but they do get performance rights, and rights to sell the CD, play on radio, use in movie, etc "for that performance of the song".

    Where many people make a mistake is assuming that a song is in the public domain (say like Beethoven's 5th), and miss that a performance, recorded this year, is actually copyright. Not the underlying music - the performance.

    It's pretty simple, unless you are trying to make it complicated, or if you fail to get information before you start spending money, aka making poor choices up front.

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