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. icon
    Jay (profile), 10 Feb 2011 @ 3:52pm

    Free alternatives

    We now have Dance Central so there's more of a push to do dance moves.

    However, I doubt ANYONE here has understood that the game music industry started elsewhere.

    So tell me... If Konami could make a game that was built around a gaming experience, why not Harmonix or Guitar Hero?

    They did it on a smaller scale. Still, the music industry killed this. The licensing is sure to kill it where the games could have truly diversified and exposed more gamers to the artists involved.

    Further, think about how the Drummania games have gone on for 10+ years due to possibly less stringent licensing.

    Activision also does one other thing that really hurts them though, which is releasing a new game (at $60 a pop) every year.

    So it is that Activision saturated the market, there was less variety, and the game industry truly lost some great game makers.

    Should be interesting to see what comes out afterwards... I'm sure with the patents on dance moves, Harmonix may just have to move on to virtual drums next.

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