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
    Dark Helmet (profile), 10 Feb 2011 @ 8:16am

    Re: Re: What I was hoping for

    "I always wanted to see a Tom Waits edition, where you had to build your own controller from stuff you found in your garage."

    Actually, this I think is an aspect of where the music game genre will eventually go. Instead of being a simple game for kids, eventually someone (Rockstar?) will come out with one of these music games that actually includes a social storyline. Think back to skateboarding games and what happened when the Tony Hawk series finally stuck something in their games that at least had a modicum of interactive story behind it. And that was SKATEBOARDING!

    How much material could be generated behind a game based on being a rock legend? I'm picturing some strange mix of Guitar Hero, The Sims, and GTA. I don't know what it would look like exactly, but it would GLORIOUS. Think of the things that could be included:

    1. Fighting with your corrupt band manager/label
    2. Infighting within your bandmates
    3. Drugs/Sex
    4. Evolving into a mega-band that headlines progressive type concerts like Woodstock
    5. Getting into trouble with the law and having to do a concert in prison like Johnny Cash
    6. Getting caught w/multiple girlfriends
    7. Having the cops/govt. after you because of your band's message
    8. Building your awesome megastar house and furnishing it
    9. Dealing with stalking fans
    10. ???

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