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 @ 8:54am

    Re: Re: choice

    I'm with you, choice is key. But let's be honest, the Guitar Hero franchise got exceptionally stale and that's a big reason people stopped buying it. I think that people are interested in the game overall, but one poor release after another really stunted sales.

    Look at the latest from both sides, GH released a version with some kind of poorly thought out "return to our roots" scheme and a crappy looking guitar that looked like an axe. Meanwhile, RockBand adding a keyboard and pro mode which made playing instruments in the game very real AND they went added a tutorial that will actually teach you to play real instruments. Which one sounds more interesting?

    Plus, seeing the GH brand all over clothes and whatever else they could get people to pay them to put it on really made it seem ridiculous. They stopped focusing on the game a long time ago. Licensing fees likely added to their problems, but not changing the game really at all in the 5 years since it first appeared didn't help any.

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