Music Companies Jump on GTA IV Bandwagon

Dennis Faas's picture

Grand Theft Auto IV ("GTA IV") is a retail phenomenon. By all accounts, it has raked in more sales than any game in history, making GTA IV a retailer's dream come true. However, the buck may not end there -- in fact, GTA IV is now acting as a prime marketing tool for music artists.

When it shipped last week, Grand Theft Auto IV hit retailers like a sports car through a shop window (uh, you can do that in the game). Long midnight line ups and millions of pre-orders soon gave way to top-ranking reviews, with many experts calling the game the best ever released. With that kind of attention, it only makes sense that GTA's maker, Rockstar Games, would devise new ways to reap the benefits. (Source:

Much like Electronic Arts and Activision have done with "Rock Band" and "Guitar Hero III", respectively, Rockstar is including a feature in GTA that will allow players to 'tag' any song on the game's soundtrack. They'll then be provided with a bounty of information on the title and artist, and can even create a custom playlist of other tunes within the game.

Of course, the trick is this: tagged songs can then be purchased from Amazon's digital music store.

Music companies recognize the value of associating themselves with a commodity as hot as GTA. "It's a very big deal for us," said Cynthia Sexton, vice president of marketing and licensing for EMI Music North America. "We're continually looking for new ways to sell our music. There are millions of people buying 'Grand Theft Auto,' and we hope they will enjoy the music and in turn buy those tracks." (Source:

The Grand Theft Auto games have been known for their long list of popular music titles. GTA III: Vice City was perhaps best known for its use of long-forgotten and in many cases (this gamer included) long-missed 1980s tracks. Grand Theft Auto IV introduces an impressive spectrum of music, from jazz to rap to classical to, of course, rock. Popular tunes include "1979" by Smashing Pumpkins, "Giant Steps" by John Coltrane, and "Flashing Lights" from Kanye West. Gamers can also enjoy songs from Fat Joe, Bob Marley, Stevie Nicks, and more.

No longer is in-game advertising the name-of-the-game for teams like Rockstar. Instead, it appears in-game sales are much more lucrative.

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