Rock Band, Guitar Hero Pay Off for Artists

Dennis Faas's picture

We're well aware that Rock Band and Guitar Hero have raked in plenty of cash for their makers, Electronic Arts and Activision, respectively. But, how have the artists whose music has appeared in those games fared after taking part in such a phenomenon?

There certainly have been many rockers willing to take a chance on either game. Between three versions of Guitar Hero and a single (but very successful) Rock Band, a few hundred songs have been available at purchase, with access to even more through download (from Microsoft's Xbox Live or PlayStation 3's online service).

Heck, there was even a Guitar Hero '80s edition.

In April, Motley Crue, themselves a former '80s sensation, decided to place their new hit single 'Saints of Los Angeles' (certainly not referring to themselves) for sale on Microsoft and Sony's online download databases. The song made its way there nearly two months before Crue's ultimate album release (now creeping closer -- June 24).

So, was it a good move for Motley?

Tenth Street Entertainment, the band's management, would answer with a resounding 'yes'. The Xbox 360 version alone was downloaded nearly 50,000 times in its first week. By comparison, after Crue placed their song on iTunes and Amazon, it received only 10,000 downloads. (Source:

So, what's the deal? Why would so many bother to download a song that can't even be transferred from the console to a computer or MP3 player?

It could have something to do with the audience playing Rock Band and Guitar Hero. Although Rock Band is a bit more complex, both games tend to lean towards games boasting the vicious guitar lick, the solo rock stylings of '80s hair metal and '70s ballads. Most parents would probably be very surprised to hear their kids playing the songs they grew up with.

Thus, there's little room in Guitar Hero or Rock Band for hip hop or the three-chord monotony of some of today's bands. That type of music might still dominate iTunes, but it's got no business in these two, very popular games.

In just six months, Rock Band and Guitar Hero players have downloaded an astounding 10 and 15 million tracks, respectively.  Guess it's about time other 40-year-old rockers -- and the 40-year-olds who listened to them -- took notice. (Source:

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