Rock Band and Guitar Hero Don't Pay Music Studios Enough, Complains Warner

By Chris Faylor, Aug 07, 2008 9:22am PDT Said to be the world's third-largest music company, Warner Music Group has expressed frustration in its view that that music-centered games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero don't pay enough for licensed songs.

"The amount being paid to the music industry, even though their games are entirely dependent on the content we own and control, is far too small," Warner Music chief executive Edgar Bronfman told Reuters, though he did not list specific amounts.

Several Warner artists have appeared in Rock Band and Guitar Hero, such as Avenged Sevenfold and DragonForce, with Warner label Roadrunner noting a sales bump in DragonForce albums after the band was exposed to a wider audience in Guitar Hero III.

Other artists that fall under the Warner Music Group umbrella include Led Zeppelin, The B-52's, Green Day, Depeche Mode, Paris Hilton, Red Hot Chili Peppers and R.E.M., with a downloadable R.E.M. track pack recently announced for Guitar Hero World Tour.

Led Zeppelin tracks have been among those most-requested by Guitar Hero and Rock Band owners, with the band's management recently stating it wasn't comfortable giving game developers access to the catalog of master tapes.

Both Rock Band and Guitar Hero were created by Harmonix, which was purchased by MTV owner Viacom in 2006. At that time, Activision purchased Guitar Hero property owner RedOctane and assigned development of the guitar game to internal studio Neversoft, while Harmonix went on to develop the multi-instrument effort Rock Band.

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28 Threads | 74 Comments

  • Looking back at how the whole music industry fucked up the entire napster thing I wonder if the video game industry is going to make the same mistake with piracy. Piracy is still rampant on open waters, just the leaders have learned to stay behind the scenes. People that bought music are now putting up a big FU to music business for constant rising prices and refusal to bend to consumer preference (like no DRM). It looks like they gave in a little too late. Part of the appeal of the Itunes service was a really light DRM compared to other services.

    If you look at the hey day of Napster, it really took devotion to steal, you had to find the song you wanted, and download it over your slow as connection compared to modern times. The devotion gets higher the farther back you go.

    One big example of huge piracy of is Adobe Products. Who can afford Photoshop or Creative Suite Pro for personal use? No one your talking $500-$2500 of software depending upon which programs you need. In a business environment the products are honestly worth that much, for some one working out of their home it will never be. In short a pirated Adobe product is some one that would never have bought it to begin with.

    Now back to the music argument, most the people stealing were college kids who work entry level jobs and can not even afford to feed themselves properly (remember the days of hot dogs, ramen, and hopefully free booze). For the most part people will by things they want, its like a huge penis enlargment to own shit. The more we own the better we feel, even if it is trivial shit like CD's.

    Example: We all know the guy that has way too many DVD's, he has entire room dedicated to storing them, and his living room is over taken by movies to watch. You walk in and say "holy shit you have an awesome DVD collection." When he hears those words it brings the same amount of joy to his heart as a girl licking his balls. People like to one up another.

    This new thing with the gaming industry trying to add more DRM than gameplay (yeah over the top I know) seems like the same mistake. Pirates are people who would not buy your product to begin with, please don't screw your customer by raising prices or adding DRM that merely annoys us.

    Every one has stolen, most of us have stolen multiple times. I pay for everything as the gas station everyday, and I could easily steal from it. The gas station doesn't make me jump through hoops to pay for what I want thought.

  • They need to factor in how often the songs that appear in Rock Band and Guitar Hero get played on the radio simply because the song is in those games. Not to mention that I'm sure it is introducing people to new music that they otherwise would not have listened to and will likely boost sales to some degree.

    Think of it as someone who is paying you to advertise for you. In my view, it's a very symbiotic relationship which Warner should be embracing whole heartedly rather than saying "we want more money".

    Too many businesses can't see past their own nose, unfortunately. Makes you wonder how they stay in business in the first place.