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All Your Bass Are Belong To Us! Music Challenges Video Games

guitar-hero-rock-band.jpgFirst MTV got slapped in the face (but it's MTV so I'm actually okay with that). Then they went after peer-to-peer networks (not okay with that). Then they hunted the internet. Every single time - "they" won. "They" being the music industry. The internet community hasn't been too pleased with the vindictive war music companies have been waging - but it's their right.

But now they're pushing the limit. Video Games. It's not that they've been using the music illegally. It's not even that they've broken any sort of pre-existing contract. This time it's all about the Benjamins. Money. Pure and simple.

Warner Music CEO Edgar Bronfman says ""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." That's right. Now it's not even enough that we're paying them properly. Sounds like someone never expected a certain video game franchise to take off quite the way it did. This bitterness over unexpected new media profits seems very reminiscent of the recent WGA, and current SAG strikes. But in their cases they were on the opposite end. They were fighting the Studios for more rights. Now, it's the Studios' turn to whine.

Or is it?

Do they really have any legitimate right to complain? They've signed contracts leasing out the music to these video game companies. And on top of that, can they really claim that the success of Guitar Hero has only been beneficial to the Video Game biz (mainly Activision Blizzard but others are jumping on the band wagon now)? iTunes statistics show online music sales at an all time high. If you're really industrious you can search back to past tech articles and you can see EXACTLY how poor the sales were compared to post Guitar Hero years. No, it doesn't deserve all the credit but its aid to the Music biz's cause ought not be denied so quickly in an age where people are more likely to pirate their music as opposed to buy it.

The sad part of this, is not the conflict as it is now - but what it means for future spin offs and versions of the music video game biz: the video game companies will likely find the Music Labels demanding a much higher percentage up front - whether or not they settle on a mutually beneficial number will be the main determinant for the future of this highly successful genre.

Aug
18
2008
Lex Walker • Editor

He's a TV junkie with a penchant for watching the same movie six times in one sitting. If you really want to understand him you need to have grown up on Sgt. Bilko, Alien, Jurassic Park and Five Easy Pieces playing in an infinite loop. Recommend something to him - he'll watch it.

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