Lately, it seems like the best articles about the music biz come from Wired. Anyways, Edgar Bronfman is pissed off.. yet again. Is it because he just became a grandfather? Nope, it’s because all of those music video games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band have made over $2.3 billion and he’s gotten very little of that cut. At a time when the music industry’s tanking, Edgar recognizes that something has to be done.
“The amount being paid to the music industry, even though [these] games are entirely dependent on the content we own and control, is far too small,” Warner Music Group CEO Edgar Bronfman told analysts last summer. The money Warner receives for the use of its songs is “paltry,” he said, and if the gamemakers don’t pony up more cash, “we will not license to those games.” In response, Rock Band publisher MTV Games is now boycotting Warner artists, according to a source close to the negotiations.
Good job Edgar, now we can’t play Sugar Ray on any future Rock Bands!
So what will happen? The article mentions how Edgar has already blocked the game people from covering songs from Warner’s catalog. This is worse than WMG pulling all their music off of Youtube.
We should all recognize though that the labels are at these video game companies’s knees. Steve Schnur, the music guy at EA who helped Madden become a franchise, gets thousands of demos a week and has people begging to be in one of his games.
According to the article, Aerosmith has made more money with their GH game than with any other album in their history. But how can the labels make some dough off of all of this?
The labels ought to push for more such titles and integrate them into their promotional strategies. They might not maximize profit on the licensing, but who cares? With more entries to come in the play-along genre, and networked hardware to play them on, the games themselves could even become an online music retail channel to rival iTunes. Or what about a game for turntable artists? Labels could provide the stem tracks for songs (in which each instrument’s recording is isolated) and let players mix their own versions. Users could vote for their favorites through online services like Xbox Live, and Warner could sell the winning mixes back to customers using the very platform on which they were created. Call it Wii-Mix.
Or you can just buy the company like Universal did with Activision. Sigh Edgar, don’t **** this one up too.