Geeks Save Rock With Music Game Döwnlöads

Pop music keeps getting more virtual! Today there’s news that ’80s metal stars Mötley Crüe are releasing a new single via Xbox 360/PS3 download to Rock Band, the epic bestselling multiplayer rhythm game. And it’s just the latest development in what’s fast becoming a larger trend.

Last month, the game got its own iTunes-like download service, an inevitable move as it and its predecessor, Guitar Hero, instantly attracted millions of download sales. It’s a smart move on the Crüe’s part, and for the embattled record labels, a move that’s probably the best (last?) chance to recover their revenue in the post-Gnutella era: They license their back catalog and new hits to game music publishers; publishers turn their songs into fun interactive experiences; gamers who might otherwise download pirated MP3s or ignore them altogether happily pay to play them on their console.

The amazing thing is how much of this enthusiasm is driven by the gaming experience, as opposed to the actual bands. After all, many of their songs only show up on Guitar Hero/Rock Band as covers and almost as often, the bands were famous well before most gamers were even born. In coming years, I fully expect to see Guitar Hero-like MMOs, where fans jam as avatars with their favorite rock stars (who log in from the comfort of their studio, as opposed to touring in person.) Why stop there? Next up: Popstars who only exist as avatars.

Image credit: