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Rock Band To Allow Independent Artists To Add Their Own Songs

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the paging-stevie-ray-vaughan's-ghost dept.

Music 57

Bakkster writes "Independent artists will be able to use the XNA Creator's Club to produce the Rock Band note-charts for their music and sell them in game later this year. Bands will use their original song masters and generate a MIDI file that produces the game 'gems' to which players can follow along. Tracks must pass a review process with other XNA members, and then a final approval from MTV Games. Songs will be sold for between 50 cents and $3, with the artist getting a 30% cut after MTV and Microsoft take their cut. The best tracks will also make their way to the Wii and PS3 after a 30-day exclusive period."

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It's about time, but not enough. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28738463)

This is great, but it should be even more open. Anyone should be able to add their music to Rock Band, whether they are selling the songs or distributing it for free. Even if the corporate overlords don't make money off of the deal, simply having the option would increase the value of the game and lead to increased sales. Everyone wins!

THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28745535)

I would kill to have some TMBG in Rockband

Nice business model (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 5 years ago | (#28738497)

You write your music. You play your music. You convert your music into the game. We take the profit.

Note also how it says they get a 30% cut AFTER mtv and microsoft take theirs. So if they both get X% and Y% then they arent getting 30% of the revenue. They are getting .3*(R-X-Y)% and who knows what that really is.

Re:Nice business model (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 5 years ago | (#28738505)

Dang it. I didnt mean to use both a decimal & percent in the equation. You guys know what I meant.

Re:Nice business model (1)

nordee (104555) | more than 5 years ago | (#28740117)

No, you are wrong, you get 30% of the total sales of the song.

Re:Nice business model (2, Insightful)

Capt. Cooley (1438063) | more than 5 years ago | (#28738523)

the artists still get recognition, though, from having their songs available in the game. and if the song gets popular enough, that can translate into itunes and amazon mp3 downloads, and possibly into album sales.

Re:Nice business model (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28738555)

Rather a nice marketing move for Rock Band. Now that it's old, exclusivity doesn't pay as much. So they can suddenly turn "indie", "eco friendly" and "not evil". Hey those useless indies even get some percentage of whatever the real people didn't gobble down beforehand. Also: free content and profits. Yay!

Re:Nice business model (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28738573)

TFA is a little more clear than the summary. The artist get 30% of the sales, not anything more complicated. Of course there's a $100 per year fee to be in the XBL Marketplace in the first place. So iTunes requires less work, and pays more money (70%)...

TFA claims that the more exclusive XBL means each artist is more likely to be noticed, but ignores the fact that each artist is also more likely to be flat-out rejected after all their hard work. So I guess it's like buying a $100 dollar lottery ticket, one with a low payout and a low chance of winning.

Re:Nice business model (2, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28740701)

Of course there's a $100 per year fee to be in the XBL Marketplace in the first place.

There's also a $100 per year fee to be in Apple's store. So why do so many Slashdot users put down Microsoft but give props to Apple?

Re:Nice business model (2, Informative)

Sparton (1358159) | more than 5 years ago | (#28741609)

There's also a $100 per year fee to be in Apple's store.

Lies. The fee for Apple developers is one-time. Comparing the expenses for the two, and they're even, but every year you want to stay a part of the respective gong show, XBL Marketplace gets you paying more and more.

Re:Nice business model (4, Informative)

jordapatrick (1135203) | more than 5 years ago | (#28738587)

According to TFA, artists receive a "30% cut of all sales" not the ambiguous percentage that the summary implies...

As a side note, I see this as a win for all involved, especially the artists. This service will provide indie groups an opportunity to reach a large market, for very minimal costs, and a source of income in and of itself (albeit relatively small).

Re:Nice business model (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756719)

Yes, this was an unfortunate wording on my part. The artist gets %30, MS and MTV split the rest.

Re:Nice business model (2, Insightful)

bugnuts (94678) | more than 5 years ago | (#28738991)

You write your music. You play your music. You convert your music into the game. We take the profit.
Note also how it says they get a 30% cut AFTER mtv and microsoft take theirs.

I'm curious... as opposed to what? Not converting your music and being guaranteed of getting nothing?

If you write your music, and play your music at a venue, would you expect to not pay the venue first?

Re:Nice business model (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28740719)

I'm curious... as opposed to what? Not converting your music and being guaranteed of getting nothing?

How about promoting your band through a venue other than MTV's Rock Band?

If you write your music, and play your music at a venue, would you expect to not pay the venue first?

Pay to play wasn't always the expectation [wikipedia.org] .

They should use MPAA accounting.... (4, Funny)

Trailer Trash (60756) | more than 5 years ago | (#28738503)

By the time an artist sells a song, they'll owe Microsoft money.

Really? (1)

rxvt-unicode (1556405) | more than 5 years ago | (#28738513)

That sounds... fun?

bout time? (1)

erbbysam (964606) | more than 5 years ago | (#28738557)

About time, people have been asking for this since Gutiar Hero 1 I believe, that said, they are requiring that you get the premium subscription to the XNA creators network ($100 per year) according the link.

Re:bout time? (2, Interesting)

ragethehotey (1304253) | more than 5 years ago | (#28738609)

that said, they are requiring that you get the premium subscription to the XNA creators network ($100 per year) according the link.

Whats your point? There has to be SOME barrier to entry. (and the $100 cost to produce iphone apps hasn't even come close to stopping the flood of garbage)

Re:bout time? (1)

erbbysam (964606) | more than 5 years ago | (#28738681)

I didn't really have a point honestly. I know that this is a relatively small barrier for entry, mostly just pointing it out.

Re:bout time? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28740755)

There has to be SOME barrier to entry.

It's not always just $100 per year; it's also $1,000 to get started because this program is XNA exclusive, and XNA itself is exclusive to the Xbox 360 and Windows platforms. If you own a PLAYSTATION 3 and a PC running Linux, or if you own a Wii and a Macintosh computer, you also need to buy an Xbox 360 and a PC running Windows.

Re:bout time? (1)

oboreruhito (925965) | more than 5 years ago | (#28744887)

this program is XNA exclusive

Nothing so far released regarding RBN and the Rock Band Creators Club indicates that it will require XNA. XNA Creators Club != XNA Studio, XNA the programming language, XNA the flamethrower, etc.

Details about Magma, which packages the songs for distribution, haven't been released; all Harmonix says is that it's a "PC tool." That means it may require XNA, but for all we know, it equally might require Java, or COBOL, or shoving your head up your ass. There's just no information yet.

it's also $1,000 to get started ... If you own a PLAYSTATION 3 and a PC running Linux, or if you own a Wii and a Macintosh computer, you also need to buy an Xbox 360 and a PC running Windows.

Ignoring the suggestion that a Mac owner or Linux user has to buy another computer to run Windows, you're looking at about $640-$850 ($230 Xbox Pro + $150 Windows license + $100-$150 360 Rock Band set + $100 Creators Club + $60-$225 Reaper license). Reaper has an OS X build and works in wine, but since we don't know anything about Magma, it may well require Windows. If not, the cost of entry drops further. If your band or label makes less than $20,000 gross/year, Reaper costs $60, not $225.

At $80, selling their songs at the standard small-label price of $1/80 points per song, the band would have to sell about 2,650 songs to recoup their investment, before taxes. At $640, its 2,133 songs.

Sounds daunting, eh? Dropping $640 with no guarantee of profit? If you're just putting on 2 or 3 songs, you could probably hire a ScoreHero forum person who has a few years' experience in charting to put it together for $200-$300, or less, who knows.

There's no accurate sales figures for Rock Band DLC; Statosphere [dlcstats.com] used to attempt to estimate them based on leaderboard activity, and the song that had sold the fewest copies as of Sept. 2008 (Devo's "Through Being Cool") sold an estimated 2,895 copies in three weeks at $2/sale. MC Frontalot moved an estimated 3,445 copies at $1 each of "Livin' at the Corner of Dude and Catastrophe" in one week.

The worst-selling song, The Runaways' "Cherry Bomb," was available on opening day and sold an estimated 13,550 copies in the first 11 months of Rock Band's existence; projecting that performance onto a RBN release, that'd be a gross take for the artist of $4,065, at 30 percent of each $1 sale.

Don't take any of this for any significance - IANA band's business manager, the DLC stats above are sketchy at best, and it'll be a much more crowded marketplace full of songs that will, on average, have lower-quality audio and note charts. But 1.) it's not $1,000 for gear, and for most small bands and some small labels, it won't be $500, and 2.) there's a decent chance artists and labels with a fan base and dedication to quality and promotion can break even.

Re:bout time? (1)

cbhacking (979169) | more than 5 years ago | (#28745981)

Not many platforms that you can develop for without owning the platform in question. The fact that there aren't tools to do this on the Wii isn't Microsoft's fault; complain to Nintendo (or Sony) if you want a hobbiest game development toolkit that you can use for stuff like this.

The combo of those two things can be had for a lot less than $1000. (In fact, if you already have *any* computer than can run Windows, in terms of its minimum specs, then you should be able to spend under $500.) For that matter, does XNA run under Mono and/or Wine (I know it needs Visual Studio, so probably Wine is a must)? Just a thought.

Where did the figures come from? (2, Interesting)

Snarf You (1285360) | more than 5 years ago | (#28738605)

Comparing the summary, article, and official site [rockband.com] :

Summary and article: prices range from 50 cents to $3 per song
Official site: Final pricing has yet to be determined

Summary: Artists get 30% after MTV and MS take their cut
Article: Artists get 30% of each sale
Official site: Artists get "a cut" of each sale

Where did the figures in the article and summary come from?

Re:Where did the figures come from? (3, Informative)

oboreruhito (925965) | more than 5 years ago | (#28739193)

It's from the interview with Harmonix and MTV Games.

Songs submitted through this process must then be reviewed by other developers to check for playability, inappropriate lyrics, copyright infringement and so on. Harmonix will post approved tracks to an in-game download store separate from its existing "Rock Band" store where creators can set their own price (50 cents to $3 per song) and receive 30% of any resulting sales. Gamers will also be able to demo 30-second samples of each track.

The Billboard article is extremely detailed, with info on training the review community; Microsoft's development of a Harmonix-hosted subset of the XBL Creators Club, with special rules just for Rock Band; details on the software to be used by artists and and HMX; record label Sub Pop announcing that they're already moving content onto the network, including all of their fall releases; and MTV saying they may eventually combine the RBN and existing Rock Band Store markets if RBN is successful.

Re:Where did the figures come from? (1)

oboreruhito (925965) | more than 5 years ago | (#28739199)

I swear the link was in the preview. Billboard interview [billboard.biz]

Re:Where did the figures come from? (1)

oboreruhito (925965) | more than 5 years ago | (#28744875)

this program is XNA exclusive

Nothing so far released regarding RBN and the Rock Band Creators Club indicates that it will require XNA. XNA Creators Club != XNA Studio, XNA the programming language, XNA the flamethrower, etc.

Details about Magma, which packages the songs for distribution, haven't been released; all Harmonix says is that it's a "PC tool." That means it may require XNA, but for all we know, it equally might require Java, or COBOL, or shoving your head up your ass. There's just no information yet.

it's also $1,000 to get started ... If you own a PLAYSTATION 3 and a PC running Linux, or if you own a Wii and a Macintosh computer, you also need to buy an Xbox 360 and a PC running Windows.

Ignoring the suggestion that a Mac owner or Linux user has to buy another computer to run Windows, you're looking at about $640-$850 ($230 Xbox Pro + $150 Windows license + $100-$150 360 Rock Band set + $100 Creators Club + $60-$225 Reaper license). Reaper has an OS X build and works in wine, but since we don't know anything about Magma, it may well require Windows. If not, the cost of entry drops further. If your band or label makes less than $20,000 gross/year, Reaper costs $60, not $225.

At $80, selling their songs at the standard small-label price of $1/80 points per song, the band would have to sell about 2,650 songs to recoup their investment, before taxes. At $640, its 2,133 songs.

Sounds daunting, eh? Dropping $640 with no guarantee of profit? If you're just putting on 2 or 3 songs, you could probably hire a ScoreHero forum person who has a few years' experience in charting to put it together for $200-$300, or less, who knows.

There's no accurate sales figures for Rock Band DLC; Statosphere [dlcstats.com] used to attempt to estimate them based on leaderboard activity, and the song that had sold the fewest copies as of Sept. 2008 (Devo's "Through Being Cool") sold an estimated 2,895 copies in three weeks at $2/sale. MC Frontalot moved an estimated 3,445 copies at $1 each of "Livin' at the Corner of Dude and Catastrophe" in one week.

The worst-selling song, The Runaways' "Cherry Bomb," was available on opening day and sold an estimated 13,550 copies in the first 11 months of Rock Band's existence; projecting that performance onto a RBN release, that'd be a gross take for the artist of $4,065, at 30 percent of each $1 sale.

Don't take any of this for any significance - IANA band's business manager, the DLC stats above are sketchy at best, and it'll be a much more crowded marketplace full of songs that will, on average, have lower-quality audio and note charts. But 1.) it's not $1,000 for gear, and for most small bands and some small labels, it won't be $500, and 2.) there's a decent chance artists and labels with a fan base and dedication to quality and promotion can break even.

Re:Where did the figures come from? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28739795)

The guess made by TFA seems a little high to me. I usually get my MS points cards from forum and ebay sellers at £10 for 1600 MSP (always a scan of the original card, not just an emailed code). That makes the 160 MSP price point for individual tracks £1 (or 80 MSP £0.50 for the in-house band tracks like Freezepop and MC Frontalot). If I'm paying £1 for well known artists and £0.50 for lesser known artists, then I'd expect to only pay £0.25 for unknown artists, especially as it's a huge amount of publicity for these artists.

Who Cares? (0, Redundant)

Klobbersaurus (796024) | more than 5 years ago | (#28738627)

Rock Band and Guitar Hero killed themselves when they started focusing on new and popular music rather than good music. I miss the days of guitar hero 2.

Re:Who Cares? (2, Insightful)

TheCowSaysMooNotBoo (997535) | more than 5 years ago | (#28739313)

You mean the music the "unwashed masses" want/get because they don't know better?

This is a big deal (2, Insightful)

shannara256 (262093) | more than 5 years ago | (#28738833)

This is a HUGE win for everyone: Harmonix the company, Rock Band the games, all of the musicians, and us as players. It's a blend of the iTunes music store and the iTunes app store, both of which were ground-breaking, genre-defining, and they both remain hugely profitable to everyone involved. This is going to let them build up their music library to be even bigger, and it was already large compared to Guitar Hero: World Tour's.

So far, both RB and GH:WT have been founded on songs sequenced by the game creators. While they've done a good job, and I can't really see another way to get started, it can never scale. There's so much music -- even when you limit the pool to music that can be fairly accurately portrayed by the combination of guitarist, bassist, drummer, and vocalist -- that this approach can only ever be a tiny, tiny drop in the bucket. Releasing the sequencing tools allows for crowd-sourcing, which scales very well indeed. There is going to be so much music available now that never was and never reasonably could be expected to have been made available via the old model.

I expect that indie musicians, and the savvier mainstream groups (I'm thinking of Radiohead here), will be the first ones in the door. If the record labels know anything about anything (which might be an unreasonable expectation), they'll eventually get in on this too.

I see two potential problems with this. One is that this could possibly limit their future expansion plans. Presumably there will be a Rock Band 3, and I would expect it to add features from RB: Beatles like multi-part harmonies. If songs are sequenced for RB2, will they be updated to take advantage of newly features in the future? It's very easy to imagine idiotic record labels getting all their stuff in once, with mediocre quality, and then never updating them. Harmonix is going to have to exercise its veto power a lot -- both to keep quality high, and to delay songs that really need upcoming improvements to be played the way they deserve to be.

The other problem I see is that the Wii and PS2/3 platforms are getting screwed. It'd be one thing if there were ONLY a delay between releasing on the Xbox and releasing on the other platforms -- that'd be ok. But releasing on the Xbox, and then maybe sometimes releasing on the other two, depending on some vaguely-defined metric? That's completely the wrong approach, and sounds like holdover thinking from the old way of doing things. Who's going to judge which tracks are eligible to be transferred to the other systems? At some level, that's always going to end up as judging the song, and more importantly imposing that judgment on the users (the paying customers!) of the other systems. I can't think of a valid reason to segregate the fanbase this way, and I think if they stick to this plan it will come back to bite them.

Still, based on the initial announcement... huge, HUGE win.

Re:This is a big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28739127)

The main, and probably only, reason why this is all originating on XBL is because Microsoft already has the community review infrastructure necessary in the Creators Club/Community Games.

Sony's nearest equivalent is the Little Big Planet community. The PS2 and Wii's got nothing like it.

From the spec, the community also judges the submitted tracks for quality and accuracy. This approach doesn't just spread the work of charting songs around, it also crowdsources quality control, copyright infringement policing and community decency standards in the approval process.

There's no possible way this could exist in the PS3 and Wii environments as they currently exist. Maybe this will inspire a centralized community for user-created content on these systems - considering the histories of Sony and Nintendo, though, I doubt it. They'll both be content letting the 360 community do the work so they don't have to, while reaping the highest quality output at little expense to themselves.

In other words, the 360 gets some exclusivity, but Sony and Nintendo don't get the headaches of community management.

Re:This is a big deal (2, Interesting)

shannara256 (262093) | more than 5 years ago | (#28739311)

Like I said, I don't have a problem with a simple delay. If Microsoft has the best system for developing content, and/or Harmonix got the best deal with them, fine, give them a limited(!) period of exclusivity. But here's what I have a problem with:

Tracks for the Rock Band Network will be made available later in the fall on the Xbox 360® video game entertainment system from Microsoft. Stand out tracks will follow on the PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system and Wii(TM) console. (press release [rockband.com] )

I believe the community you were referring to is other song creators, not the public at large, and the wiki page's [rockband.com] mention of peer review would tend to reinforce that. It seems reasonable to me that songs that are effectively in beta testing aren't publicly available. Rereading the press release with the peer review in mind, it's possible that by "stand out tracks" they meant "tracks that passed review", but that's not clearly spelled out in the press release, and the other platforms aren't mentioned at all on the wiki.

Re:This is a big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28739391)

The program is limited to the Xbox 360 because it's part of Microsoft's XNA indie games program and MS has been extremely involved in getting this whole project off the ground. If Sony or Nintendo developed

Re:This is a big deal (1)

kuzb (724081) | more than 5 years ago | (#28746259)

How is it a win, when you do all the work and they make most of the money? This is almost as awful as the current model record companies use for selling albums.

Re:This is a big deal (1)

shawb (16347) | more than 5 years ago | (#28749107)

No big deal, just set up your own content delivery system with Rockband's level of immersion, pay for hosting and bandwith, arrange a payment method, and find and advertise to an audience as large as Rockband provides instantly. Then you don't have to worry about those companies taking 70% off the top of sales.

As a die hard Guitar Hero fan (1)

Welsh Dwarf (743630) | more than 5 years ago | (#28738917)

This might just be the tipping point into investing in Rock Band 2 for the Wii.

Smart move in any case.

Re:As a die hard Guitar Hero fan (1)

Binestar (28861) | more than 5 years ago | (#28740445)

I'm surprised I haven't seen RawdSD mentioned for the Wii. RawkSD [gbatemp.net] is a program which will export Rock Band 1, GH1-3 (Not world tour (yet)) songs into RB2 format and they'll be playable from the SD bard like current DLC is.

You can also write your own charts (I can't, I don't have the patience) or get pre-made charts from ScoreHero [scorehero.com] and use your own music to import. It is Ogg based.

Re:As a die hard Guitar Hero fan (1)

greg1104 (461138) | more than 5 years ago | (#28757045)

The Wii is by far the worst platform for playing Rock Band 2. Just the most obvious points:

  • Because of the lack of hard drive, can't assimilate content from other RB titles into the game--can't even play the Wii RB1 song
  • Downloadable content is still a small fraction of what's available for the other platforms, and since there's no bundles available on the Wii it costs far more to purchase a large library of songs from favorite artists.

  • The instrument compatibility situation is a disaster. Check out the instrument compatibility matrix [joystiq.com] , and note that for the most part you'll need to a buy a whole second set of instruments if you also want to play the Guitar Hero band games too--the cross-game situations is much better on the other consoles. The compatibility is better for guitars if you have the right ones, complete mess for drums on the Wii no matter what you buy (and those are of course the last thing you want two sets of!)
  • Video quality is awful, particularly if you have large hi-def TV. You can have three clear instrument tracks on a big screen on the other platforms, there's just not enough resolution for it to look right available on the Wii.

  • Wii song downloads are more tightly bound to a single console than on other platforms.

If you've already got a Wii, want a fairly cheap solution, and don't plan to buy very much downloadable content, RB2 for the Wii might still make sense for you anyway. But it's a very poor platform if you expect a great RB2 experience.

"Protection" scheme - ring a bell? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28739229)

This just shows how the music 'industry' works and how it protects its artists. They protect them from making money for their hard work.

Its about time America live up to their 'free country' slogan and kill monopolies like RIAA & MPAA and create a real free market.

Is the any allowance for Creative Commons music? (2, Insightful)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 5 years ago | (#28739275)

What about artists who don't want to charge money for their work?

Re:Is the any allowance for Creative Commons music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28739819)

Judging by the experience Valve has had with Microsoft, you either charge for your content or you don't put it up on Xbox Live.

Re:Is the any allowance for Creative Commons music (1)

Princeofcups (150855) | more than 5 years ago | (#28742185)

What about artists who don't want to charge money for their work?

You have no choice. MSN charges to host the song, so they will want their money. Same for Harmonix. I suppose you can give your cut to charity.

Re:Is the any allowance for Creative Commons music (1)

YokoZar (1232202) | more than 5 years ago | (#28752401)

What about artists who don't want to charge money for their work?

You have no choice. MSN charges to host the song, so they will want their money. Same for Harmonix. I suppose you can give your cut to charity.

Ok, so why can't I cut MSN and Harmonix out of the loop and download the song directly from the internet and then put it in using a CD?

frets on fire did it first (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28739387)

frets-on-fire [sourceforge.net] has been doing this for a long time. Although, its nice to see the commercial market has caught up with its open source counterpart.

Re:frets on fire did it first (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#28741637)

Problem with FOF is that it looks ugly and doesn't ship with any music, so its a PTIA to setup. I got my brother to install it on his wii but we ended up playing GH more simply because it
1) had a story mode
2) was easier to just play
3) very few of the frets

Its a shame FOF would be much better than GH when you have mates round a 4GB dvd could easily fit ~1000 oggs, i reckon i could fix most of my GH worthy music on a single dvd meaning instead of playing some generic 80s metal i don't care for we can rock out to what i personally like (RATM,muse,etc). Perhaps if it was more well known FOF+a dont look retarded mod+1000 popular songs would be a popular torrent, maybe indie artists would be tempted to sell their own FOF spins, i supose it comes down to the fact GH/RB has much more marketing hype :(

Re:frets on fire did it first (1)

ResidntGeek (772730) | more than 5 years ago | (#28744039)

You need multitrack files for FOF. Do you have multitracks of all the Rage songs you want to play?

What about copyrights? (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 5 years ago | (#28739769)

What about the copyrights for the songs? Do you maintain total control over your work? Are you signing your songs over to them? Are you granting them an exclusive contract to redistribute your songs in perpetuity? Can you revoke the agreement later and pull your music off their service? If you later "make it big", can they hold this agreement over your head to force you into further contractual agreements with them?

What about cover versions? (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 5 years ago | (#28740185)

What if I want to play my interpretation of "sympathy for the devil"? I'm more than happy to give the Rolling Stones their cut, per the copyright law...

Re:What about cover versions? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28740799)

What if I want to play my interpretation of "sympathy for the devil"? I'm more than happy to give the Rolling Stones their cut

Have you already contacted the Stones' publisher?

Re:What about cover versions? (1)

chefmonkey (140671) | more than 5 years ago | (#28742269)

Have you already contacted the Stones' publisher?

He doesn't need to.

At least in the U.S., cover versions of any publicly-distributed songs are covered by compulsory licensing [wikipedia.org] , which means the copyright holder is legally compelled to license the song to anyone who asks properly. The recordings are not, which is why sampling and mash-ups run into sticky licensing issues. But there is absolutely nothing whatsoever that the song (lyrics and melody) copyright holder can do to prevent you from recording and selling a cover of a song, as long as you comply with certain conditions prior to the sale of the song, and pay the judicially-set royalties.

In fact, this is quite probably why Rock Band has a number of tracks that aren't performed by the original artist -- the publisher can refuse to license the recording, but can't do squat to stop use of the song.

Re:What about cover versions? (2, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743307)

At least in the U.S., cover versions of any publicly-distributed songs are covered by compulsory licensing

As I understand it, the U.S. compulsory license applies to pure sound recordings, not to audiovisual works that include synchronized media such as "gem" charts.

Re:What about cover versions? (1)

chefmonkey (140671) | more than 5 years ago | (#28743745)

So my iTunes visualizer is violating copyright law whenever I play a cover song?

Re:What about cover versions? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28747181)

So my iTunes visualizer is violating copyright law whenever I play a cover song?

Probably not, for two reasons:

  • The output of the visualizer is not fixed in a tangible medium. Step charts for DDR or gem charts for GH/RB are.
  • Copyright requires either creativity (USA) or labor (UK, Australia) in order to create a derivative work. The output of the visualizer is a mechanical transformation, involving no labor or creativity.

Re:What about cover versions? (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#28770911)

Have you already contacted the Stones' publisher?

He doesn't need to.

At least in the U.S., cover versions of any publicly-distributed songs are covered by compulsory licensing [wikipedia.org] , which means the copyright holder is legally compelled to license the song to anyone who asks properly.

Part of the asking properly is 30-days advance notice before being made available. So yes, he would need to contact the publisher beforehand.

That is just cool (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 5 years ago | (#28740995)

There's a lot of really good independants out there (I know, captain obvious just called...), and a 30% cut, while not the best thing in the world, is still better than a lot of what these artists would make otherwise in the current environment (so lets call it "baby steps", or "progression"). That will encourage the bests to do even more, and even bring some independants into the mainstream spotlight. Whats not to like?

If there's some good stuff that pops in there, Ill happily burn hundreds of dollars on this. Im a sucker for good, original music.

Re:That is just cool (2, Insightful)

Helios1182 (629010) | more than 5 years ago | (#28741321)

Even if they don't make money it is cheap advertising. A weekend of setting up the track and $100 to register is cheap, and it will likely result in some sales and better recognition. Most independent artists suffer from a lack of visibility -- it is hard to sell records if no one has heard of you. This might help them out in that area a little bit.

Re:That is just cool (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 5 years ago | (#28741457)

Especially since the 100$ to register is yearly. So they can make a lot of songs for their 100$.

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