Less Than Expected Sales Of Beatles Rockband Shows It's Not Just About The Music

from the the-best-things-in-life-are-free... dept

You may recall last year that the head of Warner Music Group, Edgar Bronfman Jr., demanded that music video games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band weren't paying enough for the music they used in the games, saying that the success of such games was "entirely dependent on the content we own and control." As we mentioned at the time, this is the usual fallacy of the entertainment industry, to assume that the entire value of the product is in the content itself, rather than other aspects of it -- such as the gameplay. It looks like the initial sales results of the massively overhyped Beatles Rockband is helping to prove this point. Despite all the attention and press and the fact that this was the Beatles' music being offered in such a game for the first time, reader Eric alerts us to the news that sales of the game have massively underperformed expectations. Sales were less than 60% of what most analysts expected, and some of the quotes from people suggest why:
"[It] felt like an expansion to me, not a full release... [It was] cool, but not quite enough to be a stand alone game ($60) purchase."
That's just one quote, but others have expressed a similar sentiment. The music... that's nice, but you can get Beatles' music all over. It's the game that makes this worth buying -- or not worth buying. And just adding new music to an old game wasn't nearly as exciting as many people hoped it would be. This isn't to say the music is "worthless." But it does suggest -- yet again -- that the entertainment industry overvalues the contribution of the content itself.
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Filed Under: beatles, music, rockband


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Oct 2009 @ 1:14pm

    It is once again a great Techdirt reach, attempting tocome to some grand conclusion, mostly by ignoring mitigating factors. Those factors have been well highlighted here in the comments, such as the age group who might like the music versus the age that might play the game, the idea of it being sold as a stand alone versus add on, etc.

    The music is a significant part of the guitar hero and rock band products. Without decent music that people enjoy, the games would likely not be anywhere near as popular. I don't think it is hard to imagine that players would rather rock out to popular or well known tunes rather than gaming elevator music.

    So using this as some twisted way to say the music has less value just isn't anything other than a horrible sort of shilling.

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