UGC comes to Rock Band

 Posted by (Visited 5786 times)  Game talk, Music  Tagged with: , , ,
Jul 172009

Rock Band® has announced that the game will support user-created tracks, creating a completely new indie distribution channel for musicians, one that potentially rivals iTunes in importance. They’re promising a cut of every sale, and help with promotion.

  • Mix your multi track recordings.
    • You will need to mix them to fit the standards for Rock Band.
  • Create MIDI gameplay info.
    • Reaper is a Digital Audio Workstation. We have been working with Reaper’s creators (Cockos, Inc.) to add a number of specific Rock Band Network additions that will make creating MIDI song information simpler and more intuitive.
  • Create a song package with Magma.
    • Magma is a PC tool that we are creating to allow authors to build Rock Band Network song packages.
  • Audition your song package within Rock Band 2.2
    • We will release a patch to Rock Band 2 that will enable “Audition Mode.” This will allow you to test out your song packages in game with features like speed up and slow down cheats and autoplay.
  • Upload to for Peer Review
    • Once your song is ready, upload it here. Other members of the community will try out your song, give you feedback, and submit reviews. Once your song has passed the review process, it is automatically approved for sale on Xbox Live.
  • Sell your song on Xbox Live
  • When the store opens, later this year, songs will be available for others to download via the RBN store ingame.

Probably the most interesting part is the mandatory peer review for publshing tracks up to the network. You’ll need to be a member of the XNA Creators’ Club to participate.

There’s a Wiki up with the full spec.

  10 Responses to “UGC comes to Rock Band”

  1. Awesomazing! These guys have really made good on all their promises – crazy amounts of dlc, Rock Band as a platform rather than a sequel farm (ahem – Guitar Hero?). Bravo.

    Side note: i’m with Daniel James of Three Rings when he argues for calling it “player-created content” rather than “user-generated content”, which makes it sound like some kind of fluid seeping out of a junkie.

  2. OMG! OMG! You just blew out my wicked cool meter! When can I get started? I’ve got the PS3 version, sadly, but maybe you can create without an XBox, I hope? If not… anybody got a cheap used XBox? OMG! OMG!

  3. it seems more like uh… musician created music… that just now has a “new” middleman and “publisher” option for them to distribute or try to monetize through, IF accepted and if the cut is right….;)

    its ok , not a bad thing… but really…not worth any meta mews…

    funny how the old platform– a 16$ cd is “evil” while the new “platform” a 60$ game is “Awesomazing! ”

    wicked cool.

    new boss same as the old boss.

  4. New boss gets my stuff peer-reviewed and critiqued by musicians and gamers who know and enjoy music, not some stuffed suit who’s looking for the next little pop diva to finance his beach house.

    I never even tried to clear the old bar. The new bar looks like something I want to take a shot at.

    Besides… if I get any good at it, other people might hire me to encode their Rock Band tracks. There are worse careers.

  5. @cube… 60/84 = ~71 cents a track for Rock Band 2. I think that’s pretty damn reasonable. 16 dollars a CD was evil because the CD had maybe 10 tracks on it and the margins were ridiculous; the math didn’t add up.

    DLC is more expensive, and I’d like to see prices shift downward there. 2 dollars a track is a bit much, even with the extra work involved. Especially when most of the indie stuff is a dollar a track instead, which means it’s mostly down to the suits wanting more money out of better known musicians. But if this custom content prices in that 1 dollar range then it’s got more value to customers than iTunes while costing just the same. And if it avoids licensing and restrictive distribution contracts, then it’s unambiguously a good thing.

  6. The author picks the price point, and it looks like it can be $0.50 to $3.00. How the studios will react is an open question, although some of the indies have already jumped on the wagon. If the majors like it, they could open the floodgates of their catalogs, which means the bedroom composers and garage bands would be going up against The Rolling Stones and The Who. That’s daunting… but in what other context is a garage band ever even going to get a shot at standing next to the giants?

    The clear winner is the average Rock Band user, who is about to get an overdrive boost in DLC selection. And I’ll accept comparisons to music CDs when I can play a music CD as a game… not that the day is far off.

  7. “…New boss gets my stuff peer-reviewed and critiqued by musicians and gamers who know and enjoy music, not some stuffed suit who’s looking for the next little pop diva to finance his beach house.”

    They are the same people. The people who review and hire (A&R) and the people who determine which acts get access to capital (production underwriters) are not. That ‘peer’ review we go on about may not be fair or even as fair. It will be a clique if not in the beginning, by the time there is any real money on the table.

    There are some longish threads at Jon Taplin’s blogs (Jon is a professor at UCLA, was the road manager for Dylan, and is a film producer with major credits) which includes some industry figures (eg, T-Bone Burnett who just won five Grammies, Rick Turner, etc.) on the topics of how the music industry works, real numbers for production costs, etc.

    That said, yes Rock Band is yet another rendering type among many a composer or label can target for monetizing it’s music. Yes, the indies will be crushed out of it just as they are at iTunes and almost any other distribution channel that targets high volume low cost sales. Get used to the idea that this is a very very very competitive business and no, not just anyone should be doing it.

  8. To date, Harmonix has been pretty proactive in getting exposure for unknown/less-known acts mixed in amongst the top names. I don’t know if that will continue under RBN, but I suspect it will. They have a degree of “geeks like me” cred that few music industry insiders would cop to.

    So paint me naive (wouldn’t be the first time, won’t be the last). I’m prepared to drop a couple hundred on this grand experiment just on the off chance that I can make the cut.

    My lead singer/business manager/wife has nixed buying a new game system just for this purpose (grumble), so it’ll have to wait until things are up and running for the PS3. But I am going to download the tools, get a feel for the process and eventually take my shot. And if I get crushed… hell, len, we’re gamers. “Crushed” just means we rerez, brush ourselves off, make a corpse run and try again.

    Agreed, not everybody should be doing this. Only the people who want to 😀

  9. That’s the spirit. Win, lose or draw, only players can win.

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