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User-Created Content Coming For Rock Band

Harmonix gives away the keys to the castle and lets you create, play, and sell your own music in Rock Band 2.


So, it'll still look a lot like this, but instead you'll be playing that song you wrote about how Christopher Walken is a badass. 
Despite having a large number of blackmail-worthy photos of a Harmonix employee, I've yet to get any songs by my band, Midnight Brown, in the Rock Band download store. Tragic, I know. But the good news is that I don't need to go through that whole process anymore, because Harmonix has unveiled plans to allow average songwriting copyright holders like me to plot out my own note charts and place my music in a separate community store governed by the same style of community moderation used by Microsoft's XNA-based Indie Games program.

According to Billboard, the program is called the Rock Band Network, and it's currently in a closed beta, with a planned public beta coming in August and a launch on Xbox 360 before the year is out. MTV's saying that it's expecting to bring popular tracks from this program to the PlayStation 3 and the Wii, but since this whole thing currently hinges on the Xbox 360's XNA Creator's Club setup, the Network store will be 360-exclusive at first.

While this seems great for the individual songwriters and performers out there who own the rights to their content, have their masters, and are down to do it themselves, this will also allow labels that want to be a part of Rock Band to process their entire catalog, sidestepping the weekly track downloads that will continue to make their way into the main Rock Band store. It sounds like Harmonix will make some portion of their community available for hire by people or companies who have the music, but don't want to plot out the gameplay themselves. Billboard also spoke to the head of Sub Pop, which plans to make its biggest releases over the last couple of years as well as all of its upcoming fall releases available through Rock Band Network.

Once the work is complete, it's submitted and checked for to ensure that all the proper copyrights are in place, as well as for explicit lyrics or gameplay issues. Once approved, the tracks can be sold via the Network store for somewhere between 50 cents and $3, and the user/label/copyright holder's cut is 30 percent of the sale price.

The software used to actually take the split master tracks (or "stems," if you will) is a custom version of Reaper, from Cockos. In addition to setting up all of the note charts, you'll also be able to use Reaper to set up the lighting, camera angles, and default characters used in the background.

OK, this whole thing sounds seriously awesome and feels like the correct way to allow user-generated content in a music game. The whole sampled, MIDI sounding thing that Guitar Hero added in World Tour resulted in a bunch of people just continually uploading different "rockin'" versions of Super Mario Bros. music. Rock Band Network will obviously have a significantly higher barrier to entry, but if the end result is actual, real music that has the potential to be an additional revenue stream for smaller acts out there, that higher barrier seems like it's totally worth it. For more detail, check out Billboard's story. We'll have more as it becomes available. Meanwhile, I'm going to go start blackmailing someone to get into that closed beta... 
 
[UPDATE] Harmonix has launched its official site for the project at http://creators.rockband.com/, complete with a video that details how RBN will work. Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
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Posted by Jeff

So, it'll still look a lot like this, but instead you'll be playing that song you wrote about how Christopher Walken is a badass. 
Despite having a large number of blackmail-worthy photos of a Harmonix employee, I've yet to get any songs by my band, Midnight Brown, in the Rock Band download store. Tragic, I know. But the good news is that I don't need to go through that whole process anymore, because Harmonix has unveiled plans to allow average songwriting copyright holders like me to plot out my own note charts and place my music in a separate community store governed by the same style of community moderation used by Microsoft's XNA-based Indie Games program.

According to Billboard, the program is called the Rock Band Network, and it's currently in a closed beta, with a planned public beta coming in August and a launch on Xbox 360 before the year is out. MTV's saying that it's expecting to bring popular tracks from this program to the PlayStation 3 and the Wii, but since this whole thing currently hinges on the Xbox 360's XNA Creator's Club setup, the Network store will be 360-exclusive at first.

While this seems great for the individual songwriters and performers out there who own the rights to their content, have their masters, and are down to do it themselves, this will also allow labels that want to be a part of Rock Band to process their entire catalog, sidestepping the weekly track downloads that will continue to make their way into the main Rock Band store. It sounds like Harmonix will make some portion of their community available for hire by people or companies who have the music, but don't want to plot out the gameplay themselves. Billboard also spoke to the head of Sub Pop, which plans to make its biggest releases over the last couple of years as well as all of its upcoming fall releases available through Rock Band Network.

Once the work is complete, it's submitted and checked for to ensure that all the proper copyrights are in place, as well as for explicit lyrics or gameplay issues. Once approved, the tracks can be sold via the Network store for somewhere between 50 cents and $3, and the user/label/copyright holder's cut is 30 percent of the sale price.

The software used to actually take the split master tracks (or "stems," if you will) is a custom version of Reaper, from Cockos. In addition to setting up all of the note charts, you'll also be able to use Reaper to set up the lighting, camera angles, and default characters used in the background.

OK, this whole thing sounds seriously awesome and feels like the correct way to allow user-generated content in a music game. The whole sampled, MIDI sounding thing that Guitar Hero added in World Tour resulted in a bunch of people just continually uploading different "rockin'" versions of Super Mario Bros. music. Rock Band Network will obviously have a significantly higher barrier to entry, but if the end result is actual, real music that has the potential to be an additional revenue stream for smaller acts out there, that higher barrier seems like it's totally worth it. For more detail, check out Billboard's story. We'll have more as it becomes available. Meanwhile, I'm going to go start blackmailing someone to get into that closed beta... 
 
[UPDATE] Harmonix has launched its official site for the project at http://creators.rockband.com/, complete with a video that details how RBN will work.
Staff
Edited by Driam

Now nothing can stop the deadly robot vampire.

Posted by Wokisan

This sounds awesome! It might also get more peeps interested in the XNA games overall as well.

Posted by albedos_shadow

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK YES!

Posted by McMooMan

jeff has a band :o downloading one of his albums now :D

Edited by Ben_H

That sounds so awesome.  Here's hoping bands support this and get their entire discography put in.

The definitive Alex picture from the linky-thing:

Jeff holding a mysterious jar of orange fluid and a knife, with Alex Navarro.

Posted by albedos_shadow
@Driam said:
" Now nothing can stop the deadly robot vampire. "
I just want to rub my cat belt buckle.
Posted by Fallen189


Posted by Ryan

IM Conversation With Alex Navarro This Morning

 
Ryan: so still no cursing, I assume?
 
Alex: still no cursing.
 
Ryan: fuck you.

Staff
Posted by Aaron_G

This is just awesome. 

Edited by skrutop

Sounds pretty sweet, but I definitely don't have the musical chops to do anything but download and play.  Midnight Brown in RB?  That's a winner.

But don't kid yourself, Jeff.  The market will be flooded with SMB music.

Posted by Venatio

Sounds great

Posted by papercut

sweetness

Posted by Venatio
@Ryan said:
"

IM Conversation With Alex Navarro This Morning

 
Ryan: so still no cursing, I assume?
 
Alex: still no cursing.
 
Ryan: fuck you.

"
lol Awesome^^
Posted by faustyn

ok. midnight brown in rock band confirmed! ;D
someone should contact the guy who made the giant bomb song (my heart belongs to giant bomb) and tell him to put it in!

Posted by Atomasist

Sweet.

Posted by CL60

:O

Posted by Moebi

This sounds super awesome

Edited by LeadNinja

So, will we have to pay loads of money for the software to actually do this?  I'm not interested in distributing my own stuff to the world, but if I could use this to play around with and put my own songs onto my own 360, I'd give it a spin.

Edit -- Hm, I suppose it must need an XNA subscription.

Posted by Mouth
@Ryan said:
"

IM Conversation With Alex Navarro This Morning


Ryan: so still no cursing, I assume?
 
Alex: still no cursing.
 
Ryan: fuck you.

"

That's hilarious. ^^
Posted by DukeTogo

CockOS?  Isn't that the code name for Windows7?

Posted by Nat3TheGreat13

Awesome!

Posted by trophyhunter

you have to paid someone's crappy fan made music?

Posted by damnboyadvance

Awesome! But hopefully, this doesn't start spamming the Rock Band Music Store.

Posted by Shuborno

Wow.  Excellent idea.  It's such an awesome promotional tool for small bands to tell their audience they can get their music as a CD, digital download, and as Rock Band tracks.

Harmonix already kicked off a trend of players trying real instruments, and now they have a chance to positively affect the music industry by giving smaller bands better tools.  Awesome.

Posted by Tebbit

Blackmail-worthy you say?


perhaps you mean this one:



MC Hammer called, and he wants his fresh new kicks back. Probably.
Posted by TiE23

This may be insanely cool... or just really disappointing. I really, REALLY, just want a "create your own chart, add music to it yourself" like I could chart out any song, plug in my MP3 player, press play, and go along with it. I mean, I spent like 5 hours on this one chart for Frets on Fire and never used it... cause mostly Frets on Fire is a pile of steaming crap.
So if you're a fan of Mastodon and like their song Capillarian Crest for it's ball-to-the-wall awesomeness send me a PM and I'll get you a way to see my chart.

Posted by RHCPfan24

AWWWWW YEAH!!!!

Midnight Brown is coming to Rock Band!!

Posted by Reverseface

Gewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwt midnight brown UP IN DAT JUNK.

Posted by Djstyles92
@Ryan said:
"

IM Conversation With Alex Navarro This Morning

 
Ryan: so still no cursing, I assume?
 
Alex: still no cursing.
 
Ryan: fuck you.

"
lmao u tell him!!
Posted by Joseppie

I'm wondering how people will do in creating their own note paths, but it sounds awesome otherwise.

Posted by Gav47

Jeff has a band, since when? linked page doesn't give a lot of info

Posted by Death_Burnout

Midnight Brown in Rock Band GO!

Posted by TheLawnWrangler

this will work because people won't have to make music with five pads and five buttons

Posted by Artemis_D

Gravy Robbers.  In My Rock Band.  Now, please.

Posted by Keeng
@skrutop said:
" Sounds pretty sweet, but I definitely don't have the musical chops to do anything but download and play.  Midnight Brown in RB?  That's a winner.But don't kid yourself, Jeff.  The market will be flooded with SMB music. "
Um...no. It's not the type of thing where people can just make stuff and post it. It goes through moderation and copyright checks first and then Harmonix decides whether or not to post it. This will be real, recorded music. This will also be AWESOME.
Posted by phlegms

Because it totally worked for guitar hero..

Posted by Hobbies

Awesome news.

Posted by TheHBK

Guitar hero just got blown out of the water.

Posted by Oni

The potential for this is pretty amazing, and it's further breaking down the barrier between fans and creators, musicians and gamers etc. Awesome.

Posted by Wandering_Hands

This is just so Awesome!!!

Posted by AURON570

the thing with user created charts or songs all-together, is that people just don't want to learn an entirely new system. But there are lots of people who want to play songs that aren't on rockband, or feel than can do a better job of charting songs that already exist on rock band. I'm not one of them, but this isn't exactly something new. Having played Stepmania for years now, i've never attempted to create my own charts, but i do appreciate the people who do take the time to make fun step charts (that fit with the music) that I can download and play for myself. It'll take some time but sooner or later people will want more than the official releases and will either start downloading user-created content or make their own.

Posted by Heartagram

Who knew jeff had his own band...

Posted by Media_Master

its about time!

Posted by WreckinRodRumbler

Oh my god, that sounds amazing!

Posted by MattyFTM

I would totally buy midnight brown tracks on rock band.  You guys neeeeeeeeeeeeed to add them to this thing.

Moderator
Posted by ahoodedfigure
@MattyFTM: Every time anyone mentions Midnight Brown, Robot Vampire automatically starts playing in my head.
Posted by borgmaster

every giantbomb user who owns rock band needs to buy the midnight brown tracks when they come out, let's see if we can't get them on whatever top 10 download thing this service will inevitably have.

Posted by skrutop
@Keeng said:
" @skrutop said:
" Sounds pretty sweet, but I definitely don't have the musical chops to do anything but download and play.  Midnight Brown in RB?  That's a winner.But don't kid yourself, Jeff.  The market will be flooded with SMB music. "
Um...no. It's not the type of thing where people can just make stuff and post it. It goes through moderation and copyright checks first and then Harmonix decides whether or not to post it. This will be real, recorded music. This will also be AWESOME.
"
Oh, thank God for that.
Posted by SleepyDoughnut

So we're up in the basement, to write some new music
I strap on my Keytar, and I know how to use it

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