Beyond the Console: How 'Guitar Hero' Is Changing Musical Tastes

Or ... Why 12-Year-Olds Are 'Screaming for Vengeance'

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'Rock Band' trailer
According to Paul DeGooyer at MTV, 12-year-old girls have been showing up at Judas Priest shows and singing along to "Screaming for Vengeance" and "You've Got Another Thing Coming," both tracks from an album the British metal band put out in 1982. Sure, Priest has a new release that its fan base seems to be gobbling up, but the senior VP-electronic games and music told Ad Age's Beth Snyder Bulik there's a different reason tweens have latched on: "Rockband."

Okay, maybe some of you saw that coming. But recently Beth decided to find out how much "Guitar Hero" and the aforementioned franchise have changed the ways bands get their music out to the public. In the process, she found some evidence for what many of us have suspected: Music tastes in the games seem to be affecting the world beyond the console.
... Russ Crupnick, analyst with NPD Group, said that in the fourth quarter of last year and first quarter this year, the heavy-metal category saw an uptick in digital sales, likely due to the video games. Heavy-metal music sales in the first quarter of 2007 were just 3.9% of the total, but that number jumped to 6% in May.

"One of the real trends in music is to break out of being a band that just puts out CDs to [following] the Rolling Stone model of merchandising, games and out-tracks -- all those consumer touchpoints become incredibly important," Mr. Crupnick said.

It's also another revenue generator, as the bands are paid a royalty for each video game sold, similar to the financial deal they would receive if their music was sold on iTunes or via CDs. Bands also receive royalties for song downloads to the video-game console.
Although metal and classic rock seem to be sharing most of the renewed fan interest, Charles Huang, co-founder of RedOctane and co-creator of "Guitar Hero," told Beth that his franchise has only covered 25 to 29% of the music genres sold in U.S. It's a safe bet that we'll see more hip-hop, R&B, country and maybe even jazz or classical songs in interactive music games during the coming years.

We'd be willing to lay down our hard-earned cash for "Glockenspiel Hero" or "Klezmerband," but at some point, they'll probably nuke the fridge and deliver us "Minimalist House Techno Hero" or "Sleepytime Jamband" and we'll move onto something else. Until then, a dedicated Otis Redding edition is totally in order, people!

[Via Ad Age]