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Viacom to pay out $50m in rights for The Beatles: Rock Band

By Matt Martin

Tue 01 Sep 2009 9:53am GMT / 5:53am EDT / 2:53am PDT

Day-one sales expected to cover minimum guarantee and production costs - report

Rights owners to the The Beatles back catalogue have been guaranteed USD 10 million from Viacom's The Beatles: Rock Band deal, with another USD 40 million due from royalties of the game, according to a report.

Citing three people familiar with the deal, a story by The LA Times claims that Sony/ATV Music Publishing (a joint venture between Sony Corp and Michael Jackson's estate), Apple Corp, EMI Music and the estates of John Lennon and George Harrison will all be in-line for unprecedented payouts.

"The royalty rates on this are not even comparable to anything that has been done before," offered Martin Bandier, chairman of Sony/ATV Music Publishing.

Viacom and MTV Games will release the Harmonix-developed The Beatles: Rock Band on September 9, with the high-end SKU for the game retailing at USD 249 / EUR 199.

According to the report, Viacom will recoup its minimum guarantee to the rights holders as well as its productions costs from day one sales for the game.

However, it's in the area of downloadable content that MTV expects The Beatles: Rock Band to pull in the real profits. Full albums Abbey Road, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and Rubber Soul are all due before the end of the year, priced at GBP 11.56 / EUR 16.32 on Xbox Live.

"The really big opportunity is the downloadable content," added Bandier.

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