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Music DLC still selling despite genre decline

Downloadable tracks still popular on Xbox Live, despite music game sales dropping by $570 million in the US this year

While sales of music games continue to decline radically, downloadable songs for titles such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band are still enjoying a lot activity over services such as Xbox Live.

During November Activision's music genre sales in the US fell 65 per cent compared to last year, with DJ Hero, Guitar Hero and Band Hero pulling in USD 55 million for the publisher. Sales of EA and MTVs Rock Band for the month were USD 31 million, down 59 per cent compared to last year.

"Sales of music genre games have suffered mightily in 2009, with sales through November totalling USD 620 million, compared to USD 1.19 billion in the same period a year ago," detailed Wedbush Morgan's Michael Pachter. "The USD 570 million decline in year-over-year music sales is responsible for two thirds of the overall decline in software sales thus far in 2009."

However, Microsoft's David Dennis told GamesIndustry.biz that while High Street retail wasn't enjoying such a buoyant music market, sales of songs and track packs on Xbox Live were still going strong.

"We still see a lot of activity on Live for those games, people are still buying a lot of song packs for them. And that's an ongoing revenue stream that third parties can do, and leverage games like that to keep the experience fresh. It's a steady stream, and a sort of steady adoption."

Dennis added that once players are hooked on a game, they become dedicated to downloading new music and building a collection of tracks to keep the software fresh.

"I know that people are very passionate about the music games and play them over and over and over again, they keep coming back and downloading more and more content.

"It's an investment in a music library, just as you would for your CD library. People are passionate about building out their music game library, it's something that they cherish and play with their friends over again."

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