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Harmonix expands Rock Band Network with affiliates scheme

Music game hopes to attract more bands with discount marketing and authoring help

MTV Games' studio Harmonix has today unveiled an affiliacy scheme for its Rock Band series of music games.

The aim is to entice more musicians into creating downloadable tracks for Rock Band, by offering discounted third-party assistance in the creation, promotion and distribution of their music.

"The Affiliates Program is the next step in our goal of bridging the music and game spaces," said Paul DeGooyer, SVP, Electronic Games and Music, MTV.

"This initiative will promote the Rock Band Network to bands that frequent our affiliates’ sites and give the creators inside the Rock Band Network the opportunity to work with an amazing group of well-respected music distribution, promotion and technology sites, including Tunecore, Nimbit, Reverb Nation, Indaba Music and Topspin."

Bands signing up to Rock Band Network are promised the likes of waived and discounted account fees, complimentary distribution and promotion of RBN songs, banner ads, widgets, cross-promotional linking and more. Details of the affiliate companies' various services can be found here.

The scheme is likely to boost the currently 600-strong line-up of current and forthcoming musicians who have provided tracks to RBN, which launched this March. Artists who have signed up to sell specially-modified songs via the in-game music store include Flight of the Conchords, Smashing Pumpkins, Steve Vai and The Shins.

Harmonix and MTV Games' owner Viacom is doubtless hoping this will help reverse the 22 per cent decline in Rock Band sales during Q1 of this year, which threatened its relationship with distributor EA. Potentially, it will also help raise consumer awareness of lesser-known bands on the service.

Despite the music genre as a whole slumping in 2009, Rock Band 3 will launch later this year and, according to Harmonix, " will innovate and revolutionise the music genre once again."

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Alec Meer

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A 10-year veteran of scribbling about video games, Alec primarily writes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but given any opportunity he will escape his keyboard and mouse ghetto to write about any and all formats.

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