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Rock Band Network opens to public

Over 100 songs made available on day one; T-Mobile signs up as launch partner

The new Rock Band Network Music Store opened to the public today, giving Rock Band users in the US access to over 100 new songs that have been uploaded to the store directly by musicians, publishers and record labels.

In addition, T-Mobile has been announced as a launch partner of the Network, and will develop an 'Artist of the Month' feature beginning in April to help fans identify and connect with new talent on the store.

"The Rock Band Network Music Store gives artists at any level the opportunity to reach new fans through our deeply engaging interactive platform,” said Paul DeGooyer, senior VP of Electronic Games and Music for MTV Networks Music Group.

"This new pathway for discovery is a huge win for passionate music fans, as well as an opportunity for artists to promote themselves while positively impacting their bottom line."

The Network allows song-owners to author their own tracks for use in the game, using proprietary software developed by Harmonix. Artists can then choose a price for their track and will receive a royalty of 30 per cent of the retail selling price.

Over 100 songs were made available on day one of the Network's opening, with artists such as The Shins, The Hold Steady and Jonathan Coulton all launching songs. With more than 1100 tracks already available through the Rock Band Store and an additional 300 artists in the RBN pipeline, the move should significantly boost the number of tracks available for users to download.

However, despite the high numbers of sign-ups, there have been some doubts expressed about the accessibility of the Network to unsigned artists and its effectiveness going forward.

Some third-party music companies have been charging up to $2500 to convert one track for sale on the store - way out of the price range of most up-and-coming musicians - and the retail price of $3 per song has been criticised as too high to enable Rock Band's use as a music discovery tool.


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