Yesterday I had the opportunity to tour the film department at the University of Central Florida and meet some of the faculty. I enjoyed seeing some of the new technology the students are using, it’s amazing how small the cameras and sound recording devices are getting. I didn’t get a chance to get over to their downtown facility, hopefully the next time I’m up there I will get to check out the sound stage and motion capture facility. After all of the writing and speaking I have been doing about music video games and avatars, I would totally be up for trying out one of those motion capture suits just to see what it’s like. I know, I’m a nerd, it happens.
Speaking of music video games, this week has brought the release of the set list for Rock Band 3, as well as the announcement of Rock Band Network 2.0. Harmonix and MTV Games have made some improvements to the Rock Band Network experience, you can read more about the changes here. From the time table released, it looks like new software for submitting tracks to RBN2 will be available starting in October, with song submissions starting early next year and tracks becoming available in the first quarter of 2011. I know there was quite a bit of excitement about the initial launch of Rock Band Network, I imagine there will be more of the same as the release of Rock Band 3 and the launch of RBN2 get closer, as well as questions as to how to get in on the action. So if you’re an act interested in getting your tracks on Rock Band Network, what do you need to do?
First of all, you need to check on the status of the copyrights to your track. A song has two copyrights: one in the underlying composition and one in the sound recording. In order to submit content to Rock Band Network, you need to either own the rights to both the composition and sound recording, or get permission from the label or publisher who has the rights. Also, Rock Band Network does not accept covers, or songs with samples, so stay with original tracks. Keeping tracks clean is a good idea too.
Next, you need to decide if you want to try authoring the tracks yourself or have an authoring company do it for you. If you’re good with recording technology, it might be simpler to try authoring it yourself. But be warned, it can be time consuming- the estimated time to author one track for RBN is 40 man hours. You will need the Reaper and Magma software, as well as an XBox 360, a Gold Level XBox Live Membership, and a Creators Club membership to complete the process. For more details read up on what’s involved here. Harmonix is also putting on a series of Rock Band Network authoring training sessions and networking events around the country, check it out here. If you want to go the authoring company route, shop around. There are differences in pricing and deals, TuneCore initially was charging $999 to author a song for submission to RBN, though they are now charging $2,500 for authoring a song. Other companies like RockGamer Studios charge by the minute for authoring. Also look at if the authoring deal calls for the company to get a percentage of your sales of the track. Once the track is authored and submitted to Rock Band Network, it must then go through peer review and receive a certain amount of positive feedback before it is made available for purchase. Once the track is made available for purchase, acts receive 30 percent of the track sales. The prices range from $1-3, so you can do the math as to how that works depending on the price. It seems like a great way to get exposure for your music. If you have tracks up on RBN, how is it going? What do you think? I’d be interested to hear from you.