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The Past And Future Of Rock Band DLC



How many songs are in the Rock Band catalog of songs at this point? How many artists is that split between?

We now have more than 2,700 songs available, across on-disc content, downloadable content and the Rock Band Network. That number continues to grow week by week and is pretty staggering considering we only started doing DLC in 2007. Rock Band features the most downloadable content available, out of any console video game, period. About 900 artists are represented among those 2,700 songs – we cover a lot of ground in terms of genre and time period. We have everybody from Otis Redding to The Beatles to Fleetwood Mac to Metallica to Bon Jovi to Avenged Sevenfold to Green Day to The Ramones to Duran Duran and much more!

On average, how many people download new songs for Rock Band every day?

I can’t give you a daily number, but since we started releasing DLC in 2007, nearly 5 million accounts have downloaded a song from the Rock Band catalog. With all of the negative press around the band genre, you might be surprised to learn that we still see more than a million unique users log on each month to play Rock Band and to pick up new music – and it’s not the same million players each month. Rock Band is a game that people can put down for a month to play Portal 2, or whatever new release captures their attention, and then fire up Rock Band again.

How many songs total have been downloaded over the life of the Rock Band franchise? Do you have a sense of how that number breaks down over each year of the franchise?

We recently hit a significant milestone; more than 100 million songs have been downloaded for Rock Band. It’s amazing. On behalf of Harmonix, I should probably take this opportunity to express our sincere thanks to all of our fans who have propelled us to these heights and to all of the artists whose music lies at the heart of the Rock Band experience.

How has the audience for DLC shifted over the life of the Rock Band franchise? Do you have a sense of what sort of players are downloading DLC these days? Are they devoted long-term players? Do you still see a lot of new users?

We have a core audience of devoted fans that have been with Rock Band since it first launched in 2007 and who continue to engage daily in our community and buy new DLC. We love them. They are the engine of our business. But there are always new people coming in for a variety of reasons. We’ve seen an unexpected spike in new users picking up Rock Band in the past months. We know there are a good number of Guitar Hero fans who were not ready to pack it in, and because their instruments are compatible, it seems like many of them are crossing over to Rock Band. We’re excited to welcome anyone into our community who is passionate about rhythm gaming and we hope that they’re excited about the depth of the Rock Band catalog.

With the launch of Rock Band 3, you began a new strategy with some songs. When pro guitar and bass is available, you charge an extra fee to attain those playable tracks. How has that strategy worked for the game? Will that continue to be the approach? What percentage of players that buy a song with pro-mode options also purchase the upgrade?

We created Pro mode for a segment of our users that feel compelled to explore new challenges in music gaming and begin to learn actual music skills. I think the strategy has broadly achieved what we set out to accomplish. The content economics for Pro are different in some important ways, and we’ve tried to adapt our approach to accommodate the variety of users who buy songs inside of Rock Band. Pro Guitar/Bass upgrades are very time consuming to author, and each chart represents many more hours of gameplay per track than our traditional DLC. We didn’t think it made any sense to author Pro Guitar/Bass into every track, and it didn’t seem right to pass the cost of Pro authoring on to fans who weren’t interested in learning an instrument. We feel confident that $0.99 to learn how to actually play a new song on guitar is a pretty good value relative to other options out there.

 

Next up: What about Rock Band 4?

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