The Rock Band music selection is about to expand substantially. Rock Band Network will allow musicians and record labels to upload their own songs onto the Rock Band games.
Rock Band came from the masterminds that brought you Guitar Hero. Founded in 1995, Harmonix Music Systems is a game development company that specializes in music rhythm titles. Their early works include Frequency, Amplitude and the Karaoke Revolution series.
Harmonix Music Systems got their big break with the release of Guitar Hero on the Playstation 2 in 2005. The game came with a plastic guitar peripheral that makes it more a more streamlined and immersive experience. Guitar Hero became a cult hit while the sequels that came afterwards made the brand into one of the most popular franchises in the gaming industry.
Harmonix Music Systems was acquired by MTV Games in 20006, thus ending the work of Guitar Hero for the game development company. In its place, Harmonix Music Systems decided to take the music genre into the next level with Rock Band. Instead of playing solo, you and your playmates can now be a part of a virtual band.
Just like Guitar Hero, Rock Band and the eventual Rock Band 2 did extremely well on the market. The games are more well-known, however, for their unprecedented releases of downloadable songs. Hundreds of songs can be added to the track lists of the games via download via the Nintendo Wii, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.
Now Harmonix Music Systems is introducing a new program that will further beef up the growing list of available songs for download. Before, musicians and record labels had to work directly with the developer of Rock Band. With Rock Band Network, however, the process is a lot more streamlined.
Starting in late August, musicians and record labels can build there own playable music tracks featuring their songs. They then need to send their files into a special website to be tested. If it gets approved, the song will appear on the Rock Band Network Store.
There is a small catch, however. In order to create your own tracks for Rock Band, you will need a paid membership to XNA Creators Club Online. Because the program is built specifically for the Xbox 360, all of the user-created songs will only appear on that particular system. Meanwhile, only a few select user-created songs will be released on the Nintendo Wii and Playstation 3 Rock Band versions.
Therefore, Xbox 360 users will get the better end of the stick with Rock Band Network starting this August.