regardless...people should just start a real band

bolded statements are extra funny

Feature: Rock Band, The Next MTV?
By: Brian Crecente

To gamers Rock Band, Harmonix's music game featuring a drummer, two guitarists and a vocalist, might seem like Guitar Hero 3.0, but that's not true for the people behind it.

No, Rock Band isn't just a game, not to MTV, not to Universal Music and certainly not to Harmonix.

To them Rock Band is a new way to experience music, launch bands and become one with your favorite songs.

"In the past, people listened to music. Then, in 1981, the music industry and pop culture was changed forever with the birth of MTV: Music Television," said Jeff Yapp, EVP of MTV Program Enterprises. "People began watching music as well as listening to it as we introduced the concept of the "music video." Fast forward to 2007 and MTV is set to revolutionize the music industry once again with Harmonix's Rock Band - an all-new platform for music fans and gamers alike to interact with the music and artists they love like never before."

In an interview Monday Yapp said this idea was in part behind MTV's decision to buy Harmonix late last year.

"Harmonix was a perfect fit for MTV because we are constantly looking for ways to engage our passionate audience and music fans through deep and immersive experiences," he said. "Throughout their history, Harmonix has successfully provided the type of interactive music experiences our audience is looking for through the games they've created - Frequency, Amplitude, the Karaoke Revolution series, and of course - the hugely successful Guitar Hero series. "

"Rock Band signifies the evolution of not only our audience but also of MTV and its media model. Music is at the core of everything we do at MTV. It's the hub of our audiences' social relationships and an incredibly important method of self-expression for them," Yapp said. "In today's world of social networking, instant messaging, digital downloading, and blogging, Rock Band represents a significant leap forward towards connecting our audience through their love of music."

And this isn't just a big deal to gamers and MTV, it's also a new way for labels and publishers to promote their artists and songs, said Mark Pinkus, Senior Vice President, Strategic Marketing, Custom Products and Synch Licensing from Warner Music Group's Rhino Entertainment.

"Being a personal fan of Guitar Hero, I'm thrilled to be working with Harmonix, MTV and EA," said Pinkus. "Many of us grew up discovering music on MTV, now we look forward to discovering music on MTV's Rock Band."

Don Terbush, vice president of film and television for Universal Music Enterprises, said his company was among the first music labels to recognize the value of video games.

"We were one of the first major labels when the Playstation 2 came out to recognize the benefits of being involved with video games," he said. "It was great exposure for our artists. We saw that the medium has greater potential."

And the lables are showing their support both by providing master recordings for the game and perhaps one day using the upcoming game to launch new songs or albums.

Alex Rigopulos, co-founder and CEO of Harmonix, said that Rock Band is the game they've been "dreaming of making for years," the game that fans have been begging Harmonix to make since the day Guitar Hero was shipped.

Rigopulos describes the upcoming game as Guitar Hero expanded in ever direction by ten. (Shouldn't that be 11?)

"We've created a complete band experience where a guitarist, a bassist, a drummer, and a singer can perform together on custom guitar, drum and microphone peripherals," he said. "We've also added online gameplay, so that a group of people can collaboratively come together and form a virtual band online, and compete against other bands.

"Unlike Guitar Hero, which primarily used cover version of the songs in the game, we're partnering with all of the major record companies, who will be providing original multitrack master recordings for use of the game, so that the musical experience is as authentic as possible.

"We're also working with a number of absolutely huge rock artists who have been previously "untouchable" in the world of videogames. We'll have more to say about that in the months ahead.

"Finally, we've really ratcheted up the graphical impact of the experience on the next-gen consoles."

While Rigopulos said he couldn't talk details about what music would be included with the game he did say it would be essentially a game about rock and roll, but one that touches on all of that rich genre's other influences from classic rock and modern rock to punk and metal.

Rigopulos said he couldn't talk details about expansions for the game but said they have "very, very ambitious plans" in that area.

And in making Rock Band, Harmonix has had to be very careful about what sorts of music to include. In Guitar Hero and Guitar Hero 2, the songs just had to have strong guitar sections, but in Rock Band all four parts, vocal, two guitars and a drum, need to be represented and fun to play.

"It's a different process," he said. "In Guitar Hero it was all about the guitar. In the Rock Band game it's no longer about the guitarist, it's about getting everyone involved, it's about what music is going to be great, not just individuals but for everyone. It's about finding songs that have riffs the whole band can play."

David DeMartini, vice president and general manager of EA Partners, said that neither the price nor the way the game might be sold have yet be determined.

"We haven't made a decision about how the product will be bundled or if it will be bundled or if we will sell the instruments individually," he said.

Rigopulos added that everyone involved in the game is sensitive to how much a gamer might be willing to pay for a game.

"Price sensitivity is something we are thinking about very carefully," he said. "It is at the forefront of our minds when we are making decisions about how to package the game."

While Rigopulos couldn't talk game mechanic specifics he said that user created content is of "obvious interest" he also said that the drum kit for the game is going to be every bit as cool as the guitar controllers.

"Suffice it to say, I'm a drummer myself," he said. "I was personally hell bent to make sure this was a real piece of hardware and not just some toy. It's a pretty impressive piece of hardware."

Finally, Rigopulos said online lag shouldn't be a concern for gamers.

"We have a brilliant technical solution to the latency problem," he said. "We have created seamless high-end play over the net."

Leading up to the release of Rock Band, MTV will be pushing the game on not just their network but also Country Music Television and VH-1.

"The net result of all of this is that we're taking music games to an entirely new level," Rigopulos said. "We really believe that Rock Band is more than a game, that it will fundamentally change the way people experience the music they love, by making them active participants in the music-making."