The Rock Band Network is a set of tools that will allow will allow budding musicians to convert their songs into playable Rock Band tracks. These tracks will then be available for purchase allowing musicians to earn themselves a profit from their hard work.
Originally, this service was intended to go live this month. However, due to some unexpected delays, the release will be held back for a few months. Talking to Kotaku, an MTV spokesperson had this to say:
“We’re working hard to get the Rock Band Network open public beta release of tools up before the end of the year, with our RBN storefront launching in early 2010. Exact dates still TBD. The tools necessary for bands to start authoring and prepare their content for review are already live on Creators.rockband.com/tools/download. The open beta launch will add access to the currently private website where all of the RBN community activity and peer reviewing of tracks will take place. People who join the Rock Band Network (bands, fans or otherwise) will be able to play and preview any song before it hits the store, so they should stay tuned for the official launch.”
This new service could potentially open some doors for unsigned musicians and expose some untapped talent hidden in our midst. Although it isn’t entirely original, with Guitar Hero World Tour offering a service for fans to create their own songs, the Rock Band Network seems to be far more sophisticated and is none the less an ingenious idea.
According to Harmonix anyone with some experience working with multi-track recording software should be able to create a track within in 2 days. The service will require a subscription fee of $100 per year and tracks will need to be approved by 8 members of the community before they hit the store. Tracks will be priced between at $1, $2 or $3 depending on the seller/creator’s pricing decisions. Creators will receive 30% commission for sales, with the rest being split between Microsoft, MTV and Harmonix.
For the tech savvy readers we have here, it has been reported that any requisite audio and Midi track creation software is supported, but Reaper is the most compatible. wired.com offer a more in-depth article concerning the technical details of the program, based on a private demonstration of the program held in New York in August.
In related news, Dan Teasdale, lead designer, revealed details this morning concerning the various new features that will be added in today’s update on the Rock Band forum:
- Rock Band Network Audition Mode. Available from the “Extras” menu on Xbox 360 versions of Rock Band 2, members of the Rock Band Network can now upload songs from their PC’s and audition their songs using our suite of song audition and testing tools. Currently in closed beta, the Rock Band Network will welcome authors to open beta in the coming weeks! Find out more at http://creators.rockband.com
- “Sort by Stars” in Quickplay. If you hit the “Sort” button on the Song Select screen, you’ll come to a brand new sort that orders songs by the star ratings that you’ve achieved on each song. Each star rating gets a category, as well as an “Unplayed” category for songs that don’t have a star rating recorded. Finally, you can record your progress towards gold starring every song in your library!
- Background Downloading in the Music Store. Purchasing songs from the Rock Band Music Store now no longer requires you to wait for a song to download before you can download another song. You can now queue up downloads to your heart’s content, which is going to be incredibly handy with some of the amazing DLC that’s coming out over the next few weeks and months.
- Xbox 360 Wireless Microphone Support. Rock Band 2 now supports Xbox 360 Wireless Microphones, like the Lips microphone. Finally, you can now have a fully wireless Rock Band experience!
- Chord HOPO improvements: If you’ve played The Beatles: Rock Band, you’ll notice much more robust handling of chord hammer-ons and pull-offs. This patch implements those changes in Rock Band 2 to provide a more natural chord hammer-on/pull-off experience.
- Velocity Sensitivity on Ion Drum Kits: Ion Drum kits now support velocity sensitivity in both drum fills and Drum Freestyle mode.
Any musicians, or music fans in the community should feel free to post their thoughts on this exciting new program.