Music industry seeking bigger cut of rhythm game profits

High profile Warner exec warns the company may cease licensing songs to franchises such as Guitar Hero if it doesn't start seeing a bigger share of the profits.

A high-profile Warner Music executive has warned the games industry that the company is expecting a larger share of profits from the wildly popular 'rhythm' games such as Guitar Hero.

Speaking at a recent earnings call, Warner Music's chairman and chief executive Edgar Bronfman Jr said the company may refuse to license songs for the games in the future if his demands are not met.

According to the Chicago Tribune, game publishers pay record labels around $10,000 for the rights to re-record a song, and up to US$25,000 for the rights to use original recordings.

The games also represent good publicity for the artists featured.

Tim Riley, vice president of music affairs at Activision Blizzard, has said that in the two months after its release on Guitar Hero 3, iTunes sales of the three-decades-old aerosmith song 'same old song and dance' spiked by over 440 percent.

But music industry executives have been privately seeking a larger cut, such as royalties of up to eight cents for every copy sold.

Analysts estimate that sales of rhythm games will reach US$1.5 billion this year.

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Dylan Bushell-Embling

Computerworld
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