'Guitar Hero,' Music Business Out Of Tune Guitar Hero has been hailed as a new outlet for artists to get attention — but it's not all sunshine and roses for the music industry. Host Robert Smith examines the love-hate relationship.
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'Guitar Hero,' Music Business Out Of Tune

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'Guitar Hero,' Music Business Out Of Tune

'Guitar Hero,' Music Business Out Of Tune

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(Soundbite of Guitar Hero: Metallica)

ROBERT SMITH, host:

For those who rock out to Metallica, no need to limit yourself to air guitar any longer. This month, fans will be able to play along with a fake plastic guitar instead. Get ready for Guitar Hero: Metallica.

(Soundbite of Guitar Hero: Metallica)

SMITH: Metallica isn't the first band to bow down this way to the videogame gods. That was Aerosmith.

(Soundbite of song, "Walk This Way")

SMITH: In its first week on the shelves, Guitar Hero: Aerosmith sold 560,000 copies. That's more than three times the first-week sales of its last album.

Mr. KASSON CROOKER (Harmonics): It's definitely a new avenue for bands to help get their music out there.

SMITH: That's Kasson Crooker. He works at Harmonics, the gaming company that originally developed Guitar Hero. But not everyone in the music business is singing in tune. Last fall, the CEO of Warner Music said it's the songs that made the hits out of the games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band, and he wants the record labels to be paid more. Here's how music industry analyst Bob Lefsetz explains it.

Mr. BOB LEFSETZ (Music Industry Analyst): The record labels are in dire straits. Their income is down because people are stealing music. Therefore, they want a higher percentage of any other ancillary revenue.

SMITH: But he says it's the videogame makers who are in control. The big reason? The games are a way to give bands exposure, and that can translate into concert ticket sales.

Mr. LEFSETZ: The key is visibility so that people will go to see you live. That is where most of the revenue is made in the music industry today.

SMITH: Besides, how are you going to meet that cutie in the concession line if you never leave your basement?

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