Come Together, Right Now!
On a conference call with reporters Wednesday, the Beatles’ Apple Corps Ltd, MTV Games, and Rock Band manufacturer Harmonix announced an exclusive Beatles video game to be released in the winter of next year. This comes as a welcome surprise for the many critics who feel that those licensing the Fab Four’s music have been painstakingly slow in adapting to digital culture. Though the band did brave new territory with Cirque du Soleil’s LOVE, for their own odd reasons, they have still yet to release their coveted catalog for purchase on iTunes.
On the shoulders of Harmonix and Guitar Hero makers Activision, video game manufacturers are now aggressively partnering with the music industry. According to The Economist, aging rockers Aerosmith have made more money in licensing income from Guitar Hero than from sales of any of their albums. But I have a hunch that these lucrative partnerships are indicative of something bigger.
In the past month, we’ve witnessed a presidential candidate advertising in Xbox 360 games and Brian Eno release an ambient musical instrument for the iPhone. We’ve watched Internet TV provider Hulu celebrate their first anniversary and Netflix and TiVo partner to stream on-demand rentals. Obviously, we are living in an era of rapid technological transition, but these innovations seem more enduring than past experiments. Virtual reality goggles anyone? While the Internet provides us with entertainment everywhere, it also raises our expectations of more traditional forms. Analog “one-purpose” mediums like TV, radio and even video games are learning that to survive you must not only partner with the competition but merge mediums. It seems on this long and winding road, there’s only one lane and it’s moving fast. — Johnny