Warner, MTV Games In Music Licensing Stalemate

Andy Chalk

One Flag, One Fleet, One Cat
Nov 12, 2002
Warner, MTV Games In Music Licensing Stalemate

Rock Band [http://www.mtv.com/] updates.

Guitar Hero [http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/content_display/industry/e3if1b7ae560fd416a7095771f8526bf429] "are entirely dependent on the content we own and control."

It looks like Bronfman is willing to back up those words with action: MTV Games has requested several new licenses since that proclamation but Warner has responded only with counteroffers that MTV would not agree to. MTV Games is also playing hardball for the moment; as a result of Warner's intransigence, MTV has stopped requesting new licenses altogether until the two parties can come to terms.

The good news is that pre-existing deals have allowed MTV Games to continue to offer Warner artists in the weekly Rock Band DLC and the flow will continue for awhile yet. But at some point that backlog will run out and MTV will find itself without Warner content, and even if a new deal is struck soon it could take up to five months to get the newly-licensed music into the Rock Band DLC stream.

"By all accounts, WMG is ready to wait it out," the report said. "It recently pulled its content from YouTube over a similar licensing disagreement, and previously removed music from Nokia's mobile music store [http://www.last.fm/]."

The spat between MTV Games and Warner over licensing terms is a bit of a surprise development because until now the most vociferous criticism of Bronfman's demands has come from Bobby Kotick, CEO of Guitar Hero publisher responded [http://www.activision.com] by saying his comments were not "respectful to how much we've done to bring new audiences to the market."

The other majors in the music industry have thus far remained silent on the matter and if that situation holds Warner could find itself isolated and forced to back down. Individual artists may also take exception to losing Rock Band exposure regardless of the terms; as Kotick pointed out, videogames have proven to be a great asset in exposing bands to new listeners, an intangible but extremely valuable aspect of the current licensing deals. If all else fails, Rock Band could simply begin offering cover versions of popular Warner tracks; a cover version of Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" is currently one of the top-ten selling Rock Band tracks.

via: Ars Technica [http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2009/03/the-rhythm-game-market-cant.ars]


Mushroom 118i

New member
Jan 21, 2009
Except, Paranoid is a Rock Band 1 on disc song, and one of the few that didn't export to Rock Band 2, not a DLC track.


New member
Feb 24, 2009
I'm tired of this crap bottle-necking our stream of entertainment. We should organize a boycott.

If they want to let their squabbles stop us from giving them our money, maybe we shouldn't give them ANYTHING. Apparently, they don't want it. Fine by me.


New member
Jan 7, 2008
Once again, WMG gives me reason to hate them. After they went around yanking things off youtube that they had no right whatsoever to, and refusing to offer alternatives, this is the icing on the cake. Case is point, the popular "Star Wars: an a capella tribute to John Williams" was yanked for having 30 seconds of the Superman theme in it sung a capella with lyrics added, and I encountered several music videos that belonged to other labels (BMG, Universal) that WMG had no rights to and had yanked on general purpose asshat principles.

Add to this the fact that Rush are currently signed to WMG and as such don't have their official channel anymore because of this, and I've been willing to head to their corporate headquarters with torches and pitchforks for some time now.

Oh, and those hoping for Led Zeppelin tracks in music games now have the record label AND the band against them: Atlantic is a subsidiary of WMG.