Corbomite Games CEO Oded Sharon has told Eurogamer that the majority of bands will struggle to fulfil requirements for getting a song published on the Rock Band Network.
"The difficulty and level of experience required from authors to successfully create a fun and approved Rock Band song arrangement isn't easy. You've got to deal with authoring multiple instruments with multiple difficulties; deal with vocals, lighting, cameras, animations, sound mixing; and you have to do it well enough for it to pass the playtest and review process," said Sharon, who has set up a company to take care of these difficulties for musicians.
"Let's not forget that getting a song to Rock Band sometimes also involves other behind-the-scenes issues like legal and copyright ownership," he added. "A lot of bands are signed with labels or don't own all the rights for their songs. Or there are ego wars - I've had a band of five people that couldn't sign because their keyboard player refused as there's no playable part for a keyboard player [in Rock Band]."
"You need to have access to the recording tracks, and some artists simply don't, and cannot afford re-recording and remastering their songs. So it's much harder getting a song on Rock Band than it is getting on MySpace, or iTunes."
Israeli developer Corbomite claims the "difficult process" takes "dozens" of hours, and that costs go up or down depending on the complexity of a track. Radiohead's "Creep" is simple and therefore cheap, whereas Metallica's catalogue of songs, with "shredding and insane drumming", naturally costs more. The company will charge bands to take care of all this, although Sharon wouldn't tell Eurogamer how much.
Despite the hurdles, Corbomite is in full-throttle support of the Rock Band Network, and has created online portal Lehakat Rock (literally "Rock Band" in Hebrew) for bands and labels hoping to get their songs in-game. It's a pseudo-label in itself, only exclusively for Rock Band Network. It's also a reminder of how much impact music games have had.
Sharon recognises a "great opportunity". Millions of people own the game, he noted, and "are thirsty for more and more new content". To him that means the "sheer chance" of someone listening to a 30-second preview of a song and then buying it "is much higher than on MySpace or iTunes".
"I am 100 per cent positive that there's going to be some success stories where Rock Band helped facilitate an undiscovered artist's breakthrough. Bands that realise and understand that and are willing to [pay the] price have a better chance to be one of those."
"And we as a company, and the production service we offer, not only to Israeli bands and for any band worldwide, will help making it happen," he added. "We do it good and we do it fast."
The Rock Band Network entered open beta on Xbox 360 this week. Harmonix has said the ambitious service will experience technical difficulties - "Service Unavailable" right now, for instance - but asked for patience while it gets going.