In the two months since MTV Networks and Harmonix released the music-based videogame "Rock Band," players have purchased and downloaded more than 2.5 million additional songs made available after the game's initial distribution.
Activision, meanwhile, said it has sold more than 5 million new songs via download for "Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock" since it began adding downloadable content in early November.
By comparison, it took wireless operator Sprint four months to sell 1 million songs on its over-the-air full-song download service. While new digital music services competing with iTunes and free peer-to-peer services have struggled to convince music fans to pay $1 for a single, downloadable tracks for games like "Rock Band" and "Guitar Hero" are flying off the digital shelves.
"With such a low installation base, we didn't think that there'd be 2 million songs sold in eight weeks," MTVN Music Group/Logo/Films division president Van Toffler said. "We live in a rough time around music where our audience struggles to pay $20 for a CD but don't hesitate to pay $50 for a game. The notion to pay 99 cents or $1.99 to have a song and repeatedly play with it apparently isn't a big hurdle."
The original "Rock Band" and "Guitar Hero" games shipped with more than 50 licensed songs each, a mix of master recordings and covers. Since then, "Rock Band" has made new music available every week as either singles or in three-pack bundles that can be added as new playable levels for between 99 cents and $5.50. "Guitar Hero III" did the same, focusing on three-song bundles of new music and music featured in previous versions of the game.
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