Last month metal legends Motley Crue placed its new single, the title track from its upcoming Saints of Los Angeles album, for sale as a downloadable track on Rock Band in advance of the album's release date, which has been pushed back to June 24.
Guess what? It was a huge success!
According to data provided by the band's management, Tenth Street Entertainment, the track was downloaded more than 47,000 times via the Xbox 360 version of the game alone in the first week after it became available.
Yet the song only racked up just over 10,000 downloads via digital services like iTunes and Amazon, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Hey, 47,000 versus 10,000??? That’s a pretty huge difference! ‘Cause remember, music bought on Rock Band can't even be transferred to a portable music player or even a computer -- it can be played only via the game.
"We do research on every artist we have, and the research said that the people who bought Motley Crue music and tickets play Rock Band and video games ... (so) it was our inclination to go there," says Tenth Street CEO Allen Kovac. "As marketers, it's our job to find the audience. If our audience tells us they're sitting at Xbox and PlayStation, that's our job to do that."
In six months, the number of songs downloaded to Rock Band has surpassed 10 million tracks, according to MTV Networks, while song downloads from Guitar Hero passed 15 million, according to Activision. With more than 100 songs available for download via the Rock Band platform, that's an average of 100,000 downloads per song sold through the game! And by all accounts, catalog tracks sell best.
Meanwhile, when Def Leppard releases their new single "Nine Lives" as part of a three-song bundle on Guitar Hero III last April they only sold about 7,000 downloads. And the album it was meant to promote, Songs From the Sparkle Lounge, sold only 55,000 physical and digital units combined in its first week. So game sales don't necessarily need to convert to album or digital download sales on a one-to-one basis…but they sure don’t hurt..
Reuters.com: Rock acts ringing up sales via video games