This is a game changer. MTV Games and Harmonix have, at long last, responded to Guitar Hero's in-game music creation tools. Rock Band's response is the Rock Band Network, first launching on Xbox 360 in open beta in early August, which will provide Harmonix's own music authoring tools to independent musicians and give them the opportunity to create, publish and sell their music through the Rock Band music store.
Rock Band Network will initially launch on Xbox 360 because the publishing system is being routed through Microsoft's already established XNA Game Studio, which is how independent game makers currently distribute their Community Games on Xbox Live.
Don't worry, though. Harmonix and MTV Games have said Rock Band Network is coming to PlayStation 3 and Wii, too -- but in a limited capacity. "Stand out tracks" will make their way to PlayStation Network and Wii in the fall. I've reached out to the parties involved for further clarification on how these tracks are picked.
It may come down to the community itself. Musicians will need to purchase an XNA Creators Club subscription -- $49.99 for four months, $99.99 for a year -- in order to create, publish and sell their content for Rock Band. The XNA community will then vote and test the content before it's published. Creators will have "multiple pricing tiers for individual tracks" and access to "a simple payment system that provides automated accounting and regular royalty payments" for compensation.
For a step-by-step breakdown of thow the process will work, click here.
I cannot describe how excited I am right now. You?