To a senescent music industry, this “downloadable content” has worked like Ponce de LeÃ³n’s Fountain of Youth: a band whose song appears on either Rock Band or Guitar Hero is almost guaranteed an instant and enormous commercial boost. Back catalogs are illuminated, obscurities arbitrarily enthroned. Weezer’s “My Name Is Jonas,” first released in 1994, reportedly increased its sales tenfold after being featured in Guitar Hero III. Rock Band currently has a library of about 500 songs; since its launch, there have been more than 28 million downloads.
I do wish that the article had dug deeper into the sales figures to determine if CD sales of Foghat Live or Mountain’s Climbing! had increased due to the new exposure for Slow Ride and Mississippi Queen.
(Shhh, I’m developing a new game titled “Page Turner! The University of Illinois Press Edition”).