MTV Games and Harmonix are opening up the Rock Band music store to everyone later this year. The Rock Band Network allows any artist to upload and price their own tracks for users to download from the game's music store.
According to a report from Billboard, that service will launch sometime this year for the Xbox 360 versions of Rock Band, with plans to bring those "popular tracks" to the PlayStation 3 and Wii versions "eventually." Artists can submit their songs to a group of "Harmonix-trained freelance game developers" who will prep the tracks for use in game.
Artists can price their songs between 50 cents and $3, netting 30% of track sales. Rock Band owners will be able to preview Rock Band Network songs before they purchase.
MTV Games senior VP Paul DeGooyer says the Rock Band Network features a "set of serious professional tools to allow people on the front line of writing and recording songs to completely control their destiny with respect to interactive products and then giving them direct access to the download store."
Those tools are expected to enter a public beta program in August. A preview web site for creators has just been launched.
There's a good reason the Rock Band Network will be initially available only to Xbox 360 users. Harmonix and MTV Games are relying on Microsoft's Creators Club and the company's XNA development platform to handle the development of artist uploaded track to something that's playable in Rock Band.
The new artist network is Harmonix's answer to Activision's "GH Tunes," the music creation and marketplace tools that launched with Guitar Hero World Tour. Harmonix CEO Alex Rigopulos said that his company would take a "radically different approach" to user song uploads.
It's different, that's for sure. And it'll likely go a long way to helping Harmonix reach those 5,000 downloadable tracks in Rock Band this year... or eventually.
MTV To Launch New Track Upload Program For 'Rock Band' [Billboard]
Rock Band Network [Official Preview Site]