Warner Music are just spoiling for a fight! Having had a public falling-out with Guitar Hero publishers Activision last year, this year its Rock Band publishers MTV Games' turn.
At the root of the issue is the complaint Warner Music Group CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. has that music game publishers aren't paying enough for the use of Warner's music. Activision boss Bobby Kotick went after Bronfman rather publicly, but until now, we'd thought MTV had conducted themselves with a little more diplomacy, and been spared Warner's wrath.
Turns out we were wrong. Warner and MTV Games are (according to Billboard) locked in a song rights stalemate, and have been since Bronfman's comments last August. Since then, not a single new song has been licensed for Rock Band from a Warner artist, because MTV want to pay Warner what they've always paid, while Warner want more money.
While this is OK for now, with songs licensed under the previous arrangement still making their way to the game's downloadable content roster, MTV will soon run out of Warner (one of the largest record labels in the world) music if a deal isn't reached soon.
At the moment, it looks like neither side will be caving in anytime soon. Billboard reminds us that Warner have thrown similar, recent tantrums over payments from services like YouTube, while on MTV's side, they can still do brisk business by using cover versions of Warner's songs
(Sabbath's Paranoid, for example, is in the top ten sellers for the Rock Band Store, despite being a cover). Update: Billboard's article mentioned Paranoid as being a top-selling download, but it's a bit hard being a top-selling download when you can't be downloaded.
Not very rock n' roll, is it?