The music industry is changing, and fast. The old model based around full album consumption simply doesn't work anymore. Single track downloads grew by 53 percent in 2007 to $2.9 billion and digital sales account for 30 percent of sales in the US and 15 percent worldwide, all while CD sales continue to dive like broken Xbox 360s, falling between 10 to 20 percent in 2007. Heck, 2008 had one of the least-watched Grammy ceremonies in television history.
And yet in less than three months, Harmonix's video game Rock Band notched 2.5 million song downloads at around two bucks per -- twice as much as a regular iTunes song retails. Everyone who buys Rock Band downloads at least two songs, on average. With a little over one million copies of the game sold, that's some sexy math.
The relationship between games and music is only getting peachier: coming this June, Activision is planning to release a Guitar Hero game dedicated to Aerosmith and "celebrated artists that the band has either performed with or has been inspired by in some way." Clearly, bands are taking notice of gaming's reach and influence. Here's a look at the past, present and future of the mutually beneficial relationship between music and games.