There’s no denying that games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero have become hugely popular and successful over the past few years, due in large part to their wide variety of featured songs and ever increasing music libraries. Since shortly after its release, Rock Band has been adding songs weekly, and the various Guitar Hero games have been expanding their songlists via download and spinoff games as well. Some of these featured songs are the master tracks, taken from the original bands’ original recordings, while others are uncanny soundalike studio bands doing usually faithful covers.
Recently there’s been a trend toward both game series wanting to drop the covers and go for master tracks only in their song collections. This has caused some trouble lately, as The Who’s much hyped full-album released of Who’s Next was canceled for Rock Band and replaced with a greatest hits compilation due to the original master tapes for some of the songs being lost. And most recently, Led Zeppelin has refused to lend their master tapes out to developers for security’s sake, so their songs likely won’t be included in the upcoming masters-only Guitar Hero World Tour and Rock Band 2. Zeppelin is happy to license out their songs for cover editions in the games, though.
So this begs the question: How much do the master recordings really matter in music video games? Is it so essential to have the original master track that the developers should decline including otherwise awesome songs just because they now shun covers?
I, for one, wouldn’t mind at all having a cover of “Pinball Wizard” on my Rock Band. After all, I’ll be the one making the music when I’m actually playing the game, and I have no illusions that I actually am an original member of The Who.
Source: Evil Avatar