Monday, September 29, 2008

Three Bands

I play a little "what if" game with young people all the time. It helps me get to know them. It goes like this. God will intervene in the world in such a way as to eliminate three bands/artists. That is not saying God will kill them or something but will nudge them along in a different direction so that they never make it. What are your three bands/artists.

Usually mine are:

1. Rush
2. Aerosmith
3. Celine Dion.

Imagine how upset I was at this little piece about how Guitar Hero is resurrecting the careers of Aerosmith and Rush! How could folks possibly think this was a good idea? Boston, yes. The Who, yes. Rush? Aerosmith?

I am fascinated however by this resurgence of "classic" rock (classic in quotes as I don't consider Aerosmith, out side of their collaboration with Run DMC, classic) tied to a video game. The money - "Last year, Guitar Hero and its rival, Rock Band, racked up $935 million in sales. That's $100 million more than all digital music sales." What is it to consume music through video in a participatory fashion? I grew up in the MTV age so video and music were closely aligned but without the participatory. Should it shock us that these games are so popular when we consider that when MTV made a nod to direct participation with TRL its ratings went up?

Should it also surprise us to learn that Activision, the producer of Guitar Hero, is a Vivendi company and therefore a sister company of Universal Music Group (proud producers of The Who)? Aerosmith (Sony) goes out of its way in promoting its connections to Guitar Hero with this handy link on their official website. I'm surprised that it wasn't NBC that put the story up.

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