Skip to main content

Rock Band goes on farewell tour before it stops releasing new songs in April 2013

Rock Band

It looked like the very nature of the music industry was gearing up for a paradigm shift back in 2008. While digital music sales through services like iTunes and Amazon had never managed to catch up to the halcyon days of 1999 and 2000 when CD sales were skyrocketing, a new form of music distribution was taking shape thanks to Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts. Guitar Hero and Rock Band were going to be a new source of catalog revenue for bands and music labels alike, with people buying new tracks each and every week to play with friends at home. When Guitar Hero 3 became the first individual game to earn $1 billion back in 2007, the future seemed set in stone. It didn’t really workout that way. By 2011 the music instrument video game market had crumbled, and now a possible final nail will be hammered into the proverbial coffin: Come spring 2013, there will be no more regular Rock Band downloadable content.

“As you may have seen in our recent announcement regarding the release of Rock Band Blitz tracks as singles, Rock Band DLC production has gradually slowed over the past five years,” reads a statement on the official Rock Band website, “We’ve managed to maintain a consistent release schedule for a staggering 275 consecutive weeks, releasing over 4,000 songs for the Rock Band Platform, but in recent months we’ve scaled production down as we’ve transitioned resources onto other projects. With several new titles in development and developers needed to usher these new games along, April 2nd will be the last weekly DLC release for Rock Band.”

Related Videos

When it released in 2007, Guitar Hero creator Harmonix’s Rock Band was a more forward-looking product than the franchise Activision had wrested from its control. Rather than forcing players to purchase discs of limited new songs, Rock Band would have a persistent iTunes-style storefront of new digital songs that carried across new iterations of the series. Rock BandRock Band 2, and the store of downloadable tracks generated $1 billion by March 2009, just eighteen months after the release of the original game.

While revenue for the series continued to grow into 2010, Electronic Arts, Viacom’s MTV Interactive division, and Harmonix’s ambitions outpaced their market. The cost of developing products like The Beatles: Rock Band—a single song cost “thousands” to produce—crippled the franchise whose value was diminishing as Activision and Electronic Arts flooded the music game market.

Harmonix will continue to release new Rock Band DLC over the next six weeks.

Editors' Recommendations

Rock Band 4’s bugs to get ironed out in November title update
rock band 4 first major patch detailed rb4fixes thumb

Developer Harmonix will address fan requests and fix lingering bugs with its next major Rock Band 4 update, which is set to launch for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in November.

The patch seeks to eliminate a number of issues reported by early adopters of the recently released series revival, and will fix compatibility quirks with legacy instrument peripherals.

Read more
Rock Band 3 soundtrack coming to Rock Band 4 in December
rock band 3 export coming to 4 in december version 1445880418 rockband

Developer Harmonix confirmed that Rock Band 3's soundtrack will be coming to Rock Band 4 as part of a title update launching in December.

Returning Rock Band 3 players will need to pay a fee for the track-exporting process, which will add more than 80 songs to Rock Band 4's playable tracklist.

Read more
Rock Band 4 nabs Van Halen, PS4-exclusive pre-order tracks
rock band 4 van halen ps4 preorder tracks rb4 vanhalen thumb

Harmonix announced that legendary rock group Van Halen will headline its upcoming band simulation game Rock Band 4 with a playable version of its hit song Panama.

Van Halen's music is frequently requested among Rock Band fans, but an exclusivity agreement with Activision once prevented the group from appearing outside of the rival Guitar Hero franchise.

Read more