Wannabe rock stars everywhere are about to live the dream -- albeit vicariously. And investors get to profit from the music mania.
Video game designer Activision
Aerosmith has a history of livin' on the edge and using unusual moves to enhance its brand. The 1986 rap-rock comeback hit "Walk This Way" springs to mind -- that track arguably helped hip-hop skip over into mainstream culture. In 2001, the band put "Jaded" up for download from its website before releasing the single. That was way before Apple
The group has sold more than 150 million albums, dwarfing even the impressive download figures that Guitar Hero and Rock Band -- developed by Viacom
This is how it's done. Draw the kids into a uniquely interactive music experience, and they will happily pay much more for the game, accessories, and related downloads than they ever would for DRM-laden downloads or inconvenient physical CDs.
If this game sells -- and there's really no reason why it wouldn't -- other bands will line up to catch some of that bottled lightning while it's fresh. It's already happening, actually. Metallica is doing amazing business with its Rock Band downloads, and Nirvana's Nevermind is set to explode on the other side, as the band signed the entire album over to Rock Band.
I'm not cryin' over Aerosmith. It's just that I see a new music industry rising up to eat the rich, old guard.