Can video games save the music industry? Probably not. But video games are emerging as a powerful distribution channel for digital music downloads. Players of Grand Theft Auto IV can buy the songs they hear in the game from Amazon by making their characters dial a number on their cell phones.
Now the rock band Mötley Crüe (yes, they are still alive) is getting in on the action as well. They released a single from their latest album, Saints of Los Angeles, both in the video game Rock Band and as download on iTunes, Amazon and elsewhere. In the first week that the digital single was available for sale (the physical album won’t be released until June 24), it was downloaded 47,000 times on the Xbox alone compared to 10,000 times on iTunes and other digital download stores on the Web.
Maybe people who play Rock Band are just naturally drawn to the Crüe. Or maybe video games are just a better way to sell music. You get to hear the whole song as part of a more immersive experience. And if you just scored high in the game, you are probably more receptive to shelling out some cash for the song that helped you get there. All those feel-good endorphins have to be channeled somewhere.