The changing tides in music discovery and consumption continue to lead back to video games. Viacom, emboldened by the success of Rock Band, is pouring it on. Last week, they announced the AC/DC version of the game, AC/DC Live: Rock Band Track Pack. Going to that next step, this game lets players experiment with 18 masters from AC/DC's live vault. It will sell right next to the band's new CD, Black Ice, and Wal-Mart's going all-out with the album, the game, and clothing to round out the entire package. Five years ago, none of this was possible.
And there's certainly precedence. Aerosmith's Guitar Hero game, which was released in the summer, outpaced the release of any of the band's albums. Think about that, and why bands are forming a line to be sure they share in this techno-interactive pie.
So, if you're a Rock station trying to capitalize on one of the bigger new albums of 2008, isn't it a no-brainer at this point to embrace the game, rather than to do the same old promotion when an album is released? Like touch tones, the 9th caller, and 5-4-3-2-1 concert giveaways, listeners aren't excited by the same promotions that stations have been running for decades.
If we think differently about embracing a band, aren't there more interactive possibilities for stations, their personalities, and their listeners? How about playing the AC/DC game in the studio, perhaps even shown via webcam to an audience that would love to watch this stuff, not to mention giving away the game in lieu of the album?
We've been tracking the video game phenomenon for four years in our Tech Polls, and those results, coupled with sales of these games don't lie. But beyond that, Rock Band and Guitar Hero allow the audience to have a role, to be players, and to interact - with the game, the music, and perhaps your station personalities. While many of the tech outlets and new media sources have passed radio by, or simply aren't accessible, the explosion of interest in Rock music through these games dovetails perfectly with the enthusiasm that radio needs right now.
Radio needs to get in the game.