Last month, radio consultant Jacobs Media’s Tech Survey IV: Rock-Based Video Games found that music-based video games are having a significant, positive impact on music discovery and sales. Nearly one-third of players surveyed said they’ve purchased songs featured in the popular video music games Guitar Hero (Activision) and Rock Band (Harmonix/MTV Games).
More new versions have been announced for release soon (Guitar Hero on Tour on 6/22, Guitar Hero: Aerosmith on 6/29, Rock Band for Wii on 6/29, and Guitar Hero 4 in Fall 2008, with Guitar Hero: Metallica and Rock Band 2 reported to be in the works), and Chris Martin of rock band Coldplay recently announced that his band has added a new song to Guitar Hero, for the first time.
Clearly, music-based video game players are becoming game changers when it comes to rock music – and are one reason why Internet radio pioneer RadioIO launched Guitar Heroes (www.radioio.com/channels/guitar-heroes) earlier this year. Guitar Heroes is the first streaming music channel that plays nothing but the guitar-driven rock music found in today’s hot music video games. Now any player, at any time, anywhere can log on and hear tracks especially selected for “guitar heroes” in “rock bands.”
The idea for Guitar Heroes was suggested by a RadioIO listener, who wanted to hear more songs that she and her son could use to improve their Guitar Hero-playing skills together. “Sure, we take requests for entire music channels, not just songs,” laughed RadioIO founder Mike Roe. “But because gamers and Internet radio listeners are two groups that are always ahead of the curve when it comes to Internet usage and music entertainment, it made perfect sense for RadioIO to put the two together by creating Guitar Heroes.”
The job of developing and managing Guitar Heroes fell to longtime RadioIO music director Robert Goodman. “I realized it would be cool to create a channel that plays all the tracks from both series of games, all unlockable content as well as all downloadable content,” he explained.
From his home base in Orange Park, Florida, Goodman crafts sets of songs that are played along to by many of the more than 220,000 music fans who tune in to Guitar Heroes every month. The channel features rock tracks including "Sabotage" (Beastie Boys), "Barracuda" (Heart), "Are You Gonna Go My Way" (Lenny Kravitz), "Cult of Personality" (Living Colour), "Even Flow" (Pearl Jam), "Kool Thing" (Sonic Youth), "Rock and Roll All Nite" (Kiss), "Rock of Ages" (Def Leppard), "Welcome to the Jungle" (Guns N' Roses) and "One" (Metallica). And Goodman does take and play song requests, as do all RadioIO music directors.