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Sound Opinions talks Music & Videogames

Sound Opinions talks Music & Videogames

One of my favorite public radio shows, Sound Opinions, is also the recipient of the only angry letter I’ve written in recent memory. Almost a year ago, the hosts of Sound Opinions reacted to the announcement of The Beatles Rock Band by opining the death of people learning to play “real instruments” because they are all just playing Guitar Hero instead. I think they may have even used the “why play a plastic guitar when you could be playing a real guitar” argument, which is something that would frequently result in me just unsubscribing from the source that brought that up. Instead I wrote an email that tried to convince them that they were way off base.

Now here they are interviewing a Harmonix rep about the game. They seem to have quieted down a little with the anti-video game stance, having heard from retailers and music teachers that interest in instrument sales and lessons seems to have increased in the past few years since the rise of the Guitar Hero and Rock Band franchises— not totally convinced, but at least not willing to just shout ignorant things about how bad video games are.

They address how the Beatles’ approval process worked given that the representatives of the original members aren’t necessarily all best friends and they do bring up the controversy about the bizarre and sad use of Kurt Cobain and Johnny Cash’s avatars in Guitar Hero 5 (although the Harmonix rep elegantly explains that a) Harmonix would never have done that but b) he’s not interested in “engaging in a pissing match on the radio” with their competition).

They even discuss the Rock Band Network a bit, although I would have liked to hear more about that as well as what that means for the future of the franchise— for example, should we be expecting a Rock Band 3 retail release this generation and will it be full-price? Is there any point in packaging 50 songs of which I only actually want to hear/play 30 when I could be downloading those 30 songs via the downloadable content platform besides from a business perspective, and is Harmonix/MTV prepared to pass up that business perspective in exchange from increased brand loyalty from an audience who sees in Guitar Hero 5 the disgusting culmination of where Activision has been driving that brand since they got their hands on it?

Sound Opinions is a great radio show/podcast and I recommend subscribing. I don’t always agree with the hosts’ opinions but I still like to hear what they have to say. I think this is a good episode to start with if you’ve never heard it before.