Fast Company

The Beatles Join MTV’s Digital Empire

MTV is on a roll. Just days after announcing a fresh new music video web site comes news that MTV Networks will license songs from the Beatles for an upcoming video game from Harmonix, the makers of Rock Band.

MTV is on a roll. Just days after announcing a fresh new music video web site comes news that MTV Networks will license songs from the Beatles for an upcoming video game from Harmonix, the makers of Rock Band.

In our November issue, we talked about the importance of MTV’s new digital strategy, where a property like Rock Band has the potential to be a billion-dollar business. Van Toffler, the president of MTV Networks, has a stated goal to be a major player in the digital music realm, so this move makes sense.

The Beatles are the Holy Grail when it comes to licensed music. The band has the best-selling catalog of all time, they are an incredibly familiar brand, and playable digital iterations of their songs are sure to sell well. Who wouldn’t want to play plastic guitars and drums along with their favorite Beatles tracks?

Other big companies have unsuccessfully tried to convert the Beatles catalog to a digital format, but have been thwarted by Apple Corps., which strictly controls the property. Beatles songs aren’t even available on iTunes. So how did MTV do it? “Apple Corps. representatives said that it was the fact that they (Harmonix) originated the music band genre,” according to Kotaku.

For those Beatles purists who are worried the project could disgrace the act’s legacy, Giles Martin (son of George Martin, the famed fifth Beatle) will be the music producer on the project. Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and Yoko Ono Lennon apparently also put their creative input into the project.

Other noteworthy details, such as price, platform(s) it will be on, and specific release date of the game, haven’t been announced yet. But because the deal is exclusive, don’t look for Beatles songs to go Guitar Hero-ing any time soon.

Joystiq says the game should be out around the holidays in 2009. More notes from the conference call can be found here.

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