Rockin’ The Wasteland

“Rock Band” and “Guitar Hero” may be headed for the ol’ virtual dust heap, but one indie label is establishing a new presence among gamers via a mega-popular online multi-player game.

It wasn’t very long ago when hardly a day went by that you didn’t hear about bands authorizing songs to be included in either the “Rock Band” or “Guitar Hero” video game series.

Both games pretty much followed the same scenario. Gamers watching their monitors would see a series of color-coded buttons appear while a song played. By pressing the corresponding buttons on the faux guitar in “Guitar Hero” or the simulated instruments in “Rock Band” players would reproduce the song.

The recording industry loved these games because it represented yet another way to sell music with gamers purchasing more songs to play.

But gamers didn’t stick with the music games. Activision recently announced it is ending the “Guitar Hero” series. In November, Viacom announced it was selling “Rock Band” developer Harmonix to an investment firm.

However, there are more ways for labels to reach gamers than making them push color-coded buttons in sync with scrolling screens.

Heavy metal label Nuclear Blast Records, which counts Testament, Soilwork and Meshuggah among its bands, has inked a deal with multi-player online game, “Fallen Earth,” to provide music for the game’s post-apocalyptic scenario.

To introduce music into the game, “Fallen Earth” developers are planning to launch Nuclear Blast Radio which will be featured in a new underground bunker bar. Gamers can knock back a virtual cold one and listen to a few tunes after spending the day kicking butt in the wasteland.

“We listen to so much of Nuclear Blast’s music at the office,” Marie Croall, senior game designer for Fallen Earth, said. “This is an awesome opportunity to share our favorite music with our players.”

It’s also a new channel for labels to distribute music. As the folks at Nuclear Blast quickly discovered.

“The music and gaming worlds are natural allies,” Nuclear Blast USA’s label manager Gerardo Martinez said. “Luckily, we’re working with game developers who know quality music. Get ready to hear the sounds of ‘Fallen Earth’ on tour buses across the country.”

Photo: Scott Legato /
Murat Theater, Indianapolis, Ind.

For more information, click here for “Fallen Earth” and here for the Nuclear Blast Records website.