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The Beatles finally go digital with back catalogue-based video game


Beatles music to be in new video game

NEW YORK (AP) — The Beatles are coming to a game console near you.

For
the first time, the legendary group’s music will be featured in the
lucrative video game market in a deal with MTV Games and Harmonix,
creators of the "Rock Band" series. The game is scheduled to make its
debut in time for next year’s holiday season.

"The project is a
fun idea which broadens the appeal of The Beatles and their music. I
like people having the opportunity to get to know the music from the
inside out," Paul McCartney said in a statement.

The game will not be titled "Rock Band," but will work with the existing instruments — a guitar, drums and microphone.

Game developers also plan to introduce a keyboard, which would be a first in the music game market.

"That
is the plan," said Marty Bandier, chief executive of
Sony/ATV, a joint
venture between Sony Corp. & Michael Jackson, which
owns the copyright on Beatles songs by John Lennon and McCartney.

"I
would say that there will be interactive performances of The Beatles’
music as well as new dimensions that you haven’t seen from us before,"
Harmonix Chief Executive Alex Rigopulos told reporters Thursday.

The
video game has become a key and profitable market for established
musical acts such as Metallica and Aerosmith to expose their music to a
new generation of fans; some bands have even debuted their music via
video games.

"The Beatles continue to evolve with the passing of
time and how wonderful that The Beatles’ legacy will find its natural
progression into the 21st century through the computerized world we
live in," said Beatles drummer Ringo Starr in a release. "Let the games
commence."

Grammy winner Giles Martin, son of The Beatles’
producer, George Martin, will serve as music producer, with input from
McCartney, Starr, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison.

The game will
feature sampling of music and imagery from throughout the band’s
career, from "Please Please Me" (1963) through "Let It Be" (1970).

Talks
on the game between Viacom Inc.’s MTV and Harmonix units, master
recordings owner EMI Group PLC and The Beatles’ company, Apple Corps
Ltd., have been in the works for almost a year and a half, said Paul
DeGooyer, MTV’s senior vice president of electronic games and music.

But the news doesn’t mean that long-awaited digital downloads of the band’s music would be available anytime soon.

"We’re still working out the details," said Jeff Jones, Apple Corps’ chief executive. "We have no announcement to make."

The Beatles finally go digital with back catalogue-based video game

The Beatles made their first foray into digital music today, announcing a
video game in which fans will be able to play along to the Fab Four’s entire
back catalogue.


Surviving band members have previously resisted new technology and, to the
bewilderment of many fans, have not allowed the sale of their songs on
digital music sites such as iTunes. But Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr,
along with Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison, all gave their blessing to
the new game and will be involved in its development and design.

The game, which is scheduled for release next year, will be made by the
creators of Rock Band, the best-selling video game that lets players
live out their dreams of rock stardom, playing guitar or drums to tracks by
the likes of David Bowie, The Who and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Rock Band
was released two years ago and has been a suprise success, selling about 3.5
million copies since.

The new game is expected to be similarly interactive, sending players “on a
journey from the Beatles’ first album, Please Please Me, to their
last, Abbey Road”.


The deal between MTV Games, owners of the Rock Band franchise, and
Apple Corps, the company established by the Beatles to oversee the band’s
business interests, was announced today after more than a year of
negotiation.


The two surviving members of the band have been cautious about licensing their
back catalogue. They have dabbled with offering album streams on their
website and running trailers on YouTube, but today’s move was their first
real step into the world of digital music.


"The project is a fun idea which broadens the appeal of the Beatles and
their music.” said Paul McCartney, who signed up to the game after being
given demonstrations of Rock Band. “I like people having the
opportunity to get to know the music from the inside out."


Ringo Starr said: “The Beatles continue to evolve with the passing of time and
how wonderful that the Beatles’ legacy will find its natural progression
into the 21st century through the computerised world we live in. Let the
games commence.”

Times Online

It is the first time that Apple Corps, along with EMI Music, Harrisongs
Ltd and
Sony/ATV Music Publishing have agreed to present the band’s
music in such a format.

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