meandering creativity, symbols and emotion

Thursday, December 17, 2009

More Beatles Rockband Numbers and Letters

After looking a bit more into the number behind The Beatles: Rock Band I was a bit curious how their music had been doing lately also.

They've had a handful of remasters and box set releases over the past 10 years and a few of them have sold over a million copies. The two which have sold more than that were 2006's remix soundtrack "LOVE" which sold about 6 million and 2000's hits compilation "1" which sold 31 million (!!).

Numbers like that almost make we want to reconsider my position on how well The Beatles Rockband might do.

As a person who is not a fan (some would say that's un-American - but of course neither were the Beatles) I would concede they're a safe bet. In fact if you go by record sales alone the Beatles should be the safest bet of all.

Except we're not talking about records. We're talking about video games.

And that's where all the numbers kind of break down. Selling a $15 CD is not the same as selling a $60-200 video game. For that price it might make more sense to compare the game with one of the more recently released Beatles box sets (here and here). Combined neither of those have sold more than 2 million units.

When "1" was released in 2000 it shot to number one and sold 12 million copies in 3 weeks. It was noted as being unusual because it was for a band that had effectively broken up 30 years prior. In 2009 the band has been broken up for longer than most gamers have been alive. So the Beatles fan/video gamer overlap is actually getting smaller - not broader.

I want the video game market to be larger than it is but I have to remind myself that for the most part it's actually fairly narrow: males between the ages of 12-34. We may see a few parents buy their kids the game for Christmas this year and vice versa. I have a feeling that won't be enough.

What could have been done differently?

If my assumptions are correct and The Beatles: Rock Band doesn't explode during the holidays then it's probably going to level off at a similar rate to the other band iterations of Rockband/Guitar Hero. Maybe less considering the saturation of the market, etc.

So what could have been done differently? The answer is simple but not-easy.


Aerosmith, Metallica and AC/DC are not as old as the Beatles and they're not nearly as good. So it stands to reason they wouldn't sell MORE. But what they do have working for them is that the last time I checked all of those bands still tour.

If Ringo and Paul toured as The Beatles the game would sell more. It would probably make everyone involved a mint. But they'd probably have to get the greenlight from Yoko and the Harrison estate and a handful of other attorneys (hence the "not-easy" part of my answer). And at the end of the day Ringo and Paul don't need that hassle.

On a brighter note - Rockband: Green Day might be such a stinker that the Beatles become a great alternative.


Album sale date from wikipedia

Did you know that every country has their own standard for what makes an album go Gold or Platinum? A Platinum album in the US is one that has sold 1,000,000. In the UK it's only 300,000.

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