Wednesday, October 22, 2008

When "free" isn't really free

Harmonix finally announced the list of 20 "free" tracks for Rock Band 2, slated for November 4th.
  • The 88 - "Sons and Daughters"
  • Authority Zero - "No Regrets"
  • Between the Buried and Me - "Prequel To The Sequel"
  • The Cab - "Bounce"
  • The Chevelles - "Get It On"
  • The Cocktail Slippers - "Give It To Me"
  • Dealership - "Database Corrupted"
  • Endeverafter - "I Wanna Be Your Man"
  • The Ghost Hounds - "Ashes To Fire"
  • Hollywood Undead - "Young"
  • Kutless - "The Feeling"
  • The Len Price 3 - "If I Ain't Got You"
  • Lesley Roy - "I'm Gone, I'm Going"
  • Opiate for the Masses - "Burn You Down"
  • Semi-Precious Weapons - "Magnetic Baby"
  • Shaimus - "Like a Fool"
  • Thenewno2" - Crazy Tuesday"
  • Tickle Me Pink - "The Time Is Wrong"
  • Underoath - "Desperate Times, Desperate Measures"
  • X Japan - "I.V."
The Rock Band forums are abuzz, but mostly negative.

I searched YouTube for each title to have a listen, and I'm a little disappointed. Quite frankly, most of the songs that they've included in the "free" track pack are crap. Many in the forum are of the same opinion. They appear to be indie bands -- not that there's anything wrong with that. In fact, most of the original indie content that came with the game is fun to play and I've been introduced to bands I probably wouldn't heard otherwise. I'm all for it, but come one, at least give us some GOOD indie content worth playing or listening to.

There are some who seem to be pleased with the list, and some of those people are slamming those who are expressing their dislike about the songs.

"It's free, what do you expect?" is the most common response. Let's get something straight here. Although Harmonix marketed them as "free", they aren't. We paid for those 20 songs when we bought the game. I don't recall reading anything about it being "for a limited time" or for early buyers. It was promoted as including "20 free downloadable songs" at a later date, therefore the price we paid for the game included those songs. End of story. Had they released the game without the promise of free content, and then at a later date said "Hey, we're gonna give you guys 20 free songs!", then you could argue "hey, it's free, what do you expect". Alas, that is not the case.

At least one person speculates that this list of 20 songs was not the original list that they intended to give away. They said that they believe Harmonix decided to sell that content at $2 per song and give away the songs they knew they couldn't sell. Again, it's speculation, but it does seem to make some $en$e.

Now we wait for November 4th to see exactly how this track pack will be distributed. I'm really hoping that they allow us to pick and choose which ones we want from the list, but I fear that it's going to be an all or nothing deal. It would suck royally if we have to accept the entire 20 songs just for a few, because that would mean more undesirable content appearing on the game's "Mystery Set lists" while playing the game. There's nothing worse than having to play a song you don't like among three or four songs that you do like.

There is a small silver lining to all of this. There was at least one song that I found rather catchy: Lesley Roy, "I'm Gone, I'm Going". She reminds me of a cross between Paramore and Kelly Clarkson. Although I'm mostly a rocker type of guy, I do like the occasional pop song. :) I know that my daughter is going to love singing along with it in Rock Band.

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