Harmonix Launches The Rock Band Network

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Recording artists longing to see their songs performed on plastic instruments are one step closer to seeing their music dreams come true now that Harmonix’s Rock Band Network entered its open beta today.

The entire process looks pretty intricate: to participate in the network, you’ll need a $99 XNA Creators Club license, authoring software, and a lot of patience (it could take 20-40 hours for a novice to create a song according to Harmonix). There are also thorough play-testing and peer review steps once a musician has created a workable track. Nevertheless, this is a significant step forward for the Rock Band franchise that could give the music game genre a much-needed shot in the arm. NPD estimates that music game sales slid 46% in 2009.

Some other noteworthy details about RBN:

- Consumers will be able to purchase this content once the RBN Music Store launches on Xbox Live in the next few months. They’ll also be able to participate in the play-testing and peer review process if they have a XNA Creators Club license.

- Uploaded songs can be as short as a 30-second jingle or as long as a 10-minute opus.

- Musicians can price their songs at 80, 160, or 240 Microsoft Points ($1, $2, or $3); their cut of the revenue will be 30%.

- PS3 owners will also be able to purchase a “selection of standout” RBN-authored songs after these tracks have been on the Xbox 360 for 30 days.