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"Rock Band" Franchise Exceeds $1 Billion In Sales Before Beatles Game Arrives

March 26, 2009 2:33 PM ET

While the record-sales biz continues its steady slide, the music video game industry is booming. In a press release, the makers of Rock Band have revealed that after only 15 months of business, the franchise has surpassed $1 billion in North American retail sales alone. MTV Games and Harmonix also announced than more than 40 million individual tracks had been downloaded and purchased via the Rock Band platform.

Rolling Stone has been covering the battle between Guitar Hero and Rock Band and their constant search for exclusive rights to major artists' catalogs and new features. But the numbers don't lie, and in 2008 Rock Band was "the number one title of 2008 by revenue across all game genres," according to the press release. Of course, 2007's Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock was the first video game ever to break the billion-dollar barrier, so we guess that's a tie.

Whatever the revenue gap between RB and GH is now, expect it fluctuate as both titles release big-name versions this year: Guitar Hero: Metallica hits shelves March 29th (James Hetfield talks that game here) and The Beatles: Rock Band, perhaps the most-anticipated game in either franchise's history, will be released on September 9th, 2009. To counter, Guitar Hero reportedly has a Van Halen-dedicated version on the way.

As the pair continue slugging it out, the music video game market will get even more crowded when both DJ Hero and Scratch: The Ultimate DJ enter the arena later this year.

Related Stories:

Metallica's James Hetfield Calls "Guitar Hero" a "Gateway Drug": Inside the Band's New Game
"Guitar Hero: Van Halen" Reportedly On the Way
"The Beatles: Rock Band" Set to Hit Stores September 9, 2009

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Song Stories

“Love Is the Answer”

Utopia | 1977

The message of the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" proved to be a universal and long-lasting one, which Utopia revisited 10 years later on this ballad. "From a lyrical standpoint, it's part of a whole class of songs that I write, which are about filial love," Todd Rundgren explained. "I'm not a Christian, but it's called Christian love, the love that people are supposed to naturally feel because we are all of the same species. That may be mythical, but it's still a subject." Though "Love Is the Answer" wasn't a hit, a cover version two years later by England Dan & John Ford Coley peaked at Number Ten on the Billboard singles chart.

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