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Rock Band Network Adds Songs by The Shins, Hold Steady, Steve Vai

March 4, 2010 4:58 PM ET

Already mastered The Beatles: Rock Band and looking for a new challenge? Harmonix, the makers of Rock Band 2, have launched their new Rock Band Network where indie artists can submit their own music to become downloadable content for the popular music video game. So far roughly 100 songs populate the Rock Band Network, including songs by the Shins, the Hold Steady, KMFDM and guitar virtuoso Steve Vai (good luck playing that on the expert level), but the real draw is the new technology that allows unknown bands to submit their own music for a chance to have their music playable on the Rock Band games. Artists who get their music loaded onto the RBN will receive a 30 percent royalty whenever their tracks sell.

Check out a gallery of rock stars' video game avatars.

The Rock Band Network isn't just beneficial to musicians but for indie music fans as well: Hardcore gamers are invited to join the network as a "peer reviewer," meaning they'll be able to test out the songs, leave feedback and help shape the final versions that will appear on the Network. New Rock Band Network tracks will debut exclusively on XBox 360 for 30 days before moving on to other consoles. Since its beta launch in January 2010, 4,300 gamers have already signed up for Rock Band Network, which should keep you occupied while you wait for the release of Green Day: Rock Band.

Related Stories:
"Green Day: Rock Band" Video Game Due in 2010
"Rock Band Network" to Sell User Tunes as Playable Songs for Game
"Rock Band" Franchise Exceeds $1 Billion In Sales Before Beatles Game Arrives

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Song Stories

“Nightshift”

The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

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