Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Steven Van Zandt to work with Rock Band

Harmonix, the leading developer of music-based games, and MTV Games, a division of MTV Networks, which is a division of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), announced today the formation of the Rock Band™ Music Advisory Board, which will guide the Harmonix development team in the selection of artists, albums and tracks to be featured in the music videogame, both on the game disc and for digital distribution. Musician, actor and record producer Steven Van Zandt, a.k.a. “Little Steven,” will head up the board as the chairman with a select group of celebrity musicians and industry experts to be announced at a later date.
“The Harmonix team is honored to have a musician and producer of Little Steven’s stature involved in the music selection for Rock Band,” stated Alex Rigopulos, co-founder and CEO, Harmonix. “Steven’s expertise is vast, from his status as a founding member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, his encyclopedic knowledge of rock music history and well-known skill at pulling people together. He is the perfect choice to lead the team to steer us through the thousands of musical choices we are currently facing.”
Rock Band is an all-new platform for music fans and gamers to experience music like never before. Rock Band offers four music games in one – challenging rockers to master the lead/bass guitar, drums, and vocals or to play in a cooperative band experience. Partnerships with major record labels and leading music publishers will give Rock Band gamers unrivaled access to hundreds of master recordings and legendary rock artists in all rock genres from punk, metal and alternative to classic and Southern rock. In a separate announcement today, MTV Games and Harmonix revealed that through their partnership with these labels, Rock Band will be the first-ever videogame to offer full-length albums as a part of its game play.
“From the moment we announced this game the phone was ringing with artists asking how they could get involved, and this committee is the perfect way to make sure all the great music we are being offered is presented in its ideal context,” stated Paul DeGooyer, MTV’s Senior Vice President, Audio, Home Video and Games. “The advisory board is comprised of renowned musicians and industry experts who know what it’s like to be up on stage and to engage an audience; these are the essential elements that make up a great experience in Rock Band.”
The Rock Band Music Advisory Board will guide Harmonix and MTV Games in the selection of tracks that will power game play on the Rock Band disc as well as tracks and full albums that will be available as downloadable game levels after Rock Band’s release. The Advisory Board will also search for up-and-coming artists to debut to the public through Rock Band.
“I am honored to have been asked to lead the Rock Band Music Advisory Board,” said Little Steven. “It is amazing how effective the game is in communicating the coolest music ever made, and still being made, and at the same time, capturing the spirit of fun that got us all into Rock-and-Roll in the first place.”
Little Steven is an acclaimed songwriter, musician, actor, record producer, DJ, television producer and activist. Aside from his impressive music background, he’s also widely known for his leadership role in the anti-apartheid Sun City project, and has been honored twice by the United Nations for his human rights achievements. Little Steven is a founding member and producer of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and has also written and produced songs for artists such as Ronnie Spector, Nancy Sinatra, and Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes.
Rock Band is slated for release on Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft® and PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system this Holiday 2007. Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) will serve as the exclusive distribution and marketing partner for Rock Band, managing distribution for the game in US, Europe and Australia. For more information on Rock Band and Harmonix Music Systems please visit www.rockband.com and www.harmonixmusic.com.

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