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Rhythm Authors FAQ

  1. What is Rhythm Authors?
  2. Why submit music into the Rock Band Platform?
  3. What is the Rock Band Network?
  4. How does the Rock Band Network work?
  5. Will my music be available for free to Creator's Club members during peer review?
  6. What needs to be done in order to prepare a song for RBN?
  7. Can I author and publish content myself?
  8. Why work with Rhythm Authors?
  9. What experience does Rhythm Authors have?
  10. What is the Rhythm Authors "streamlined process"?
  11. How long does it take to get a song into the game?
  12. How much exposure can this generate?
  13. How much does it cost?
  14. What if I already have a creator's club account and want to submit myself?
  15. How much can I earn?
  16. What kind of music are we looking for?
  17. Are instrumentals allowed?
  18. What are the audio requirements for multi-track recordings?
  19. Got a song for us? How can you get started?

What is Rhythm Authors?

We are an experienced team of individuals designed to work together with musicians, bands, and record labels to bring music into the Rock Band gaming platform through the Rock Band Network.

Through streamlined processes, focused expertise, and quality control measures; our team aims to maximize sales and exposure for songs and artists as quickly as possible. Aside from original recordings, we professionally author all content required for submission, including: multi-track stem mixing, note charts, in-game camera, staging, animation and lighting events in order to deliver a fun, accurate, and musically engaging experience for all gamers to enjoy.

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Why submit music into the Rock Band Platform?

Rock Band is a popular video game franchise that has quickly become one the most influential distribution channels for music worldwide. Inclusion in Rock Band has directly contributed to increased popularity and album sales for hundreds of artists. Here are just a few examples of success:

New York Times:

Source: Can Guitar Hero Help Save the Music Industry? – by David Edery

Not only does Rock Band gain exposure to a whole new audience and monetize your listings elsewhere, royalties are also accrued through the system each time someone downloads a song. Additionally, Rock Band presents a unique experience for players to interact and become attached with your music in ways previously not possible.

This is a golden opportunity to tap in to a new and thriving market, build popularity, and collect earnings all while gaining exposure in a young, diverse and influential market.

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What is the Rock Band Network?

The Rock Band Network (RBN) is a new community-driven system for Rock Band 2 on Xbox 360 built on top of the Xbox Live Creator's Club which allows members to publish and sell music through a Rock Band Network Store similar to traditional Downloadable Content (DLC) songs released previously.

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How does the Rock Band Network work?

By leveraging the power of the community, members are able to submit "prepared songs" for playtest and review, while also reviewing others and offering feedback to the system. Once a song receives enough positive scores in all aspects of the review, the song will automatically be published to the Rock Band Network Store for all Xbox 360 Rock Band gamers to purchase and enjoy.

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Will my music be available for free to Creator's Club members during peer review?

Yes, but not in a very accessible way. For testing purposes, creator's club members will be able to download and transfer songs under review to their 360 for a single-session playtest of the song. After backing out from the "audition mode" screen, the song does not get saved on the player's Hard Drive and will not be accessible without another full transfer from the person's PC.

Also the fee of $99/year to join the Creator's Club limits the ability for a vast majority of 360 gamers to even participate in the playtest/review phase. The only way for them to play the song permanently would be a purchased download through the Rock Band Network Store.

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What needs to be done in order to prepare a song for RBN?

Here's a simplified summary starting with a band's digital multi-track audio recordings for a song:

  1. Stems are mixed in accordance to Rock Band specifications;
  2. All additional content required by the Rock Band game engine is created and authored to match the music;
  3. The stems and content are packaged together with a tool developed by Harmonix that securely encrypts everything into a single file;
  4. The song package file is submitted to the Rock Band Creator's Club for playtest and peer review;
  5. Reviewers download, play, and rate the quality of the additional authored game content;
  6. Upon receiving enough positive reviews (as determined by the system), the song becomes available for sale in the Rock Band Network Store.

For the more detailed answer refer to Rock Band Network's documentation.

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Can I author and publish content myself?

Yes, assuming that you meet the following requirements:

Harmonix has supplied the community with a great deal of documentation and tools if you are willing to invest the time, money and effort into publishing your own Rock Band content. Keep in mind the learning curve is steep to produce true game-quality content to accompany your music. There are community forums to seek help where we, amongst others, will be an active part in sharing advice and assisting others as our time permits.

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Why work with Rhythm Authors?

Working through us, you supply the music and we take care of the rest.

We handle everything needed to easily pass your music through the review system, and not just publish, but promote your music through Rhythm Authors exclusive community features, such as song preview pages, in-house advertisements, and score-tracking through ScoreHero to ensure maximum possible exposure and royalties. All while you concentrate on recording your next biggest hit!

Rhythm Authors is equipped with a streamlined process, experienced individuals, quality control measures, and a guarantee that if we take on your music as a project, your song(s) will surpass standards required to pass review and go live.

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What experience does Rhythm Authors have?

Ever since Rock Band's launch in 2007, members of the team have gathered knowledge both technically with Rock Band's file formats, and enthusiastically as dedicated fans of the series ourselves. We know what gamers like to see, and how to effectively author music for the platform.

Starting out as hobbyists in ScoreHero’s software forums, much of what Rhythm Authors now offers as a service we've already been doing for over 2 years on our own. In addition to that, our primary authors have recently attended a master class hosted by Harmonix, and we are fully committed to upholding the game developer's top quality standards for every project that we accept.

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What is the Rhythm Authors "streamlined process"?

Internally we have a system in place to manage projects and assign each of our authors to the specific tasks of their personal expertise. To ensure consistency, we require our own peer reviews for each instrument involved, and another full review after the authoring is complete.

This means each aspect of game content will be examined by at least 3 of our experts, with the entire project passing through 5 or more of our hands before it's done. Project and client managers are also assigned to oversee progress, and to serve as a primary contact for any client questions or concerns.

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How long does it take to get a song into the game?

A lot of factors influence this including the musical complexity of the parts, length of the song, and the community review phase before it officially becomes available for purchase. In general it should take no longer than 2 weeks for us to complete a song's authoring tasks and submit it for peer review. Because this system is brand new, we can't yet predict how long the community peer review will last, but can guarantee positive reviews from a quality standpoint which should hopefully lead to a speedy approval.

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How much exposure can this generate?

We don't have access to the sales figures for previous Rock Band DLC, but from the online leaderboard data it can be seen that several songs have received over 100,000 downloads (potentially many more). In addition to direct exposure, your content will be showcased on this Rhythm Authors website with its own preview page complete with video and song information, indexed in our database for searching, and added to the ever-popular score tracking capabilities on ScoreHero accessible to nearly 400,000 registered members seeing 15,000-20,000 unique visitors each day. ScoreHero community features have consistently proven to generate replay value and priceless word-of-mouth advertising to further increase exposure and sales.

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How much does it cost?

It costs absolutely nothing. Unless we negotiate terms otherwise, our normal contracts are based on a percentage of earned royalties from live downloads. This means both parties mutually benefit from delivering popular content to the marketplace, and we will therefore be fully dedicated to promoting increased sales and exposure of your music because your success is linked to ours!

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What if I already have a creator's club account and want to submit myself?

If you prefer to use our authoring service but still would like to submit songs through your own creator's club account, then we will need to negotiate an upfront fixed-payment contract. Under this type of arrangement you would send payment to us beforehand, and upon completion on our end, the authored song package file would be sent to you for submission. We guarantee that your song passes review and goes live, or your money back.

However, because our payment is fixed and not contingent over time, we will NOT guarantee any extra promotional efforts to further market and sell your songs after completion such as in-site advertisements and ScoreHero’s score-tracking.

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How much can I earn?

The payout structure for royalties is 30% split between Rhythm Authors and the artist. Previous Rock Band DLC songs have achieved over 100,000 downloads. Depending on number of songs, popularity, and prices set for your content, you could be earning anywhere from nothing to hundreds of thousands of dollars!

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What kind of music are we looking for?

The Rock Band platform has seen a vast array of genres and subgenres and is constantly expanding in new directions: alternative, blues, classic rock, country, emo, fusion, glam, grunge, indie rock, jazz, metal, new wave, novelty, nu-metal, pop-rock, prog, punk, southern rock, and urban are just some of the main genres listed in the game with a good 5-10 subgenres under each of those. The possibilities for music genre are limitless.

In general, songs that work best and are most fun to play along with in the Rock Band platform are those which contain interesting sections or "uniqueness" in each playable instrument.

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Are instrumentals allowed?

Yes. While Rock Band supports playable parts for guitar, bass, drums, and vocals, it is NOT required that a song contains all parts. Instrumentals or other combinations of the instruments available will work just fine. In fact, only one part is technically required by the system although it is recommended to have more.

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What are the audio requirements for multi-track recordings?

All guitars must be separated. All vocals must be separated with a clean version (no effects), backup vocals included. Drums at a minimum must be a single stereo mix, but the more separation the better.

All stem files must be, at a minimum 44.1khz/48khz stereo (mono for kick/bass guitar if need be), 16bit PCM.

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Got a song for us? How can you get started?

The first step is to share a mixed demo with us. Please refer to the song demo submission page for further instructions how.

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