GameSoundCon Offers Rock Band Network Training Sessions

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SoundCon LLC president Brian Schmidt

SoundCon, LLC announces that it is working with MTV Games’ Harmonix Music Systems, developer of Rock Band, Rock Band 2 and The Beatles: Rock Band, to bring two days of training sessions on how musicians can create and publish original music in the Rock Band Network to GameSoundCon 2009, to be held on September 24 and 25, 2009, at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles. The Rock Band Network, announced in July, is a groundbreaking initiative that gives musicians, publishers and record labels the ability to author their original recordings into game play files and sell their music as playable Rock Band tracks through the newly created Rock Band Network Music Store. 


The Rock Band Network training sessions at GameSoundCon, facilitated by Harmonix employees, will be one of the first live public sessions to demonstrate how musicians, record labels and publishers can author their original recordings into game play files for publication on the Rock Band Network. Once published and approved through a peer review process, tracks uploaded to the Rock Band Network Music Store will be available for download and purchase by millions of Rock Band players.

Training sessions will cover all aspects of getting your music onto the Rock Band Network, including how to create appropriate stem mixes, how to author songs using the Reaper tool, how to create a song package with Magma and how to audition your song before submitting your track. Further sessions will cover uploading your song for peer review, and publishing and promoting your song within the Rock Band Network. Besides the technical training on the custom tools, additional sessions will cover how to best map audio tracks to game play data in order to ensure a fun experience for players, including how to control crowd reactions and lighting during the performance.

“I’m incredibly excited to be able to add the Rock Band Network training to GameSoundCon,” says GameSoundCon conference director Brian Schmidt. “Authoring a track for play in a game like Rock Band requires specialized tools and skills, and to be able to learn directly from the handful of people in the world with this skill set and expertise is a truly unique opportunity. GameSoundCon attendees who sign up for the Rock Band Network training will be at a huge advantage when the Rock Band Network publicly releases these tools later this year.”


In order to accommodate the new training sessions, the early-bird registration discount for GameSoundCon Los Angeles will also be extended until September 8.


In addition to the new Rock Band Network training sessions, GameSoundCon features two days of seminars and panels on videogame music composition, videogame sound design, and breaking into the videogame industry, focusing on the unique technical, creative and business challenges of creating sound and music for videogames.

Brian Schmidt offers these thoughts and recollections of how Rock Band Network training came together for the inaugural GameSoundCon event in Los Angeles, as well as a future event in San Francisco:

"I’d always wondered who it was that actually took the old 2-inch master tapes from the Rock Band songs and makes them into playable Rock Band tracks. Back in the ’90s I worked on a Guns ’N’ Roses pinball machine with Slash. We went into the old archives and pulled out all the old 24-track master tapes and I dutifully digitized the individual tracks so they could be put together interactively as you played the game. It was a ton of work, and there weren’t any tools to speak of—it all had to be done by hand. But the end result of being able to interact and control the individual GNR tracks digitally was great.

"When I heard about the Rock Band Network last month, I immediately thought that the process of going from Pro Tools session to Rock Band song was one that would require some pretty special tools and know-how, but was very excited at the prospect that Harmonix was going to release their custom toolset to the general public. It’s a very ambitious undertaking.

"And just like the early days of the DAW, there would be a lot of new concepts to understand, tools to learn and issues to deal with for musicians who wanted to be on the front edge. And it occurred to me that addressing this know-how gap was exactly what I was doing with GameSoundCon—teaching musicians accustomed to traditional media how to create and format music (or sound design) for a new integrative format. A few phone calls to some friends at Harmonix and a whirlwind of e-mails later, we had two days of training by the MTV Games’ Harmonix Music Systems staff scheduled for GameSoundCon in L.A. and San Francisco, to be held in parallel to the two days of videogame music and sound design sessions and panels.

"I’m really thrilled to be able to add these sessions. I think the Rock Band Network could be an incredible way for new acts who like the cutting edge to get themselves known."

To learn more about GameSoundCon and a view complete listing of sessions and speakers, visit www.GameSoundCon.com. 
Mix readers are eligible for $100 off registration by using promo code MIX811.

To learn more about Rock Band Network, visit www.rockband.com/rock-band-network or creators.rockband.com.