is it worth it?

JoshVanHalen87JoshVanHalen87 Road Warrior
edited November 2010 in The Rock Band Network
i mean RBN 2.0 its in the works, and it´ll add keys, double bass, harmonies, etc.... is it worth it buy rbn songs as it is, or wait till they update the song, i really don´t wanna spend $4 on one song.

its not a complain at all, i just wanna know.

Comments

  • jawillroyjawillroy Rising Star
    edited November 2010
    If you like the song, then it's worth it: don't bother holding your breath and waiting. I suspect that there are going to be very, very few artists/authors who will want to go through the time and expense of producing updated versions of their existing RBN content. Why go to the effort re-doing a song when you have new songs in the hopper that you can use instead?

    It might be different for the big-name artists - I imagine people would buy Bang Camaro again no matter what, for instance - but as much as I'd like Paper Valentines to be playable with full harmonies, someone would have to work pretty hard to convince me it would be worth Markleford's time to set that up.
  • NoThru22NoThru22 Road Warrior
    edited November 2010
    Double bass has nothing to do with RBN 2.0. Songs will start coming out very soon, possibly before RBN 2.0 hits, that will have two separate versions: one standard and one with double bass. They will be separate purchases. RBN 2.0 does not have anything like Expert+ that allows you to turn the second pedal on or off.
  • JoshVanHalen87JoshVanHalen87 Road Warrior
    edited November 2010
    NoThru22;4178068 said:
    Double bass has nothing to do with RBN 2.0. Songs will start coming out very soon, possibly before RBN 2.0 hits, that will have two separate versions: one standard and one with double bass. They will be separate purchases. RBN 2.0 does not have anything like Expert+ that allows you to turn the second pedal on or off.

    nevertheless, you have to re-buy the song if you want double bass, so, thats my dilemma too
  • FairwoodStudiosFairwoodStudios Road Warrior
    edited November 2010
    Unless you only want double bass and no single bass, in which case you only have to buy it once.

    This question is really more for authors than players, since as James pointed out most songs are not going to be updated. (We've already decided, we're not updating anything at cost. If we do an update, for pro drums or whatever, it must be free for players. Otherwise it's not worthwhile.) So if something's really piano-driven or harmony-driven, those of us with the luxury to just wait for RBN2.0 will. I mean, we've got a couple of three-piece groups to bide our time with so this doesn't become an issue.
  • JoshVanHalen87JoshVanHalen87 Road Warrior
    edited November 2010
    hmm, well I guess we´ll have to see which ones are updated and which aren´t.
  • NoThru22NoThru22 Road Warrior
    edited November 2010
    There are over 100 songs I'd pay for again just to have proper pro drums! I hope most of them have keyboards, dammit!
  • wesjett08wesjett08 Rising Star
    edited November 2010
    Ultra Saturday is going the extra mile for updates, We've completely re-recorded the 3 currently released songs just so people could get more enjoyment out of them, We figured since we're updating parts why not go back and update the actual musical content as well? Sure it even delayed our album further but we feel it was worth it. The best part? ... They'll all still be 99 cents.
  • NoThru22NoThru22 Road Warrior
    edited November 2010
    Actually, since I pay 19.99 for 1600 microsoft points, that means that your songs are closer to a dollar for me. I would appreciate it if you would mail me the three pennies that you owe me, plus four more for your future songs. Thanks.
  • wesjett08wesjett08 Rising Star
    edited November 2010
    NoThru22;4178497 said:
    Actually, since I pay 19.99 for 1600 microsoft points, that means that your songs are closer to a dollar for me. I would appreciate it if you would mail me the three pennies that you owe me, plus four more for your future songs. Thanks.

    Implying a Punk Band has 7 pennies laying around HA!
  • chasenmuskychasenmusky Rising Star
    edited November 2010
    Yes it is worth it (IMO) that you should buy songs that you will like and enjoy. Plus there are a tonne of GREAT songs around a buck, so it's totally worth buying certain songs and if they do get updated, some songs for sure are worth getting the update. Go to last.fm or youtube and check out some songs, you'll probably like more than a few.

    I hope that songs that will get the double bass upgrade, will just need a double bass upgrade, I'd be a little upset if they updated the song to have double bass, then they re-update it again later to include keys and/or harmonies, that would burn my balls just a bit. If it needs a keys and/or harmonies update, please update the double bass along with those later on, I'm sure people would agree with that notion...maybe not...

    If it just needs a double bass upgrade, bring that ***t on!!! BTW when is the first double bass track going to release and what will be the first official DB track?
  • Givem2meGivem2me Rising Star
    edited November 2010
    What would be funny is if the $3 songs were the only ones to release updates.
  • kingtonyxkingtonyx Unofficial
    edited November 2010
    This is a good point. There are a few RBN songs in my library (and a couple coming) that would be great for harmonies and/or keyboard. However if I am sticking to the "one purchase per song" rule with HMX, I'm afraid it will have to apply to RBN as well.

    However, unlike HMX released DLC I am not wiping out my RBN backlist...
  • TheSharkfaceTheSharkface Unsigned
    edited November 2010
    Honestly, after a while- going through the RBN songs, I found several that I might enjoy playing. A lot of cool and obscure stuff in there, but really... what it comes down to for me is the fact that the quality of all the songs sound just about as good as if you were playing it as a ringtone from old school cell phones.

    In that, I'd say no. Also, another good point of lacking the features that 2.0 will bring. I really doubt you'll be punching yourself over the purchase, but... at the same time, seeing songs later on that bring all your favorite instruments, and you might get a bit pissy when compiling a setlist.
  • wesjett08wesjett08 Rising Star
    edited November 2010
    TheSharkface;4187518 said:
    Honestly, after a while- going through the RBN songs, I found several that I might enjoy playing. A lot of cool and obscure stuff in there, but really... what it comes down to for me is the fact that the quality of all the songs sound just about as good as if you were playing it as a ringtone from old school cell phones.

    In that, I'd say no. Also, another good point of lacking the features that 2.0 will bring. I really doubt you'll be punching yourself over the purchase, but... at the same time, seeing songs later on that bring all your favorite instruments, and you might get a bit pissy when compiling a setlist.

    I hope you aren't basing the quality off of the previews, Those things are notoriously terrible.
  • UltraceUltrace Road Warrior
    edited November 2010
    There are plenty of songs that we would re-buy in order to add harmonies and keyboards; pro drums not so much, but if that comes along with it, sure. We're big on harmonies here, and any cheap opportunity (we love the $1 price point of many RBN items) to add keyboards for stuff we would have bought anyway is great. To put it in perspective, we were perfectly willing to pay $1 for upgrades to regular RB songs and, repurchasing a RBN song at $1 would meet that same criteria.
    jawillroy;4178058 said:
    It might be different for the big-name artists - I imagine people would buy Bang Camaro again no matter what, for instance - but as much as I'd like Paper Valentines to be playable with full harmonies, someone would have to work pretty hard to convince me it would be worth Markleford's time to set that up.
    That's a shame because Paper Valentines would be one of my first repurchases. I still remember it being one of the first songs to really impress me on RBN, but I certainly understand the business reasons behind it.
  • jawillroyjawillroy Rising Star
    edited November 2010
    Ultrace;4188017 said:
    That's a shame because Paper Valentines would be one of my first repurchases. I still remember it being one of the first songs to really impress me on RBN, but I certainly understand the business reasons behind it.
    Thank you! *tallies up a vote*

    I DO think that if we thought the additional version would bring in a lot of new listeners, we'd go ahead and do it. Thing is, I haven't been seeing all that many people experimenting with songs they didn't already know outside of the game: so I don't know if it'd be much more than "oh, this looks cool, let's do it" on our part. In a way, I think I get one vote and Markleford gets two in the "do we chart this" vote, 'cause I'm already done with my work once the song's recorded: he's the one has to chart the things, da poor bastid.
  • Santa ClaustrophobiaSanta Claustrophobia Road Warrior
    edited November 2010
    jawillroy;4188337 said:
    Thing is, I haven't been seeing all that many people experimenting with songs they didn't already know outside of the game:

    Which isn't all that different for 'real' DLC, either. People are creatures of habit and so they'll stick with what they know and are comfortable with.

    The only thing that changes with RBN is with more one dollar songs, it's easier for people to take a chance. But even then, they probably don't stray too far from either preferred genres or preferred difficulties.

    Re-charting RBN stuff adds a further risk, even for the more popular stuff. And that's the whole 'I don't wanna re-buy tracks I already have!' argument. In the end, from a money vs. time perspective, it's probably not really worth any RBN artist to resubmit just to add new features.
  • Coach ZCoach Z Opening Act
    edited November 2010
    jawillroy;4188337 said:
    Thank you! *tallies up a vote*

    I DO think that if we thought the additional version would bring in a lot of new listeners, we'd go ahead and do it. Thing is, I haven't been seeing all that many people experimenting with songs they didn't already know outside of the game: so I don't know if it'd be much more than "oh, this looks cool, let's do it" on our part. In a way, I think I get one vote and Markleford gets two in the "do we chart this" vote, 'cause I'm already done with my work once the song's recorded: he's the one has to chart the things, da poor bastid.

    Paper Valentines is a family favorite. I'd chart the harmonies out of gratitude, and I'd buy it again.
  • MarklefordMarkleford Opening Act
    edited November 2010
    Coach Z;4189538 said:
    Paper Valentines is a family favorite. I'd chart the harmonies out of gratitude, and I'd buy it again.
    Hey, thanks for the support for "The Pape", Z and everyone else.

    Yes, I really do think that we'll have to do a version for RBN 2.0. I pretty much started out producing for James by being sort of a "super-fan" myself, and I've *always* thought that his stuff demanded harmony support. After playing Beatles:RB and having a blast with harmonies, I'd hoped that we'd eventually get that capability!

    The thing is, charting the harmonies isn't the hard part: it's getting the support to get a song through Peer Review. Just like trying to get gamers to try out new songs from artists that they're never heard of, it's a similar uphill battle to get a "nobody band" through the whole approval process.

    Fortunately, there are a few JWR fans who are active playtesters, so James and I don't exactly have to go back to square one as "nobodies" at this point. But it does sort of beg the question as to how the RBN community will treat these "upgraded" tracks when it comes to playtesting.

    One one hand, we may be able to say: "The instrument tracks have been unchanged, so please check *only* harmonies!" That could make for a very fast initial playtest round, and an equally quick peer review.

    However, all of the older RBN tracks are also lacking Pro Drums, so those will need to be added and retested. And now we also have the rules that Easy and Medium difficulties for guitar/bass must contain all colors that are in Expert. So those are more charts that can't be rubber-stamped.

    And then, even if you *don't* have keyboards, you might do slight "hindsight" tweaks to your original charts, compensate for the new unison-as-solo double-OD sections, add trill markers and whatnot. And hey, why not sweeten the mix while you're in there...

    Pretty soon you have almost an entirely new track that needs almost as much playtesting as the original!

    Of course, given the amount of playtest you'll need on this for your track, that just means you'll have to give an equal amount of playtest to *other* people's tracks to get some "back-scratching" participation. At this point, there's no denying it: the RBN peer community works flat out on trades.

    So in the end, adding harmonies will take perhaps an hour, most of it being remix work to separate and balance the vox stems. But in comparison, there will need to be at least 20 hours of playtesting on my part to get adequate trade coverage to get it all the way through Peer Review.

    So to go back and address the initial question from the author's point of view: IS IT WORTH IT?

    Well... yes and no.

    The fact is, both JWR tracks combined have earned us ZERO dollars thus far, due to the percentage that we make on the tracks and the minimum threshold that MS/XNA requires to be made before they decide to cut a check on a quarterly basis. On top of that, I've paid $100 for an XNA membership and $60 for a software license to Reaper.

    So even if/when we meet the $150 payout threshold, that means that we'll still be $10 in the hole. And then the tracks have to make $150 *more* in our cut of the profits to get MS to send out another check. But honestly, sales have dried up at this point.

    Quite simply put, we will need to sell 1000 tracks total for MS to write that second check to allow us to make a profit. By my last count, we have sold 434 combined.

    By all indications, we will never turn a profit.

    If you're looking to make money as an indie author for your own band that is starting with zero following, and is founded on simple but strong songwriting instead of technical chops (read: charting difficulty), you're in the wrong business. It is not worth it.

    However, it's worth it to us to get the music out there, even though we'll never make any money on it. The way we see it, Paper Valentines has sold 257 copies. Sadly, we believe that a great deal of these purchases are from people who buy ALL DLC as obsessed completists or who manage Rock Band nights at their neighborhood bar.

    But let's say that perhaps a conservative 100 actually listened to the crappy quality preview and were brave enough to download the demo and try it out... and were pleasantly surprised! That's 100 people more than have ever listened it before. And really? That's pretty cool. I don't think 100 people have even downloaded the free mp3 from the web site and commented on it. So far as we know, James's biggest fans are automated web spider mp3 trawler servers from Russia and China!

    (Okay, well, maybe them and the swell guys from Ampeater Music, who are very flattering in their reviews...)

    So what's "worth it"? What's considered "success"?

    James and I were hoping to maybe earn enough for a pizza (and maybe a fifth of gin) someday. But for now, we'll take the 100 maybe-fans, the brave souls we were open to something new and found something beautiful where others refused to look. Thanks, you people! Really, we should've positioned ourselves for an immediate follow-up, but we got kind of pessimistic for a while and started hashing out the rest of the actual music for the eventual album, instead.

    So practically speaking, in order for us to hit our magic $150 threshold payouts faster, I'm going to need to put more RBN tracks in our catalog. (I've actually made some non-imaginary money working as "clean-up" for other authors: those were flat-fee jobs, and I get no royalty cut from them, but please check out "Young" by Twintapes and all three tracks by the band Kingsize! I did those for love of those tracks, as well.)

    Of course, this whole RBN 2.0 has put things on hold. I *do* have 2-3 tracks selected that don't have harmonies or keys. Maybe I'll try to make these happen in the RBN 1.x era, since now we at least know the charting spec for Pro Drums! But for every other track that has harmonies, I feel that those should wait.

    (Even then, there are indications that RBN 1.x tracks have slightly buggy venue interpretation in RB3, which is giving many authors pause for completing *anything* else before the RB3 Audition Mode is released...)

    So where does "Paper Valentines" stand?

    It *demands* harmonies. It has a pre-Pro Drum chart. It has the old gem/color standard for Easy/Medium on guitar/bass. It will require a full new playtest and PR round, which means I'll have to trade playtests with others to get it through.

    (could say the same for "Shiny Dark Bar", though it only seems to sell 1/2 to 2/3 as well)

    It's really not worth my time... but it is. I want our hypothetical 100 fans to be happy. I'm hoping that they'll be happy enough to pay another $1 for the new version of the track, if they want the new features! And again, that's because it's the minimum we can charge: we'd make 'em free if we could, but the RBN/XNA system doesn't allow for that.

    We'll just have to hope that the people who don't read these forums will understand and not resent us for being "greedy" and "MAKING us pay twice". Or perhaps I'll even sweeten the deal and add some new keyboards to these arrangements to make the "Deluxe Version". Which probably still won't satisfy some people...

    So if we come out with, say, 50 hypothetical fans that follow us to RBN 2.0, is that also a success? Is it worth it for the nobody indie author?

    Right now, I'd like to think it *would* be. But ask me about it later when the track is *actually* in playtest and getting ignored, expiring version after version. ;)

    As to being worth it for the customer: there are no guarantees every RBN track will be upgraded. If you like the song, then yeah, it's worth it. It's like a cup of coffee: you'll just pee it out eventually, but if you like the taste and could use the caffeine, if only temporarily, then it's worth it.

    Good thing is that an 80 msp track is cheaper than a cup of coffee, and is much easier to clean up. ;)

    But again, thanks for the support, folks. It's the only thing that keeps us going.

    - m
  • Santa ClaustrophobiaSanta Claustrophobia Road Warrior
    edited November 2010
    For what it's worth, I feel for you smaller guys. I already knew about the threshold thing, but it doesn't get any easier hearing about it 'from the horse's mouth', so to speak.
  • kingtonyxkingtonyx Unofficial
    edited November 2010
    The minimum payout is a killer for smaller authors. Really I'd say the best way around it is to put out a large enough volume of tracks to where all together they hit the mark. Maybe in this case for you guys (JWR and Markleford) it WOULD be worth it to do updated versions of your songs? You probably have most of the authoring already done, just need to add the new stuff in.

    There are people who have switched almost entirely to keys. You could maybe draw them in.
  • jawillroyjawillroy Rising Star
    edited November 2010
    To echo Markleford - thanks for the support! After all, it'd really suck if nobody listened to it at all!

    One of the things dislike most about having most of my music exist in various digital formats is that beyond noting when there's a download there really isn't any venue for feedback at all. When you play a show, you know right away if people are digging on it or not. Having music on the internet is like sitting on the roof of a skyscraper and winging CDs down into the street (maybe with wee parachutes so's they don't hurt people.) Most, you figure, nobody even picks up. A bunch might pick them up. A handful of them might actually play it. One of them might play it more than once. Thing is, you'll never know, for the most part.

    So hearing back from you guys is pretty cool.
  • MarklefordMarkleford Opening Act
    edited November 2010
    kingtonyx;4190254 said:
    The minimum payout is a killer for smaller authors. Really I'd say the best way around it is to put out a large enough volume of tracks to where all together they hit the mark.
    It might even be "worth it" for a small author, typically a member of the band, to author the track themselves for the sense of control, but to give it to one of the larger authoring companies to submit for a fee. You could probably get by with getting the 4-month XNA membership and dealing with the nag-mode on an unlicensed copy of Reaper after the 30 day trial.

    That way your initial expenses are low, and even if the larger company is taking a cut for doing next to nothing (mostly accounting!) you don't have to worry about the payout threshold. If James and I had done that from the beginning, we would've had our pizza and gin party by now! :)
    Maybe in this case for you guys (JWR and Markleford) it WOULD be worth it to do updated versions of your songs? [...] There are people who have switched almost entirely to keys. You could maybe draw them in.
    Yeah, the keys would probably hold some appeal to new people, and perhaps get the grouchy "I wasted a while dollar on the first version!" folks to see some value in added content. Musically, though, I'd just have to find a way to shoehorn them in there. ;)

    - m
  • jawillroyjawillroy Rising Star
    edited November 2010
    Markleford;4190351 said:
    Yeah, the keys would probably hold some appeal to new people, and perhaps get the grouchy "I wasted a while dollar on the first version!" folks to see some value in added content. Musically, though, I'd just have to find a way to shoehorn them in there. ;)

    - m
    I wouldn't be averse to having keys in either of the songs we've got up there so far: I don't think it would take *that* much science to pull an Ocasek and get a little keys bedded in there with the guitars.
  • UltraceUltrace Road Warrior
    edited November 2010
    Thanks to Markleford for a lengthy, detailed post that gives insight into some of the challenges facing authors and artists in RBN without coming off as petty or as nothing more than complaining.
    Markleford;4189821 said:
    It's really not worth my time... but it is. I want our hypothetical 100 fans to be happy. I'm hoping that they'll be happy enough to pay another $1 for the new version of the track, if they want the new features! And again, that's because it's the minimum we can charge: we'd make 'em free if we could, but the RBN/XNA system doesn't allow for that.
    As one of the 256-ish people who bought Paper Valentines who doesn't buy everything, I would definitely do the upgrade for $1--I wish it was available now, at a period where there are less harmony and keyboard songs available (although I don't know if the song actually has keyboards.) As indicated earlier, I would be willing to upgrade most DLC, RBN and otherwise, for a buck. The potential silver lining of this within the RBN world is that, unlike with regular DLC, the existing price means that you can release an update "purchase" for these songs that's very reasonably-priced. Those songs released for $2 (and, good grief, $3) in the RBN have a harder upgrade road ahead of them.
  • jeccanekojeccaneko Headliner
    edited November 2010
    Markleford;4189821 said:
    The thing is, charting the harmonies isn't the hard part: it's getting the support to get a song through Peer Review. Just like trying to get gamers to try out new songs from artists that they're never heard of, it's a similar uphill battle to get a "nobody band" through the whole approval process.
    I just became an RBN playtester (it's not under this account name, due to a sponsorship). I will be happy to review any JWR songs that come up on RBN. By the time any come up, I'll be more experienced at it, so feedback will be most optimal. Already was planning to do some songs this weekend that have been sitting up there for a while to get started.
  • jawillroyjawillroy Rising Star
    edited November 2010
    jeccaneko;4193675 said:
    I will be happy to review any JWR songs that come up on RBN.
    Aww! Thanks.

    All this nice talk is making me think we ought to go ahead and do another RBN tune regardless.
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