Three Years of the Rock Band Network!

HMXLachesisHMXLachesis Harmonix Alum
edited March 2013 in The Rock Band Network
We're celebrating three years today since the official opening of the Rock Band Network store. Got any great RBN stories to share from the past year? Tell us about them here!

Here's our celebratory article: http://www.rockband.com/blog/celebrating-three-years-of-the-rock-band-network

Comments

  • edited March 2013
    I've been stoked on RBN since day 1. The idea of opening up a pipeline directly to the bands and members of the RB community was NUTS, but since we were already doing insane things with DLC and export, it seemed like we were tackling crazy things on a near weekly basis.

    The RBN unveiling panel at PAX 2009 was a huge highlight for me, just for the sheer anticipation of showing everyone the guts of this thing for the first time and waiting and watching and hoping that the song would go through as planned. When it finally worked it was such a huge relief and burst of excitement, and then having Jonathan Coulton come up and actually play his song while the crowd sang along was such a great moment.

    RBN has also allowed me to see some of my favorite bands make their way into the RB library. Bands like Terror, Converge, The Red Chord, Polar Bear Club, and The Reverend Horton Heat are all groups that I love that may never have appeared in game without the support of the authoring community and testers. Being able to meet and interview the Bouncing Souls, one of my favorite bands since high school, about their track in RBN is one of my favorite Harmonix memories. It's a great example of how RBN bridges the gap between the bands and the fans, allowing for some awesome content and experiences.

    Happy birthday, Rock Band Nickelb-- I mean, Rock Band Network!
  • NightmareLyreNightmareLyre Rising Star
    edited March 2013
    Happy birthday! And thanks for making all of this possible for us HMX =)
  • Blind_3Blind_3 Opening Act
    edited March 2013
    hmxhenry;4994210 said:
    RBN has also allowed me to see some of my favorite bands make their way into the RB library. Bands like Terror, Converge, The Red Chord, Polar Bear Club, and The Reverend Horton Heat are all groups that I love that may never have appeared in game without the support of the authoring community and testers. Being able to meet and interview the Bouncing Souls, one of my favorite bands since high school, about their track in RBN is one of my favorite Harmonix memories. It's a great example of how RBN bridges the gap between the bands and the fans, allowing for some awesome content and experiences.

    Happy birthday, Rock Band Nickelb-- I mean, Rock Band Network!

    It's this exactly why I instantly fell in love with Rock Band Network, I already loved you folks at Harmonix Rock Band Network help solidify and keep that love strong.

    I remember the hope I felt that one day my music would be in Rock Band finally be realized when RBN was announced. Rock Band is directly responsible for my interest in making music.

    I know I'm a little late to the party but soon (thanks to Rock Band Network) people will be able to play my first album in Rock Band, and I hope to have more of my music released as long as RBN carries the flag. The excitement and honor this makes me feel is amazing! Even though normal DLC will be stopping there will still be Rock Band Network content.

    Happy Birthday Rock Band Network!
  • edited March 2013
    Stalking the RBN is what brought me to this site back before it was open. I loved seeing all the teased artists back when Billy Idol, Blondie, Smashing Pumpkins, and other big names were being tossed around.
  • BlasteroidsBlasteroids Road Warrior
    edited March 2013
    Wow, 3 years already? Time certainly goes quickly. RBN is a great way to find some fun bands :)
  • grumblevolcanogrumblevolcano Headliner
    edited March 2013
    Happy Birthday RBN! It's been amazing how much content has come out since launch and some very big surprises of which I was most happy about Evanescence's "Going Under".

    One of the best moments I've had with RBN is the day I saw DragonForce live on the Power Within tour with one of the support acts being Alestorm, I come home after the concert to find that there is not one, but two Alestorm songs already available via the RBN with a third song being announced about a month later.

    Keep up the awesome work and I can't wait to see what's on offer even after April 2nd.
  • ThatAuthoringGroupThatAuthoringGroup Numero Uno Super **** Fanboy #1
    edited March 2013
    Thanks for creating this incredibly awesome thing that is the Rock Band Network.

    I've been with it since almost the beginning (way back in Sept of 09). I don't know what you saw in me as just another poster on the forums to grant me entrance into the process to help test songs way back in the beginning, but you must have saw something in me that I didn't know was there myself.

    Fast forward to today and I've since started TAG, helped to bring some incredible music to Rock Band, and worked with bands that I've either been fans of for a long time, or am now a fan of from working with their music.

    I know it can't be easy to hand the keys to the car to the uppity teenagers and hope we don't crash it into a lake while drunkingly texting, but I know I speak for every author still left standing that not only do we thank you for giving us this incredible opportunity and toolset to give as much joy to the community as we've gotten out of it, but we'll take good care of your baby while you're out making your mark in other areas of the world.

    And if it's a year or ten years from now we promise to keep the lights on for you until you pass this way again.
  • FujiSkunkFujiSkunk Headliner
    edited March 2013
    Free Spirit grows on me a little more every time I play one of their songs, and I never would have heard of them if it weren't for the RBN. And while I had already gotten hooked on the Apples in Stereo thanks to AllMusic.com spotlighting their video with Elijah Wood, getting to play their stuff in the game just made me love them even more. I'm still holding onto my hope for RB3 versions of their tunes.

    Happy Birthday, RBN! It's a pity the big labels didn't see more value than they did, but you can't blame the tool for that. The RBN, and the company behind it, are awesome.
  • BachiGBachiG Inconceivable...
    edited March 2013
    hmxhenry;4994210 said:

    The RBN unveiling panel at PAX 2009 was a huge highlight for me, just for the sheer anticipation of showing everyone the guts of this thing for the first time and waiting and watching and hoping that the song would go through as planned.

    LOL... I just read the prognosticator's (jjdude1) thread referred to at the end the PAX panel and it's both amazing and chilling how it's played out from then until now.
  • MarklefordMarkleford Opening Act
    edited March 2013
    The big story for us is that after the humble beginnings of having two RBN-launch tracks as a little duo-collaboration back in 2010 (as James William Roy), over the past year we've released a debut album as The James Rocket ("Launch") and are gigging around NYC as a live act in 2013.

    http://thejamesrocket.bandcamp.com/

    I suppose my other major RBN achievement for the year is that I haven't had to hardly do anything as a moderator: the community does pretty well in policing itself, maintaining standards, and is surprisingly civil about it! :) Three cheers for three years to HMXLachesis for much credit in that department, as well! ;)

    Here's to RBN: Long May She Reign!

    Hugs, kisses,
    - m
  • grace_pressuregrace_pressure Opening Act
    edited March 2013
    Happy birthday and thanks HMX! We'll keep tryin' to make you proud!
  • SideshowNSideshowN Rising Star
    edited March 2013
    The RBN is proof that just because you havnt heard the song on the radio doesnt mean its not good or fun to play. IMO the RBN is a large factor as to why Rock Band prevailed over those other music game competitors. Glad to see its lasted 3 years and all hopes that Microsoft allows it to last for a long time to come.
  • HMXMister_GameHMXMister_Game Harmonix Developer
    edited March 2013
    I started work on RBN on my first day at Harmonix, and it was an absolute blast. I got to talk to every different department at Harmonix and learn how DLC was made, how our games worked with the consoles, how we submitted DLC to Microsoft and Sony (and Nintendo...). And then I got to build it, and met a bunch of people who would become my good friends and co-workers.

    Later, through RBN I met Jonathan Coulton, and Miguel from Rock Gamer, and Ethical Paul and Markleford and Apples, and Darren from Furly (who later wrote the music to Bastion); and HMX friends who are now alumni, on to great things elsewhere: Jeremy and Caleb and Brakely, Dizzyboy (who was working as office help at HMX and got a job on our Audio QA deparment because of RBN).

    And of course Lachesis, who I think is perhaps the only person who embraced and loved RBN even more than me, and has such a passion for it that it wouldn't be the same without her.

    There were so many other people that showed up, I'm sure I'll forget someone and for that I'm sorry. Trust me when I say that the people I worked with, within and without Harmonix, were the highlight of my time on RBN. I love what I do now, but RBN is always going to be my baby.

    So thank you. Thank you all. YOU ALL did this, together. It's awesome. I am full of awe.
  • Lord_MhoramLord_Mhoram Road Warrior
    edited March 2013
    No specific stories but I have loved the stuff coming out of RBN since day one.

    I have downloaded and played ever single demo* to see if I wanted to get the song. Still do. A lot of bands I never heard of are now favorites. Every week. In the time RBN has been out, my RBN purchases have been about double what the regular DLC has been. It has been a fantastic avenue for discovering new bands, getting older favorites, and for music in general. Even with the regular DLC ending, RBN is still there, and I will be content.

    I guess I do have a story - it has become a weekend tradition that I download all the demos during the week, then the wife and I sit and I play the demo and we rate each one, and decide what to buy that week. I have a spreadsheet with a list of all the songs, and our ratings. So if I have lots of extra points, I can go back and buy the stuff that was good, but maybe not good enough for the amount of money that week. The wife and I really enjoy that.

    Bands discovered:
    Scratching the Itch
    Amberion Dawn
    Bang Camero
    Children of Nova
    Inkubus Succubus
    Parry Gripp
    Rose of Jericho
    Andromeda
    Christina Maria Magenta
    Fallen Angel
    Free Spirit
    Jukebox the Ghost
    Rhisloo
    Van Friscia
    Anarcy Club
    Halcyon Way
    Powerman 5000

    And that is just bands I bought 3 or more from - the fantastic and sometimes quirky singles like 50,000 Unstoppable Watts, Tadpole Search and Rescue and California have been great.

    Things I didn't expect to see in RB
    Jonathon Coulton (Volume of material)
    Buckner and Garcia
    Gov't Mule
    Highlord
    Ayreon
    The classical stuff

    * - to be honest I dislike Death Metal Growl, so if I see a song with devil heads on instruments but 0 or 1 on vocals, I just listen to the sample instead of play it. I hear grunt grunt, I delete the demo... but I do download every demo there. :D
  • nascargo19nascargo19 Road Warrior
    edited March 2013
    Well, I finally listened to Devin Townsend from the RBN. And his stuff is freakin awesome! Had to get that album on my iPod quick. Haven't found much else as good, but I'm definatley looking.

    Anyone got any more DT albums to recommend that I get on my iPod.
  • machetemonkeymachetemonkey Opening Act
    edited March 2013
    nascargo19;4994969 said:
    Well, I finally listened to Devin Townsend from the RBN. And his stuff is freakin awesome! Had to get that album on my iPod quick. Haven't found much else as good, but I'm definatley looking.

    Anyone got any more DT albums to recommend that I get on my iPod.

    Most of them are pretty good. I'm partial to Addicted!, personally. Also, check out Strapping Young Lad. It's DT's pre-solo-career band.
  • NightmareLyreNightmareLyre Rising Star
    edited March 2013
    nascargo19;4994969 said:
    Anyone got any more DT albums to recommend that I get on my iPod.

    I haven't listened to it in it's entirety yet because I am terrible at listening to full albums for some reason, but check out Infinity as the songs I have heard from it are amazing. Also Deconstruction is pretty awesome.
  • GameMaster439GameMaster439 Road Warrior
    edited March 2013
    I was really excited to hear about Steve Vai being on the RBN when it started when I was on the Wii and hoped that the Wii got his tracks and the Wii did get some and I bought them that instant. Now being a 360 player, it's even better because I can find the real hidden gems that most people will never buy.

    Artists Discovered:
    Devin Townsend
    Perfect Hero
    The Myriad Burial
    Children of Nova
    Parry Gripp
    Bankai
    Rainbowdragoneyes
    Chiodos

    and many more. Here's to hoping for MANY more tracks and many more awesome artists.
  • OsagaRockHeroOsagaRockHero Still Disappointed
    edited March 2013
    Thanks to the RBN I discovered Steam Powered Giraffe. They've quickly become one of my favourite groups of all time. Also, thanks to the RBN, I've been able to play some amazing songs like Blow at High Dough, Pac-Man Fever (the whole freakin' album), St. Elmo's Fire, as well as being able to sort of get Atomic and Bohemian Like You. Kind of sad that I missed out on KMDFM though :(

    Seriously though, keep up the great work! Long live the RBN!
  • CaptSlowCaptSlow Unsigned
    edited March 2013
    Yes, let's all celebrate 3 years of RBN! After all, us Wii users got 180 or so RBN songs before we were completely shut out of RBN for good. At least PS3 users got most RBN songs... well, until they completely shut them out of new RBN releases next month. So really this is about Xbox users celebrating. Except that even them are not in the mood for celebrating with the announcement of the death of the Rock Band franchise next month. It's hard to believe they can't make money producing weekly (or bi-weekly) DLC and follow that up by a prettier Rock Band 4 for the new consoles. I guess this really is it.
    All my future disposable income will be sent to Rocksmith. which is a shame.
  • queuemarkqueuemark Opening Act
    edited March 2013
    CaptSlow;4995173 said:
    Yes, let's all celebrate 3 years of RBN! After all, us Wii users got 180 or so RBN songs before we were completely shut out of RBN for good. At least PS3 users got most RBN songs... well, until they completely shut them out of new RBN releases next month. So really this is about Xbox users celebrating. Except that even them are not in the mood for celebrating with the announcement of the death of the Rock Band franchise next month. It's hard to believe they can't make money producing weekly (or bi-weekly) DLC and follow that up by a prettier Rock Band 4 for the new consoles. I guess this really is it.
    All my future disposable income will be sent to Rocksmith. which is a shame.

    Is it really hard to believe? Here's a thought -- take a look at where you ranked on the Wii leaderboards for the most recent DLC you purchased. I'll bet there are a few dozen scores, at most.

    I play pro guitar -- poorly. On the more recent tracks I've been showing ranked 30 -- thirty! And I'm generally near the bottom on the XBOX. There have been literally dozens of people buying the 1 dollar pro-upgrades that I and a couple classrooms worth of people around the world are buying.

    I realized months ago that Harmonix has essentially been subsidizing pro-players for some time. And chances are good that they were essentially doing the same with RBN on the Wii. If you really find it hard to believe, then you're living in a fantasy world.

    Anyway, you obviously want to gripe. And it does suck, but it isn't due to some desire to screw you or to throw away a chance to make money.
  • LoopyChewLoopyChew Wordsmith
    edited March 2013
    CaptSlow;4995173 said:
    Yes, let's all celebrate 3 years of RBN! After all, us Wii users got 180 or so RBN songs before we were completely shut out of RBN for good. At least PS3 users got most RBN songs... well, until they completely shut them out of new RBN releases next month. So really this is about Xbox users celebrating. Except that even them are not in the mood for celebrating with the announcement of the death of the Rock Band franchise next month. It's hard to believe they can't make money producing weekly (or bi-weekly) DLC and follow that up by a prettier Rock Band 4 for the new consoles. I guess this really is it.
    All my future disposable income will be sent to Rocksmith. which is a shame.

    Rocksmith has a Wii version?
  • grumblevolcanogrumblevolcano Headliner
    edited March 2013
    LoopyChew;4995385 said:
    Rocksmith has a Wii version?

    No, but it does have a PC version.
  • LoopyChewLoopyChew Wordsmith
    edited March 2013
    Anyway, back to the topic at hand: RBN was a concept that blew me off my feet when it was introduced, and I'm so happy it's lasted us this long. One hopes it manages to continue giving us content for time to come, even if unfortunately it's only coming to one platform in a month's time.

    Artists I've discovered through RBN:
    Dance for the Dying (so, SO happy for this)
    The Break Down
    Drugstore Fanatics
    Devin Townshend
    Fake Shark - Real Zombie!
  • FairwoodStudiosFairwoodStudios Road Warrior
    edited March 2013
    Honestly, there's only a hand's worth of bands I've authored for RBN that I didn't discover because of the Network. Seriously- The Virginmarys, Rockapella, dB soundworks, SoulEye. That's it. Every other band I've authored, I didn't know about outside of RBN. Some of them (Esprit D'Air, Giraffes? Giraffes!, Leche de Tigre) I hunted down specifically to fill a gap in the RBN catalog. But most of them came to us and I just got sold on them, either because they're good and interesting or they're so ridiculous I just couldn't not do it. (This was my actual reply to Man Parts' initial contact: "I gave the song a listen. It was the most ludicrous, amateur, and pointless recording I've heard in quite a long time. So obviously we're interested.")

    On the one hand, I guess it's pretty crazy to realize I've been working on this stuff, consistently, for three whole years. On the other hand, I look at the 81 in-house releases and 9 proxy releases from that timeframe and I'm like, how did we get all that done so quick? I mean, obviously I didn't author every part of every song on my own, but it's not like there was ever a big crew, so for all intents and purposes I've authored what amounts to a full Rock Band disc. ...And it would be the weirdest Rock Band disc ever. But for whatever bizarre reasons, people seem to like that disc from time to time, and I do really appreciate that.
  • HMXLachesisHMXLachesis Harmonix Alum
    edited March 2013
    My official, speaking-for-Harmonix retrospective on three years of the RBN is up at http://www.rockband.com/blog/celebrating-three-years-of-the-rock-band-network. This is the unofficial, speaking-for-myself retrospective on the same thing.

    When I first came on board at Harmonix, I was part of the playtest department and our next title in queue was The Beatles: Rock Band. When my gig there ended, I shifted over to Web QA, where we were making something called the UGC project. (We came up with the real name later.)

    Looking back, I remember how bewildered I was by everything at first. I was new to both web and QA, so I didn't know the procedures and I hadn't met any of the people yet. Furthermore, the proto-RBN was running on multiple servers, some of which were valid for testing one set of functions and some of which were valid for testing an entirely different set of functions. The reasons why were completely sensible in light of the complicated interface between the RBN and Microsoft's XNA system, but that didn't mean that I wasn't lost at the outset.

    But we were making the coolest thing ever. It would have been easy for Harmonix to hold the great big music doors tightly shut, but the folks on top had the idea instead that Rock Band could be open to every artist in the ever, and Nord guided that dancing spark of an idea into a brilliant, towering, bonfire. I loved that idea. I wanted everyone I knew to get involved, but I couldn't even talk about it. In light of the project's nature, we didn't even have standard playtests before the big reveal, so there were no sneak previews.

    It was a time before I'd met any of you.

    Sometime last year, I was explaining the RBN process to another HMXer in case I had to spend some time away. I was running down a list of possible reasons why someone would email for help when she raised a hand and said, "Okay, now do it again without the namedropping." I'd been citing an example from memory to go with each use case - things like the "28 Days" versioning bug that happened to FairwoodStudios or a certain authoring group's tendency to typo their own name in uploads. Not so easy when you're trying to absorb the facts and just the facts.

    But it's not so easy to divorce the facts and just the facts from the people involved. Harmonix and Microsoft made the infrastructure, but the community came from people - super talented people with a passion for Rock Band and for music. These are people who send not just support emails but quips on Twitter, who swap not just tips for smoother drum solos but Rock Band Blitz Score Wars challenges. (4 times through "2112", and still I lost!)

    How is it even possible that there was a time before I'd met any of you?

    Being part of the RBN has been a transformative experience. I didn't even like listening to new music before the RBN. Seriously and honest to goodness. I used to say that I had to know a song before I knew whether or not I liked it. But then I spent day after day, week after week, year after year, listening to everything on the Rock Band Network, and I learned to love music that I didn't know yet. I started looking forward to each morning because any morning might include my next favorite band.

    Today, there are 32 RBN artists represented in my iTunes folder - I think. It's hard for me to keep track, but I usually pick up an album whenever I realize I've listened to it enough times on the band's website. iTunes says my most-played song ever is "Shine" by Black Gold. I'm waiting with dancing impatience for the next Rose of Jericho album. I have two tickets to see Jukebox the Ghost later this month. I've swapped tweets with too many RBN artists to count, and I've met more of them than I can remember offhand.

    It's been magical. And the magic just keeps going as we enter year 4.

    In conclusion, thank you. To the RBN authors and playtesters. To the labels and artists who have submitted over two thousand songs through the RBN. To the wildly enthusiastic community of Xbox 360 RBN fans, who have purchased so many songs before they even hit the in-game store, and to the patient and passionate community of PS3 RBN fans, who have lobbied tirelessly for their favorite songs. To HMXJyllish, who first thought I might be a good fit for this project. To the development teams at Harmonix and Microsoft who made it all happen. To the live ops team at Harmonix, who supports me whenever it all stops happening. And of course to the OverNord, who trusted me with his magic baby.

    ---------------

    tl;dr: The RBN is awesome! Yay! Let's do this some more!
  • TheStuddzTheStuddz Lil Rascal
    edited March 2013
    Great read, Lachesis! But it reminded me that we don't yet have "Shine" by Black Gold, and that made me sad. :(
  • RhythmBastardRhythmBastard Unsigned
    edited March 2013
    I got into RBN authoring doing music for artists I liked, and after authoring their songs, and becoming invested in their work, they became artists I LOVED, especially after seeing how chill guys they were in person and seeing how hard they worked on every release.

    It was also an educational experience as well, since working on every aspect of the track lets you know how a song's different parts work together, and just how important a vocal melody is.

    The RBN also helped me make some good friends, and I hope to see some of you at PAX East!
  • FairwoodStudiosFairwoodStudios Road Warrior
    edited March 2013
    And if I could just point out a bit of why Lachesis has been so awesome as a guardian and guiding hand over the last few years:
    HMXLachesis;4995457 said:
    I'd been citing an example from memory to go with each use case - things like the "28 Days" versioning bug that happened to FairwoodStudios

    I completely forgot that ever happened. I genuinely had no idea what she were talking about there until I went back and searched the threads. And that situation was actually a bit of a big deal at the time, I believe. That either says something really unsettling about my memory, or something really endearing about her level of attention and interest in supporting all the authors and keeping RBN flowing so seamlessly.
  • HMXLachesisHMXLachesis Harmonix Alum
    edited March 2013
    TheStuddz;4995460 said:
    Great read, Lachesis! But it reminded me that we don't yet have "Shine" by Black Gold, and that made me sad. :(

    I'm sort of surprised by that stat myself - I thought it was going to be the actual Black Gold RBN song, "Plans & Reveries". I think my iTunes lost track of play counts in the last update, but I decided not to tweak it.
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