Rock Band Network Is Live

By JoCo March 5, 2010

A while ago the fine folks at Harmonix contacted me about the Rock Band Network, a way for artists to independently get their music into the game. They’ve gone through a long process of working out the kinks, and yesterday the new store went live. I’ve currently got four songs in there: Code Monkey, Creepy Doll, The Future Soon, and Ikea (Still Alive, Skullcrusher Mountain, and RE: Your Brains were already in the regular Rock Band store). There are some more in the pipeline that should be ready in a couple of weeks, and I intend to add more as we go. For the first 30 days this will be exclusive to Xbox, but after that they’ll make select tracks available on the Playstation and the Wii.

And it’s not just me, there’s going to be a lot of great stuff in there. I’ll quote the press release, because I find it hilarious to read my name in this list:

There are currently more than 100 songs available for purchase in the Rock Band Network Music Store from artists including The Shins, The Hold Steady, The Main Drag, Bang Camaro, of Montreal, Jonathan Coulton, Skeleton Witch, 3 Inches of Blood, Lacuna Coil, Stroke 9, and Steve Vai*. There are more than 300 artists in the RBN pipeline, with additional tracks already on the way from Flight of the Conchords, The Smashing Pumpkins, Twin Atlantic, All That Remains, Clutch, Prong, The Gaslight Anthem and many more coming soon.

Right next to Skeleton Witch!

Anyway, enjoy. I’m really excited about it – yet another way for smaller fish to play in the big pond. Viva la revolucion!


Jonathan Chaffer says

Enjoy your money hat, pieced together 60 cents at a time!

ZapDevil says

Gah! I have to wait 30 days to get The Future Soon for the Wii! (grumble)

Any plans to put Better, Take Care of Me or I Feel Fantastic up there at some point? Oh man, the vocals for I Feel Fantastic would be incredibly difficult.

Anyway, really glad to hear there will be more stuff from you out there - my sons and I love playing Re: Your Brains (7 year old on vocals, 5 year old on drums, me on guitar :-)).

I'll just put April 5 on the calendar as a happy day...

Peter says

So excited! Any chance we'll see "Curl" or "Big Bad World One" anytime in the near future? Both of those would be awesomely fun songs for any Rock Band instrument - especially that killer keyboard (ahem, keyTAR) solo in "Curl"!

Jordan Hansen says

You should get I feel fantastic, Chiron beta prime, first of may (even if it is censored), and the rest of the EP in the store. Your songs are the best to sing and play guitar at the same time for. Love the songs you have up already too. :D

Cue says

Is the other stuff even available in the UK? I can't find RE: Your Brains (or indeed the PAX pack) at all. :(

Dan says

Yay! I'm downloading some as soon as I can!

Max says

Played Creepy Doll, The Future Soon and Ikea last night. Been waiting for this ever since I saw them demo The Future Soon during the RBN panel at PAX last year.

Sad that Code Monkey is giving me errors in the store right now. Makes me appreciate web marketplace even more.

For the people that have been asking about other songs, I've seen I Feel Fantastic, Big Bad World One, Mandelbrot Set and Shop Vac listed in various places around the web as coming in the future.

Jonathan says

I'm actually most impressed with the association with Steve Vai! You are now 2 degrees seperated from Whitesnake! Congrats Jonathan. This is awesome.

Darryl says

PLEASE tell me us PS3 folks will be seeing your songs! T'would be a crying shame otherwise!

Ginger Yellow says

Grrr. It's not working in the UK yet. Worst of all, I can get into the list of songs and see Code Monkey etc, it just crashes my game when I try to download them. So tantalising.

Max says

The problem with Code Monkey (among a few other non-JoCo songs) seems to be happening to everybody outside of the United States. I keep hoping to come across an Marketplace link that I can use to download it but no luck so far.

(If there's anyone in the US that has purchased Code Monkey and go into their download history and grab the link to the content on for us non-Americans who's in game store isn't working properly, that would be awesome).

Blue Canadian Skies says

Congratulations, Jonathan! That is very exciting news. :) I can't wait to try out these new songs on my Wii next month.

BStu says

As a Rock Band player, my gratitude for your participation. I've eagerly bought all 4 songs have enjoyed the heck out of each of them. Looking forward to more.

Nicole says

Okay, maybe it's just because it's 3AM and my brain's not fully functional, but I can't find where I can actually purchase these little nuggets of musical joy. HALP. I'm making angry Wookie noises.

Nicole says

Ugh, of course the last place I looked was actually in the damn game. DISREGARD! JOYOUS MUSICALS NUGGETS LOCATED AND DOWNLOADED! Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go channel my Wookie gargles into Code Monkey.

Code Wookie? Is that a thing?

Dan says

I'm confused, do I need Rock Band 2 to access the network? It doesn't show up when I start up Rock Band 1.

BrainWav says

Just chiming in to say, I've played Code Monkey probably a dozen times since I picked it up yesterday.
Any chance Mandelbrot Set will be coming to RBN?

keltraine says

As I said on Facebook, Mandelbrot set will just not be the same if it's censored for RB! Do you get to control how it's censored tho? Bad-azz frakkin' fractal could maybe work... :P

Foxlord says

Bought all of yer available songs today! Thank you so much for putting them up on RBN. I'd love to see: Betty and Me, Shop Vac, Dance Soterios Johnson Dance and Mandelbrot Set as well :) I look forward to yer next wave of awesomeness :)

Martin Tilsted says

Any hope for getting some songs for guitar hero(5).

I mostly play drums, and the drums in guitar hero are so much better then in rock band.

ZapDevil says

Hmmmm - I suspect a survey of which songs should be next for Rockbandinization would be popular here. There are many, many good choices and there is but one JoCo (as far as we know...).

That said, given the choice between Rock Band versions of songs we love, and NEW music which we will likely also love, I'm thinking I'd rather the energy be spent creating new musical wonders :-).

JoCo says

Sounds like everyone's enjoying the songs, which is great! I haven't played them myself yet. Thanks for all the feedback and continue to enjoy.

Couple of answers to a couple of FAQs:

I'm not entirely sure of the deal with other systems and other countries - the best source for answers to questions about that sort of thing would be the Harmonix people. But there's some info in this wikipedia article: As I understand it though, right now it's only Xbox, with select songs moving to other systems in a month.

I've alerted Harmonix to the problem with the Code Monkey download, and they in turn have alerted Microsoft, so we'll see what the deal is with that (I think maybe it's fixed? mixed reports). Keep in mind, I really just click the upload button, and then it's pretty much out of my hands.

I intend to keep putting songs in there as long as it makes sense to do so, but I am paying people to do the authoring for me and it takes time, so I'm picking and choosing based on which songs are most popular and which songs would be most fun to play in the game. It's a complicated algorithm there inside my head.

As far as I know, Guitar Hero doesn't have a way for musicians to put their stuff in the game directly. As Rock Band was until RBN, it's invitation only. So if you'd like my stuff in Guitar Hero, I'm not the person to ask about it.

Matt says

Been looking forward to the RBN launch for months now! I really like the variety offered, and of course more JoCo never hurts, lol. But a little constructive criticism if I may... I know by now that I'm in the minority with this type of thing, but I was really bummed when the chorus to Ikea hit and I was suddenly playing the synth part instead of guitar. It's jarring when there's a perfectly good guitar part going on, then the chart author decides to randomly sub in a different instrument just because it's "busier." I can almost kinda sorta see how it would make sense if there's a break in the guitar action (even though the bass and drum charts hardly ever get this kind of treatment — if there's nothing for them to play, they sit on their thumbs until their respective parts come back in). But it irks me when charters go in with the guitarist-must-be-kept-center-of-attention mentality. Again, I know I'm in the minority on this subject, but I thought I'd throw that out there.

That said, looking forward to more releases! I think Blue Sunny Day would be a great addition to RBN...just so long as the charter resists the urge to map the piano part to guitar chart for the whole 20 seconds the actual guitar is idle. >_>

MarsJenkar says

Sadly, I only have a Wii, so I'll have to wait until April to get to play these songs. Here's hoping they're among Rock Band's "selected" titles.

Atupo-Maruru says

Been hoping for Dance, Soterios Johnson, Dance for a time, that probably the most underrated song by Jonathan Coulton ever! Anyway, I'm having a great time singing all songs available right now, and The Future Soon is no doubt my favorite vocals song in Rock Band ever (and I probably have about 300 songs in RB).

I'm just hoping here too Mandelbrot Set, or First of May (if released) won't be censored. I can understand First of May, through, but it makes no sense to censor the expression in Mandelbrot Set. My prediction is that they will leave out "fucking", but leave in "bad-ass".

ajanata says

The game is rated T. You cannot have "fuck" or any variation thereof at all. "Ass" is ok when used infrequently (and two times in Mandelbrot Set would be infrequent). ( though they have taken that down now for some reason.)

As cool as it would be to have First of May, there's just no way it'll happen without a version that replaces all the "fucking"s with something else. :(

There are plenty of unofficial ways to find out what songs are in the pipeline; I'm not going to reveal anything because it isn't my place to do so.

Atupo-Maruru says

To me, it isn't that much of a problem. Bad-ass, as you said, I'm sure won't be censored, also because it's a so common harmless expression. What I'm worried about is mostly house the sound mix will sound when they cut out "fucking" in it, becuase it will in worst case interrupt the flow of the song with total silence in the vocals there.

Personally, I'm still going to sing as the original is, just sing louder at that word, like I do at "ass cracks" in Feel Good Inc. and "Like I don't give a fuck" in Top Back :D

Daniel says

I didn't dig through old posts, so this may have already been posted, but I just ran across a clip of JoCo being surprise attacked by a monkey, it was truly devastating.

Are you okay Jonathan? I have a feeling Paul and Storm were behind this clearly coordinated attack.

Zac says

Daniel, you would be correct about the source of that attack. It was from the short lived sitcom "Monkey Shines".

Rack says

I picked up Creepy doll and The Future Soon, and will get Code Monkey and Ikea when I pick up my next points card. I'm hoping for Todd the T1000 and Better next.

Dave says

I've been really fired up about RBN Since the panel at PAX 2009. Harmonix made a pretty convincing argument to drop any and all Guitar Hero love, and your appearence sweetned the deal.

Everything's working fine in the UK Store, as of Tuesday - I Borked my live profile twice trying to download Code Monkey before then.

Bought all your stuff, and will be supporting a lot of other people through RBN, too. Allready made some mental notes to check out some of the other songs and bands I've heard and liked...

Christian Snook says

HA! This is great! Now I have a good reason to buy Rock Band ;-)

Keep up the good work!!!

Brendan says

I'd love some insight into why Wii gets "selected" titles. I want to select all of them. "Someone is crazy" please.

Ed Marshall says

Am I the only one who instinctively went looking for the fine print after seeing the asterisk next to Steve Vai?

Dani in NC says

Just heard about this on Buzz Out Loud. My daughter would love to play "Code Monkey" on Rock Band! I can't wait until April when I can spring this on her (we have a Wii).

ajanata says

@Brendan: Probably because of the extra paperwork required to send the DLC to other consoles, and neither Nintendo nor Sony have anything analogous to Community Games.

M_pony says

A) this is awesome
B) Steve Vai plays guitar better than you, but I like your songs better than his.

Bob says

I must be getting old :-( because aside from Pumpkins, Conchords and Coulton, I've never heard of any of those bands. Most of the names sounded fake to me; I was half-expecting to see Mrs. Potato Dick.

Gina says

Went to buy the songs last night, tried Lego RB and RB One, and didn't see the songs. I know I'm lame to not have RB Two, I just haven't gotten it yet, but is it required to see and buy the songs?

JoCo says

@gina: yes, I think that RB2 is required. Also Xbox.

Gina says

Thanks Jonathan! I do have the Xbox 360.
I'm busy uploading videos from last Friday's show to youtube...

Sean Riley says

I know that everyone's making requests, but how about My Beige Bear? It's got good guitar, bass, and drums; besides which, I'd love to see some of your post-TAW work in there. :)

CaspianX says

I've never posted on this website before, but I thought I should chime in because Rock Band was largely what introduced me to JoCo to begin with (and to a lesser extent, Portal). Skullcrusher Mountain and Re: Your Brains are great fun at parties, and I'll definitely be snapping up Code Monkey, Ikea, Creepy Doll and The Future Soon once my next paycheck rolls in. I have to put another shout in for Better and I Feel Fantastic - these are definitely the two songs I'd most like to see added to the Rock Band list (well, also I Crush Everything, but you'd probably have to post that with no drum track).

I can't wait to see what else you have in store for us Rock Banders!

ADDrock says

now i have a reason to play rock band

Ron says one of the most enjoyable songs I've ever played, and by "played", I mean that I've pushed buttons on a fake guitar in time to the song. But man, that is some kind of fun...

I think that even now, most artists just don't get how the activity of pushing those buttons can connect us to their music in a way that 'simply' listening to it fails to accomplish. But JoCo, your success is already based on your vision in using non-traditional mediums to grow your fan base. So please continue to share your music on the RB network! As CaspianX suggests, all our RB parties will be even better and create even more fans!

And I'll add my vote to the tally for making I Feel Fantastic your next addition. I thought Skullcrusher Mountain was a challenge, but The Future Soon kicked my ass, so I can only imagine what I Feel Fantastic will do to me!

colin says

rock band just became my new favorite game

Patrick says

Was very happy to find this out. I haven't gotten Creepy Doll yet, but the others are fantastic. I'm hoping for "Big Bad World One" eventually, but right now I am quite pleased! Time for some songs I can do well on higher difficulty Vocals!
Now what I need to do is finally get to a show!

Brandon Mariner says

I haven't played Rock Band in a VERY long time, but I will dust it off just for you. Also, you need to come back to Maryland soon.... my wife even liked you. She liked Paul and Storm better, but she really did like you.

Bobby says

Shame they will be 360 exclusive, but I look forward to spend money buying them for my PS3 upon their release.