Harmonix continues to be the true innovators in music games, and no more is this present than in their latest endeavor, the Rock Band Network. What is basically does is allow any band or publisher to put their own music in the game and make it available to consumers all over the world.

“Our goal with Rock Band has always been to go beyond making music
games and create a true music platform,” said Alex Rigopulos, CEO and
co-founder of Harmonix. “With the Rock Band Network, we’ve evolved the
platform to its next logical step, giving players access to an
incredible amount of new music by putting the professional tools we use
in the hands of the artists themselves.”

The Network will start off as an open beta in late August (in the U.S. only, apparently) and give you everything you need to turn songs into gameplay files. On Creators.RockBand.com you can submit tracks for peers review and for others to test them out. Anyone who wants them published will need a Microsoft XNA Creators Club membership, which is what you need to create Community Games as well.

If the tracks are approved, they’re be transferred to the Rock Band Network Store and appear on the marketplace. Rock Band gamers can check out samples of the songs before they pick them up, just like with the big artists. The artists can pick different price points for their tracks and will of course be compensated- how much of a cut you get isn’t clear, however. The songs will be available exclusively on Xbox 360 for 30 days, and if they do well will follow to the PS3 and Wii for download.

Is it safe to say the arms race is over? Rock Band‘s already got 750 downloadable tracks available and all Guitar Hero is doing is pushing out full-priced lackluster sequels. There’s no reason to be forced to switch games to play a song- Rock Band’s platform is unprecedented and is only getting better.

Check the site out for more info and a useful video narrated by always-awesome Sean from Harmonix.

Time to go bug a few friends of mine to get cracking on getting their songs in the game…