Aerosmith 'earned more' from Guitar Hero than albums

Video game revenues made band richer than record sales, says Activision chief

Aerosmith's Steven Tyler performs on stage
(Image credit: Mark Davis/Getty Images)

The US band Aerosmith have made more money from the Guitar Hero video game than from album sales, the head electronic entertainment company Activision has claimed.

Bobby Kotick, CEO of the company behind the successful Call of Duty and Tony Hawk games, says that Guitar Hero exposed Aerosmith to a new generation of fans".

[Their] version of Guitar Hero generated far more in revenues than any Aerosmith album ever has," said Kotick. "Merchandising, concert sales, their ability to sign a new contract [have] all been unbelievably influenced by their participation in Guitar Hero".

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Games such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band 2 are also "reshaping the radio play" in the US, says PC Mag. "Between reviving old favourites, showcasing new songs, and earning bands money hand over fist, video games are clearly good for the music industry".

This should come as no surprise, says Gizmodo's Matt Novak. "Even back in the recording industry's most profitable days, bands were almost always making more money from live appearances, merchandise, and (if you go back far enough), selling sheet music".

Novak added: "From a business perspective, bands like Aerosmith have always been t-shirt salesmen more than record salesmen".

Other artists have found similar financial success through products other than straight record sales.

Over the course of their career, the American rock band The Ramones famously sold more t-shirts than albums. According to Nielsen SoundScan, the band's greatest hits album sold fewer than 40,000 units. In contrast, 1.5 million t-shirts have been sold since The Ramones broke up, Spin magazine notes.

Several months ago, Dr Dre became the "first hip hop billionaire" when he sold his Beats headphone and music streaming service for £1.8bn.

Other artists including Wu Tang Clan, P Diddy, Victoria Beckham and Pharrell Williams have also founded successful fashion labels.

"Licensing deals for everything [including] video games, movie soundtracks, and even roller coasters are where the real money is at" Novak concludes.

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