Warning: Parameter 1 to wp_default_scripts() expected to be a reference, value given in /home2/rba/public_html/wp-includes/plugin.php on line 601
Rock Band is an EXPENSIVE Hobby, but HOW Expensive?
Warning: Parameter 1 to wp_default_styles() expected to be a reference, value given in /home2/rba/public_html/wp-includes/plugin.php on line 601

Rock Band is an EXPENSIVE Hobby, but HOW Expensive?

This picture was taken over three years ago… I have more now.

Yesterday, I was approached with a question from Harmonix alumni @BritishPhill:

I’ve never tallied this number before, and to be honest, I’m kinda scared to find out. While I don’t buy ALL the DLC that comes out, I’ve invested quite a bit in duplicate (and sometimes high-end) peripherals and multiple DLC purchases (used to play on both PS3 AND Xbox 360). But I’m up to the challenge on this, and decided I would figure out how much some of the pure “Rock Band completionists” have spent if they have been around since Day 1 like myself.

Here is the list I prepared (and PLEASE, feel free to audit this list and let me know what updates are necessary so we can get the most accurate number as of 7/12/2012). This list assumes you play on the Xbox 360 (so Unplugged and the iPhone apps are not included), and have purchased all official accessories and DLC at full MSRP the day they were released, not including tax.


Rock Band bundle169.99
Rock Band 2 disc59.99
Rock Band 3 keyboard bundle129.99
Spare guitar49.99
Midi adapter39.99
Harmony microphone 119.99
Harmony microphone 219.99
LEGO Rock Band49.99
Green Day Rock Band59.99
Beatles Rock Band (disc only)59.99
Pro-Cymbals (with new drums)129.99
Stage Kit99.99
Spare (double) bass pedal24.99
TOTAL 1,344.85


DLC - Singles
Singles ($1.99)3821.99760.18
Singles ($.99)200.9919.80
Singles (FREE)6--
DLC - Packs
Three-packs ($5.49)1155.49631.35
Three-packs ($2.49)92.4922.41
Pro-Guitar/Bass upgrades1740.99172.26
RBN Singles ($2.99)22.995.98
RBN Singles ($1.99)10111.99 2,011.89
RBN Singles ($.99)8590.99850.41
RBN Singles (FREE)1--
Track Packs
AC/DC Live119.9919.99
Country Track Pack029.99-
Country Track Pack 2129.9929.99
Track Pack Vol. 1029.99-
Track Pack Vol. 2029.99-
Metal Track Pack029.99-
Classic Rock Track Pack029.99-
Rock Band 1 export14.994.99
Rock Band 2 export19.999.99
LEGO Rock Band export19.999.99
Green Day Rock Band export19.999.99
Beatles DLC
Beatles Rock Band DLC Single11.991.99
Abbey Road116.9916.99
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band113.4913.49
Rubber Soul117.9917.99
TOTAL 5,880.10



OHMYGOD… I need to sit down for a little bit…

BIG thanks to @BritishPhill for the question, as well as @bse523 and @kitlerc for running similar analyses. We used the following sources as reference:

51 Responses to “Rock Band is an EXPENSIVE Hobby, but HOW Expensive?”

  • Gladiatory2k says:

    Tack 300 bucks to that for my ion kit….still the best RB related purchase I have made….still its sheaper than some hobbies

    • Nick says:

      I just couldn’t bring myself to spend that much on an ION kit. It took me 3 years to finally get one- I got an ION set with 2 regular cymbals and the Roadie Upgrade kit (cymbal+kick) at a pawn shop for $125. Works great too.

      • gladiatory2k says:

        I burned through 2 kits and 4 pedals in no time at all, saw the durability of the ION as a plus, especially since the availability of new standard RB2 kits was severly lacking, I wanted something I could fix piece by piece. Only thing I have had to replace in 2 years of play was the orignal drum cable.

  • LCS says:

    Yea this was actually a bit of fun (I’m @bse523) to do. It just doesn’t seem like it adds up to that much does it? But once you number crunch, yea you need to sit down.

    But think about how much more there would be to add with the $300 Fenders if you got one, IONs, Rock/Destroyer Pedals, electronic drum kits…talk about an investment.

  • Nick says:

    I don’t even want to think about how much I’ve spent. I have around 850 songs right now available in RB3, and not including Beatles. And the instrument cost doesn’t even take into account say an ION drumset or replacement instruments when you burn out the ones you have, or the increase in cost for harder to find instruments now. Although it did include both a Squier and a Mustang.

    Very interesting

  • Dogmatic says:

    Still doesn’t beat all the crack and tacos I’ve purchased in my lifetime.

  • dc32 says:

    Like many other things though, patience is a virtue. I’ve picked up brand new copies of several of the DLC track packs anywhere between $2 to $5 bucks, AC/DC has been $5 at Wal-Mart forever, even Green Day, only a month or 2 ago I won an ebay auction for a brand new copy for $6, still had to pay the $10 for export but beats paying $60+. And though it’s not on the list, the wooden Fender Strat replica that was originally $300 was going for $60 on Amazon for a while. I just wish the had more sales on DLC like they were doing for a while on Xbox Live, seems to have stopped.

    • Jack says:

      I second that. I’ve bought some DLC on sale on Xbox Live and I’ve bought some track packs on sale as well.

      Anyway, in my case. Considering I have ~1000 songs (including the Beatles songs) I’d say I’ve spent… ~4K. Also considering all this money was spent during 4-5 years, it would be approx. 1K per year, 100 bucks a month.

      It’s a lot of money, sure, but I believe lots of people have hobbies where they spend 100 bucks a month. In my opinion, this is not a HUGE amount.

    • I agree. I obtained the Metal Track Pack for $5.

      • LCS says:

        We actually had a discussion about this and decided to use the MSRP given to the products for consistency’s sake. One place could have track packs for $5, another for $8, etc.

        • True… but one must keep in mind the difference between… “What I actually spent” vs. “What was the total MSRP of what I bought” to which would probably at a quick guestament somewhere about 80% for the average player… given between the casual player, vs. the cutting edge hard core gamer, vs. the bargain hunting but still serious gamer…

  • Dave_Th says:

    Money well waisted. If I had it all to do over I would not change a thing (well maybe a DLC or two less).

  • Shawn McHorse says:

    I’m sure I’ve spent close to $4k at this point on my pro drum kit (which started out like Ions but was quickly replaced and upgraded).

    • Sid Kafizz says:

      You aren’t the only one – the cost of current parts alone on my kit (I won’t count the long string of upgrades) is over $3k. For the all in cost, I could’ve just bought a Roland TD-12, but what I have now is better for Rock Band. With DLC and other controllers, I’m probably way past the $7,224 figure from the article.

      I’m lucky my wife hasn’t killed me.

  • Amanda says:

    Haha well I think the grand total needs to divided by the amount of years you have been playing….. puts things into perspective… I have over 700 dlc and rb1 rb2 and lego rb but been playing for over 3 years One of the cheaper hobbies out there lol

    • Croq says:

      Yeah, and the yearly cost has been going down for the most part this year. Most weeks this year have either been $5.49 or $5.97 (if singles only), and that’s assuming you bought them all…

  • Gozen says:

    I knew how expensive things could become. I had planned on downloading all DLC but decided to quit in early 2009 after downloading all DLC up to that point for the XBox 360 and realizing I would never play or appreciate all of it. Here is what I have bought over the year and the approximate price I spent on each item. I’m sure I’m off on quite a few of them.

    For the whole music game genre, here is what I purchased and approximate prices before taxes:
    Guitar Hero 1 bundle for PS2 – $70
    Guitar Hero 2 for PS2 – $50
    Guitar Hero: World Tour bundle (mic, guitar, drums) for X360 – $170
    Guitar Hero: World Tour for X360 – $60
    Guitar Hero: Smash Hits for X360 – $60
    Guitar Hero: Metallica for X360 – $60
    Guitar Hero 5 for X360 – $60
    Guitar Hero: Van Halen for X360 – free

    Rock Band 1 bundle for X360 – $170
    Rock Band 2 for X360 – $60
    Rock Band 3 with keyboard for X360 – $130
    Lego Rock Band for X360 – $60
    AC/DC track pack for X360 – $20
    Green Day: Rock Band for X360 – $70
    The Beatles: Rock Band – free

    Rock Band 2 wireless X360 guitar used – $40
    Mad Catz triple tree guitar stand – $30
    Mad Catz microphone stand – $20
    Rock Band Stage Kit – $60
    Rock Band 2 wireless X360 drums – $90
    Rock Band 2 triple cymbal pack – $40
    Drum Rocker kit – $300
    Drum Rocker extra cymbal – $50
    Extra kick pedal with double bass adapter – $30
    Fender Mustang pro guitar – $150
    Guitar Hero: World Tour guitar – $60
    Guitar Hero: World Tour drums – $70
    Guitar Hero: World Tour mic – $30
    Full metal replacement pedal for original RB1 drums: $30

    Lips with 2 wireless microphones for X360 – $50
    X360 120 GB HDD – $180?
    Lots of DLC and exports for both RB and GH: $???

    • RockBandAide says:

      Oh, my wallet. I didn’t even incorporate any Guitar Hero purchases, which I would assume are significant for most players who love the rhythm gaming genre.

      • LCS says:

        If we added GH to this, we’d probably hit the $10,000 mark.

      • Gozen says:

        Very true! The whole rhythm game craze pretty much started with me reading and watching previews for the original Guitar Hero in 2005 and becoming hooked.

        Over the past few years though, I have almost completely stopped playing rhythm games much like most of my friends have as well. Not sure why, but I think I just grew tired of everything. I did see and try Rocksmith at a friend’s house and was impressed but never purchased it.

        I still own all of the games and hardware I listed above but pretty much all of it collects dust these days. Just the other day, I actually disassembled my Ion Drum Rocker for the first time since assembling it in September 2008.

        I think the last DLC I actually purchased/downloaded was on July 5, 2011 with the SoaD songs. I do keep up each week though to see what is coming out for DLC.

        Even though I’ve never posted much here before, I do appreciate and enjoy the Rock Band Aide site and all of the work and updates on it! Thank you!

  • Korvac says:

    As expensive a hobby as RB is (after three games, multiple guitars, the Fender, etc), I haven’t spent that much on it in 2012 – half because my instruments haven’t broken recently, and half because there isn’t much DLC that interests me.

  • WAWA says:

    Does anyone know where I can get a replacement kick pedal for my Rock Band drum set? Mine has a hairline crack near the base and I’m still using it, but it is very weak and I don’t want to strain it so I miss double kicks frequently. I don’t want to pay $80 for one of amazon…

    Is there any store which stocks a Rock Band 3 pedal with the double bass adapter? Everywhere is sold out.

    • LCS says:

      I highly doubt it. You could try ebay or keep searching online. Or you can spend a very well worth it $90 and buy a rock pedal.

    • Nick says:

      This is why I decided to get an ION set recently. With craigslist/ebay the only way to get RB drum replacements reliably, and the price going up, I figured that in the long run the ION sets are more maintainable, even though the price is higher. I don’t regret it at all. I recently gave my RB3 set to my brother in law. He’ll break it in a few months (he broke 3 sets already), but oh well- I got that set for $5 on craigslist a year ago.

    • Spies says:

      Monoprice has new pedals for around $10. Can’t vouch for the quality as I have yet to see or use one myself. http://goo.gl/d7Dkg

  • LCS says:

    This talk of money almost makes me cringe in thinking what HMX could come up with for RB4.

    • RockBandAide says:

      It’s posts like this that hopefully communicate to Harmonix to approach a future Rock Band title that will include as much legacy content (software and hardware) as possible.

      • LCS says:

        I think they’ve done an excellent job with bringing legacy content over. I mean, I spent $80 on the keyboard when it came out and have played it maybe 5 times. I could’ve used that $80 for more DLC!

        But I think (hope) if RB4 ends up on the next Xbox, that something will go down to where it’ll still all export over.

  • HM says:

    Wii seems far less expensive in comparison. When the Keyboard was disappearing from stores, I saw it as low as $50 which is a shame since I payed ~$70 for it. Drums was also interesting. Got an old store discard that was factory defective. Payed $50 for it and fixed up the broken pad for a sweet deal.

    And I certainly have less DLC than the other platforms, apparently. I think I’ve only got about 160 songs, counting on-disc.

  • kitlerc says:

    Ok, I have one nitpick:
    The 3-packs of $1 songs don’t have a discount. They would be $2.99, not $2.49.

    • LCS says:

      We also forgot the $300 Fender Strat look-a-like.

      • RockBandAide says:

        I have trouble playing Rock Band without that thing, although I don’t expect most people to buy something like that to enjoy the game, so I left it out.

        • LCS says:

          Playing with that made guitar into a workout.

          But I’m going to try and keep this up to date every week or two.

        • Sid Kafizz says:

          I love the wooden strats, too. I’m no ace 5-button player, but the wood replicas help with the illusion. Can’t even play with the plastic controllers anymore.

          I just wish they had made a wooden bass guitar.

  • Croq says:

    I’ve thought about doing this too, and fortunately, equipment-wise, I’d probably be doing okay. My Ions and my Fender Squier and one of my two Fender full-size game controllers were all gifts over the years, so that’s like $850 (at the prices they were when they were bought) that I didn’t have to spend.

    I got some through the Pepsi promo a couple of years back too.

    I wish that the data at billing.microsoft.com was available for further back than just a year. Would make it much easier to figure out costs.

  • Davyinatoga says:

    I’m still not sure if this is more than what it would cost to purchase everything for Trainworks 2012 on Steam separately…

  • Kyle says:

    Well I calculated my rockband setup last winter and totaled 3000 and with the expansion of 400 dollars in new DLC since then so damn

  • RB Drummer says:

    I’m glad I snagged those 43 free DLC songs from the broken Pepsi Cap Code promotion. (every cap was a winner for the first few weeks.) That puts my total investment at (multi-thousands) minus $86. 🙂

  • Soliant says:

    I’ve gone as far as about $1500…I don’t think I regret it, but do wish some of my expenditure was cheaper…

  • Joe says:

    Pretty sure I’m spent in excess of £2500. About 1600 DLC, about 10 guitars, 4 drumkits including an ION kit, an Xbox 360S for the bugger hard drive solely for RB, countless sets of sticks, tons of pedals, Mustang Protar, Keyboard, so many mics (wireless and wired) and at least 3 capture cards, just for RB.
    And the biggest cost, my social life.

  • Robb says:

    Or you can just have an unblocked xbox 360 and have all the songs for free + customs you’ll never see in rock band and spent only on hardware. 😀

    • RockBandAide says:

      Probably not the smartest thing to publicly admit on a site that Harmonix reads regularly…

    • Nick says:

      It’s people like you who disgust me. Instead of supporting the artists and developers you apparently like, you steal from them, which doesn’t encourage them to bring more. Disgusting thief.

      • RockBandAide says:

        Don’t worry. Harmonix has a way of tracking these people down (especially when they volunteer all sorts of information publicly like this).

  • samjjones says:

    Yeah, but that’s $7K that you would’ve spent on booze.

    You’ve probably extended your life span by a few extra months by playing Rock Band.

  • Pood LeFache says:

    Probably $3.5K or so here. I have been hosting people on most Friday nights for a movie screening followed by Rock Band since 2009, so the library has seen a lot of use.

    I expect to use it for many years into the future, but I’ll be a sad panda when my Squier breaks.

  • johnmc says:

    In looking at this, and my own purchases, shouldn’t rockband TARGET the big spenders?
    The casual music/rhythm genera w/instruments is likely dead…go after the folks that want harmonix to “take my money”!

    On drums, I would like hi-hat charted. Additional cymbal charting (not sure exactly, but want to not hit yellow cymbal for a green/crash…)

    And pro guitar, maybe the rocksmith type integration so I can buy a better guitar and not use the Squire…

    More options in the game in general. I want to pre-select my own speeds for songs. On drums I play 1/2 of my collection hard-pro w/hyperspeed and 1/2 at expert/pro regular speed…Ideally I could set this up per song…I am never going to play some songs on expert…not fun, not interested 😉

    • RockBandAide says:

      One COULD make the argument that Harmonix should specifically target those NOT buying large amounts of DLC, as the people who DO buy DLC will buy it regardless of what comes out, and are essentially a “revenue guarantee,” unlike, say, Lady Gaga or (*shudder*) Justin Beiber fans that would buy Rock Band and DLC without hesitating just to have more swag with their name on it. I’m not entirely convinced that this is the way to operate, nor if the facts of actual DLC sales would support this. I’m just saying I could see how someone COULD make this argument.

  • Lindeman says:

    Bought my drumkit for 2000. Yaay

  • Chico76 says:

    I sat down and calculated this about 3 months ago, just out of sheer morbid curiosity. My RB collection alone – peripherals, games, DLC, etc – was well over $2,500. Add in another $1,000 for my GH stuff and rhythm gaming has been a pretty expensive hobby overall…

    Looking at “has it been worth it” is probably the more pertinent question. For the first year of RB, it was at least once-a-month 8-10 hours jam sessions at someone’s house, plus my own 15-20 hours per week. After we got online capability with RB2, my core group went to a weekly session (usually Wed nights) for 3-4 hours, plus an occasional Saturday all-day jam. I put in another 12-15 hours of my own starting with RB2, which hasn’t really abated at this point.

    So, all told… I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m at an average of just a few cents per play/song over the whole block of time. Yeah, it’s been well worth it… 🙂