1. Do you work for Harmonix?

No. Despite what some have said, we don’t get paid or compensated with free DLC (although we wouldn’t turn it down)! This site was created based upon our lack of ability to parse real news from rumors and speculation over on the RockBand.com forums. Just like nearly everyone else visiting the site, we’re fans just like you. We have become friends with a number of people at Harmonix through creating and running the site, but we have no connection to them at all.

2. Can you answer this question… ?

We get a lot of questions from the community, and for the most part they are pretty good questions. But there are a number of repeats that we see, and we can’t answer those because we just don’t have much more information than what is currently available. Despite what people think, we don’t get notified ahead of time of what’s coming to Rock Band. Here are a few of the questions we don’t (and won’t) ever have answers to:

  1. If a specific band/song (i.e. Muse) will be available as DLC.
  2. When a specific band/song (i.e. Muse) will be available as DLC.
  3. Why a specific band/song (i.e. Muse) isn’t available as DLC.
  4. When an announced song for the RBN will be released.
  5. If/when will a RBN song be available on the PS3.
  6. When/if the Beatles disc will ever be exportable.
  7. If more Beatles DLC is coming.
  8. If/when Guitar Hero exclusive artists (i.e. Metallica) will be released as DLC.

3. Can you do this for me… ?

Much like the questions above, we also get a lot of requests. We are close with a number of people at Harmonix, but we can’t force them to bend to our will, and as such we CAN’T help you with a few things, such as the following:

  1. Add a specific artist as DLC.
  2. Find out what DLC is coming before the official announcement.
  3. Having Harmonix change or add a feature in the game.
4. But seriously? Why isn’t (insert band name) in Rock Band yet?
You’re not giving up, huh? Well, it could be anyone of these reasons (borrowed from HMXHenry)…
  • Usable masters don’t exist
  • Usable masters exist but no one knows where they are or how they are sorted
  • Usable masters exist but bands / labels / management won’t give us access
  • Masters / licenses are owned by multiple parties who can’t agree on use
  • No one knows who actually owns the rights to music we request
  • Some artists simply aren’t interested in being in a music game (for now)
  • Some artists aren’t comfortable with digital distribution
  • Some artists deny our track requests and instead offer… less than exciting material
  • Some artists / labels hold off for future events (releases, tours, announcements, etc)
  • Some artists aren’t interested in DLC, only a fully dedicated band game

5. Harmonix and @RockBand seem to giveaway a lot of codes for DLC, but it almost always seems to be for the Xbox 360. Why doesn’t Harmonix love the PS3 and Wii?

The giveaway codes, when available, come from Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. If you don’t see codes from Sony and Nintendo, it’s not Harmonix’s fault, as they do solicit all of the three companies for codes (some people don’t believe me, so here’s confirmation straight from the horse’s mouth). If you don’t think Harmonix loves the PS3 or Wii, it’s more the other way around. Tell Sony and Nintendo to start making with the free codes!

6. OK, but I play on the Xbox 360, and I still can’t participate in contests because I don’t live in the United States? Double-you-tee-eff?

Hold up. Let’s put this in perspective a little bit. They are essentially giving away FREE products at their own expense to fans, yet people still complain about it? OK, let me see if I can explain it to calm those who think Harmonix are just being “douchebags.” (Yes, I’ve seen some call them that… and much worse, too.)

Under the laws of the US (where they operate), incorporated business entities are subject to both national and state laws subject to contests, which have the potential for legal requirements that vary greatly. For example, in Rhode Island, any prizes offered in excess of $500 must be preceded by a filed statement with the secretary of state ($150 fee required, as well), or the contest holder may be found guilty of a criminal misdemeanor. It takes time and effort (or more importantly, money) to research the requirements of contests in the US alone.

Based solely upon EA’s distribution issues of the games outside the US, it is safe to say that a LARGE majority of the user base / potential contest entrants will be in the US. The legal fees for the required research of international contest law would be much more than the payoff of the promotion, which is typically only a few bucks worth of free DLC. And what about hardware? What happens if say, the prize was lost in shipping? What court would the contest winner go to?

If you want more information on this, head on over to HowStuffWorks for a much more detailed explanation of why most contests from US retailers bar international entrants.

Oh, and a little birdy once told me that the codes (well, the Xbox 360 ones anyway) are redeemable worldwide. Not sure if Harmonix checks your country of origin prior to awarding the winners, but just thought I would throw that out there! 😉

7. How many of the songs in the Guitar Hero game are in Rock Band?

LOTS. Considering Rock Band now has over 3,000 songs, chances are good that your favorites from the Guitar Hero games are also in Rock Band. You can check out the songs from each Guitar Hero game belong in our ongoing “Setlist Checklist” feature:

8. What about other rhythm games?

We have you covered there, as well! Our Setlist Checklist feature also has articles on the following titles:

9. I see a lot of people post videos of themselves playing on YouTube. How do they do that?

The easiest way is to get a HD personal video recorder to capture what you do when you play. You hook it up to your console, plug it in to your PC and TV, and then record the audio and video coming out of your console. You can find some pretty dirt cheap hardware capture options to record your gaming, but to get a good quality HD capture, general consensus points to Hauppauge’s HD PVR. You’ll still be able to play AND record in HD, and then upload your accomplishments to YouTube relatively easily.

10. I’m new to the game. How can I get a lot of songs for not a lot of money?

To start, there are a total of five FREE songs that you can get:

Also, you can export tracks from the other Rock Band disc-based titles and track packs (The Beatles is the only exception). There is a very informative PDF document that Harmonix put together that shows what discs can be exported on what consoles. I highly recommend you check that out. With these tips, you could easily get your song count into a few hundred quickly, easily, and inexpensively!
Finally, because export of Rock Band 2 requires an unused code from a new copy, and the game is several years old at this point, people have had pretty good success at requesting a “replacement” code from EA here.

11. Why is DLC censored?

Good question. According to ESRB president Patricia Vance, “If a developer submits a game to us and it gets a teen rating and then wants to add downloadable content to that game in the future, which is obviously happening a lot today, they have to keep the content in the downloadable product consistent with the core rating. It can’t go out of bounds.” In other words, DLC can’t exceed the game’s ESRB rating. [Source]

I have never seen why this is a big issue, however. If you know that a naughty word is missing, just fill it in yourself. If you don’t know that a word has been removed, then you’re not missing anything anyway.

12. Is Harmonix planning on releasing more “RB3 Versions” of older DLC? 

Well, we haven’t had any official “RB3 Versions” of DLC in almost 10 months. Based on this alone, it’s pretty obvious that the community reaction to paying full price for RB3 Versions spoke pretty loudly to Harmonix. There’s a disconnect between everyone involved that needs to be reconciled, and I’m not sure that’s going to happen.

What many people forget is that the nature of re-creating “RB3 Versions” requires re-licensing, re-mixing, and re-producing old charts for existing instruments. Old charts can’t be directly recycled because the old mixes sometimes combined instruments (example: playing organ on guitar, which would now be switched to the keys peripheral for accuracy), as well as because the “new” chart methodology requires the blue and orange frets to be used in all difficulties, not just hard and expert charts, as in the past. Combine that with the new charts needing to be created for the new instruments, and it’s clear that making “RB3 Versions” of existing DLC is more than what some of the uninformed say is “just adding keys and harmonies.”

With no new (announced) Rock Band title to look forward to, DLC is the lifeblood of the franchise right now. As long as people buy it in quantities large enough for it to remain profitable for Harmonix, it will continue. They’re a business, and operating at a loss is not one of their interests. The cost to produce “RB3 Versions” is very comparable to producing regular DLC, and as such, they are going to price it the same. I’m not expecting everybody to LIKE this decision, and don’t get me wrong, on the surface it doesn’t appear right. But people have to understand where Harmonix is coming from, too.

Based on everything I’ve heard through “sources at Harmonix,” there had been plans to produce more “RB3 Versions” of DLC, but based on community outcry (and probably sales, as well), it looks like those plans were scaled back, and instead effort was put into producing DLC for songs that have never been on the platform. As with any sought-after band for DLC, never say never, but lower your expectations accordingly.

13. I’m on the Xbox 360, so why doesn’t Harmonix let me access the Rock Band Network where I live? 

The Rock Band Network is only possible through Microsoft’s XNA platform, which creates a marketplace for users to create, submit, and sell their own content. Because of this, the Rock Band Network is only available in countries where Microsoft has fully enabled XNA support. According to Microsoft’s XNA FAQ, full XNA support currently only exists for the following countries: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, Sweden, Singapore, and Spain. If Microsoft enables XNA support in additional countries, the Rock Band Network store will be fully available in those additional regions.

14. Why do you hate Muse?

I don’t hate Muse. (I do think they are very overrated, but that’s besides the point.) But with over 1,300 pages of comments requesting Muse DLC on the RockBand.com forums, I think Harmonix has received the message, and if there is anything they can do to get Muse DLC, they will. In the meantime, lets take a break from the whole “MOAR MUSE” thing, as it has gone on a little too long now.

15. Is there a limit to how many songs I can have in Rock Band?

Unfortunately, yes there is. (Per HMXHenry) Harmonix had originally intended to have a cutoff at 3,000 songs capable of being loaded into Rock Band 3. When you start up Rock Band 3, you notice that the game scans and loads your DLC library, which includes song audio previews, track information, menu and sorting options, album art and more. The more DLC you have, the longer it takes. While Harmonix was developing Rock Band 3, they noticed that a cache of greater than 3,000 songs started to lead to a few problems ranging from longer loading times to system crashes.

While you are allowed to have more than 3,000 songs on your hard drive, Harmonix recommends deleting songs you play less frequently, so you can enjoy the 3,000 other songs you play more often. And if you want to play them again, you can just download them again from your queue.

Also of note is that there are threads over on RockBand.com and Scorehero.com mentioning that a number of people hit the cutoff at 2,952. It appears that Harmonix is investigating this early cutoff amount now.

16. Would it be possible for Harmonix to release a patch that makes RB3 Pro-Guitar/Bass compatible with normal guitars, similar to how Rocksmith is planning?

HIGHLY doubtful. Rocksmith uses a method that Harmonix tried and abandoned during development of Rock Band 3 a few years ago, as told to me from HMX devs at E3 2010. (You can also check out this year’s GDC presentation that goes into further detail.

Rock Band 3 registers notes in the game based on where your fingers are placed on the custom instruments the instant a strum is detected, which virtually eliminates any lag. This is not how Rocksmith works. Rocksmith gives players the ability to use any guitar, which while in theory sounds great and “Why didn’t Harmonix do that?” that lag HAS to be reintroduced.

Each note played on a guitar has a different frequency, measured in hertz. Middle C, for example, is about 263 hertz, or 263 vibrations per second. For Rocksmith to work, it detects notes based upon the frequency of each plucked string. In order to make sure it registers the note correctly, it has to account for the lowest frequency possible on a guitar, which by definition is how long the lag will be. While the lag may only be a few tenths of a second, a lag like that in Rock Band wouldn’t be acceptable among the die-hard community, particularly when playing with other people.

The good thing about the way Rock Band 3’s Pro Guitar/Bass works is that it shows you on the screen where your fingers are, instead of having to look down, which is a feature that will be lacking in Rocksmith. The downside is that obviously Harmonix had to make their own custom instruments to get it working.

A few people have figured out a way to use their own instruments working in Rock Band 3, but it is a technical process that involves a few pricey electronics and is just not realistic for the average person.

From a purely technical “is it possible” standpoint, I believe it is, but Harmonix designed the game with a different set of inputs in mind. It would be like starting over on how Pro Guitar/Bass works, and I don’t think they would go back to the drawing board for this.

17. How do I get a picture next to my comments on the site?

If you don’t want that same generic icon to appear by your comment every time you leave us something, it’s actually a really easy fix. Simply go to Gravatar, which is a global avatar generator, meaning it will also work onTheHeroFeed and many of your other favorite sites, and create an account. From there, all you have to do is link whatever e-mail address(es) that you use to comment on our site to the picture you want to use. Then, whenever you leave a comment, your picture will appear next to your name. It should even change all your previous comments (given you used the same e-mail address)! We told you it was easy!

18. Do you delete comments?

Nope. We want our readers to comment on the articles. In fact, we read each and every comment you guys leave us, but if you find your comment isn’t showing up, there are a couple of scenarios that could have occurred relating to a violation of the comment guidelines below.

  1. The spam filter caught it. We try to check that every now and again, but just be aware that any comment with two or more links will automatically be viewed as spam. Contact us if you have a legit comment that is stuck in the filter.
  2. You posted a duplicate comment. We will delete the dupe.
  3. Your comment was obscene, vulgar, threatening, soliciting, racist, sexist, homophobic, or flame-baiting in nature. The easiest way to find out if your comment falls in to this category is whether or not you could get away with saying the same thing to your mom.
  4. Lastly, your comment may have strayed too far off topic. Look, we’re pretty lenient and we want our readers to get their voices heard, but if you’re commenting on how PC games are better than consoles, your comment will probably end up in the trash bin.

If you violate these rules too many times, we have no problem banning you until you can get along with the rest of civilized society. Have fun!

19. Hey, can I write a story for you guys?

Sure thing. RockBandAide was started as a fan-run news and community site for Rock Band by and for the fans. Let us know that you have something planned first (just to make sure it’s not already on the site), and we can definitely accommodate you! Hit us up on Twitter, Formspring or via the Contact Us page and we’ll figure something out!

19. Do you guys play other games aside from Rock Band?

Do we?! If you catch us on Xbox Live or Playstation Network, chances are we ARE playing something else. You’ll probably even catch us playing a Guitar Hero game! We’re equal opportunity gamers and we all have impressive game libraries full of hit titles to prove it.