I mentioned Rock Band in passing in yesterday's post, but I wanted to return to it for a quick second to make a point: Video games have become the primary way I discover new music. When I saw new, I don't mean the latest bands. It could just be new to me. Somewhat similar to Ta-Nehisi, I didn't grow up listening to a lot of classic rock. So, croaking my way through "Here Comes Your Man" was the lightning bolt that made me understand why people make such a fuss about the Pixies. This week, a few Otis Redding tracks will be hitting the Rock Band store for the first time. The King of Soul ain't getting burn on most terrestrial radio stations nowadays but a session in Rock Band could be the first time a grandchild really gets to dig the songcraft that makes ""Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song)" a great tune.*
What's even more promising is the Rock Band Network that Harmonix, developer of the Rock Band games, announced last year. This new initiative would let bands upload their own music to the game's store so that people could purchase and play it. Being able to leverage old masters like Redding and great unknowns who've yet to be signed just drives home the fact that--in an age where radio's power is much weaker than even ten years ago--Rock Band and similar games make for awesome music discovery engines.
*Of course, it's a travesty that "Try A Little Tenderness" isn't part of the pack of Redding tunes that are coming this week, but it'd take a lot of Jameson to try and get me to sing that song anyway.