That's exactly what the conglomerate will start doing, executives say, with this fall's the Beatles:
As a story in today's Times explains, Viacom has guaranteed the various Beatles rights holders around $10 million and will likely dish out $40 million or more in rights payments.
Viacom bought Harmonix Music Systems, the developers of Rock Band games who originally created Guitar Hero, for $175 million in 2006.
But the conglomerate has a new approach to the Beatles:
By the fourth quarter, MTV Games General Manager Scott Guthrie told The Times, Viacom's video games operation should finally start making money.
To find out how, and just what's at stake in the Beatles Rock Band and the highly competitive music video games space this fall, read the story in today's Times.
-- Ben Fritz
Photo: Image from the Beatles: Rock Band. Credit: MTV Games.
On her new “I Look to You” album, Whitney Houston asks fans to "love me like I never left."
The lyric, from Houston’s duet with Akon, can resonate as both a request and plea -- especially from a singer who released her last studio album in 2002.
Released on Monday -- a day earlier than CD Tuesdays, to qualify it for a Grammy -- the album was well reviewed and topped both the Amazon and iTunes sales charts on day one.
Over the past two years, under the personal guidance of long-time Houston mentor and industry executive Clive Davis,
And while no plans have been announced for a tour, an extensive marketing campaign has been rolled out, including a Tuesday live appearance for Houston on “Good Morning America” Tuesday and an interview with Oprah on Sept. 14.
But it’s unlikely to recapture even a sliver of the glory days of Whitney’s 1985 debut, which sold over 13 million copies, or her soundtrack to “The Bodyguard,” which sold a blockbusting 44 million copies worldwide
One industry insider told TheWrap that he thinks Houston’s new album will continue having a great first week -- and then suffer a quick drop-off in sales.
“Whitney hasn’t been Whitney for a long time,” the industry insider said, noting that Houston's last studio album “Just Whitney,” has sold less than 750,000 copies in the U.S. since its release almost seven years ago.
“Things have changed,” says entertainment and music business lawyer Allen Lenard.
With sales of recorded music declining in the double digits year after year in the last decade, the digital revolution and consumer tastes shifting from albums to individual songs, the industry has seen expectations and profits fall.
Especially with comeback albums, it seems the days when groups like the Eagles could reunite and top the charts.
Released on November 23 2008, “Chinese Democracy” has sold barely 3.2 million copies worldwide, a far cry from the 28 million copies sold of GNR’s 1987 “Appetite for Destruction” debut.
The sputtering of singles by Mariah Carey, whose upcoming “Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel” album has been extensively underwritten by sponsorship deals her label organized,
And while not a comeback album, superstars U2’s “No Line On the Horizon” has sold less than a million copies since its release last year.
Indeed, releases from country ingénue Taylor Swift, whose 2008 “Fearless” has sold almost 4 million copies in the U.S. ,and Coldplay, whose Grammy wining “Vida la Vida,” which came out in November 2008 and has sold almost 8 million copies worldwide, are proving the exception to the superstar rule.
“In today’s market,” lawyer Lenard told TheWrap,
On “Salute,” the last song on “I Look to You, “Whitney Houston, sounding a lot like LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out” from 1990, sings “Don’t call it a comeback/No, I’ve been here for years.”
That just might be the superstar’s best and worst hope.