MTV strikes deal to use Beatles songs in video game

Thu Oct 30, 2008 1:17pm EDT
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By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK (Reuters) - MTV Networks announced on Thursday a deal to use songs by The Beatles in a custom video game similar to its popular "Rock Band" video, marking the groundbreaking band's first major plunge into digital music.

There is no set release date or sale price for the game, but it is due to be ready for a worldwide release in about a year, said MTV Networks and The Beatles' Apple, which handles the affairs of the group that broke up in 1970 after revolutionizing rock and roll in the 1960s.

The companies released few details about the game -- which will be a custom video and not a "Rock Band" brand game -- saying it is still in development. They would only say that it will be an "interactive music making game."

"Rock Band" -- which is developed by MTV's Harmonix and published by Electronic Arts Inc and competes against Activision Blizzard Inc's rival "Guitar Hero" video -- lets fans play plastic guitars along with music on TV screens.

Jeff Jones, chief executive of Apple Corps Ltd, said while he could not say how many songs would be used in the custom game, it would use music from throughout The Beatles' career.

"This game will take you on a journey from The Beatles first album 'Please, Please Me' all the way through the last album 'Abbey Road.' It will span samples of the whole catalog all the way through," Jones said.

The Beatles have sold more than 600 million albums worldwide. While "Abbey Road" was the last album they recorded together, "Let it Be" -- recorded before "Abbey Road" -- was the final album released.

MTV Networks, owned by Viacom Inc's, said the game was conceived creatively by former Beatles Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr and the wives of late Beatles John Lennon and George Harrison, Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison.   Continued...

<p>Michele Bessem from Holland wears a Beatles patch as she queues at the Royal Albert Hall in London for the George Harrison memorial concert, November 29, 2002. REUTERS/Peter Macdiarmid</p>