Lil Wayne packaging CD with "Rapstar" video game

Tue Oct 12, 2010 2:45am EDT
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By Antony Bruno

DENVER (Billboard) - Everyone knows CD sales are down. The solution? Bundle it with a video game. That seems to be the trend these days, the latest example of it coming from Lil Wayne.

The rapper -- who on November 4 will complete an eight-month jail term for a weapons conviction -- has partnered with the makers of "DefJam Rapstar" and Best Buy to give away his latest album, "I Am Not a Human Being," to anyone buying the game.

There are limitations: The giveaway lasts from October 12 through October 19, and only in Best Buy locations.

The deal was struck between Rapstar creators Def Jam and 4mm Games, and Wayne's label Cash Money Records. Wayne's single "A Milli" is also featured in the game, which is a rap-centric karaoke game that lets users record and share video of themselves performing.

The news comes on the heels of a similar album-game bundle from Soundgarden. The reunited group is piggybacking on the newly released "Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock" video game, attaching a copy of the greatest hits retrospective "Telephantasm" to 1 million versions of the game.

That was a one-week exclusive made available to "Guitar Hero" fans a week before the album was otherwise available for sale. Soundgarden also provided an exclusive track to the game, "Black Rain," and the full "Telephantasm" track list is available in the game as downloadable content.

This practice of bundling albums with games inspired the Recording Industry Association of America to revise its rules on awarding Gold and Platinum status to albums. "Telephantasm," for instance, was given Platinum status as a result of the 1 million bundles, as the units were nonreturnable. However, since the product was scanned by retailers as a video game, sales were not able to be counted by SoundScan as an album purchase and therefore were not reflected on Billboard's charts.

So far, these experiments have been limited to music-focused games like "Guitar Hero" and "Rapstar." It will be interesting to see if recording artists start doing the same with other types of games that enjoy even more widespread popularity, such as the "Modern Warfare" franchise or other action-based titles.

<p>Lil' Wayne performs at the 52nd annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles in this January 31, 2010 file photo. REUTERS/Mike Blake</p>