EA gets into music downloads

Forget convergence in gadgets – Electronic Arts is melding together entire industries by making its gaming soundtracks available on download stores.

Forget convergence in gadgets – Electronic Arts is melding together entire industries by making its gaming soundtracks available on download stores.

It's teaming up with the Nettwerk Music Group to distribute its music to stores including iTunes, AOL Music, MSN, Yahoo and Real Networks' Rhapsody. The music tracks, which should be available by the end of the year, will take the format of MP3s and also ringtones.

Even more interesting is that only music specifically written for the games will be available – there'll be no pointless releases of already available material from bands like Green Day and The Hives, who appear on the Madden '05 game.

Instead, it'll be music unavailable elsewhere, and tracks tailored to specific games, which could throw up some intriguing material like the nine tracks on The Sims 2 (above), which were re-recorded by the Black Eyed Peas in the game's language 'Simlish'.

The company owns over 3,000 minutes of wholly-owned musical compositions, many of which were written by acclaimed composers such as Michael Giacchino and have been lauded as much as the games themselves.

It won't just be existing soundtracks either – there'll be pre-releases from games before they hit the shelves, and EA says music videos on iTunes are also a distinct possibility.

The new material will also complement EA's partnership with Cherry Lane Music Publishing known as Next Level Music, which acts as a record label by signing up artists and licensing its music.

Earlier this year EA stated its intention to be 'the biggest entertainment firm in the world', and the availability of its exclusive music certainly won't do its chances any harm.

It also echoes a more interesting development that we hinted at in our April  2005 opinion piece – gaming is increasingly becoming the new radio for musicians, and the multimedia slant of the next-gen consoles will only accelerate the process further.

If it means us gamers can get exposure to new bands while we're lining up the crosshairs on an alien's temple, and then download our favourite tracks, that's fine by us.

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