That being said, does one song played on a game convert into album sales? Or does it just add to singles sales? Personally I've never had the urge to go buy a cd due to a song I've played on Guitar Hero. Most of the music I own is from hearing it previously and knowing the band. That and NIN. But I could see how, if you start to really like one of the songs played by a band you know nothing about, you would want to go out and maybe see how the rest of their stuff sounds to you. And with the advent of the internet it's easier than ever to go check out a band's back catolog of music.
So what about the new band-sclusive Guitar Hero releases? According to Geoff Mayfield, who is some guy who is actually senior analyst and director of charts for Billboard magazine says that he "sees a direct cause-and-effect for some of the artists who have licensed their songs to "Guitar Hero." A few weeks ago, when the game featuring Aerosmith ['Guitar Hero: Aerosmith'] came out, there was more than a 40 percent increase in their catalog sales. I expect you'll see that again when Metallica gets the same kind of treatment in a few weeks.
That is a positive sign that video games can have an effect on things outside of their sphere of influence. However, this brings up something that I see as a negative, and that would be the greedy nature of human beings. As saturated as the guitar/band music genre is becoming, and as more and more bands see that they can make money off of it (btw Guitar Hero and Rock Band brought in more than $935 million in revenue last year alone), more and more single band games will be released. Maybe. Or, like we're about to see, there'll be more song overlaps in the games released. That just makes me lose my desire to buy the seperate games due to the fact I'd essentially be paying $120 to play more or less the "exclusive" songs per game. And on the single band releases, I'd be all for them except it gets to be overkill at a certain point, and what about bands who only have a handfull of good songs. There's got to be filler added at a certain point.
And what about real guitars? Will the fake plastic guitar ever become more popular than the real thing? No. No, not really. Personally I already played guitar prior to Guitar Hero coming out, but has anyone been affected so strongly by this game that they go out and learn the real thing? A lot of critics point out that if you're going to spend so much time playing something why not play the real thing, even though they're completely different beasts and the critics need to shut the hell up. But it really is something to think about, what if the next generation of rock stars started out playing along with digital representations of the bands and songs they love. Theatrics at least will be improved.
So is Guitar Hero saving rock'n'roll? Personally I don't think rock'n'roll needed saving to begin with, as there will always be someone out there who just wants to rock. But as a gateway to the past and future of the musical genre I think it's a pretty good indicator that rock will never die, and has some kick-ass stuff you never knew about.