Ozone Entertainment Interview : RBN

Being huge fans of Rock Band 3 we managed to get ahold of the guys over at Ozone Entertainment to answer a few of our questions. Ozone Entertainment are big supporters of the Rock Band Network, the place where any band can upload their songs into Rock Band 3, supplying us with Blue (Da Ba Dee) by Eiffel 65 and a host of other great songs.

How Did Ozone Entertainment come about?
Ozone Entertainment began in 2004 as the parent company of Ozone Radio, a small Internet radio station. Music has always been the focus of the company, and it wasn’t until the Rock Band Network that we could expand upon it.

What does Ozone Entertainment do to get bands onto RBN?
We just ask them, then they say yes. Pretty simple!

How do you choose which bands to contact?
A lot of things go into picking artists to contact. First, the song has to be awesome to listen to – we refuse to put out songs that we don’t enjoy. Second, we also just listen to our iPods and YouTube for something to jump out as something we’d want to do. And third, and most important, we listen to our audience. We receive an endless amount of requests, and we always go listen to these artists and see what we can do.

I guess many bands don’t join RBN because of license and money issues. Do RBN tracks make a lot of money in your experience?
I’m not really allowed to talk about that, but to us it doesn’t matter. As long as people enjoy the game tracks we’re doing out job well.

What’s your biggest challenge getting bands to agree to be on RBN?
Getting them to talk to us! The music industry is full of big egos, and a lot of artists are too big to talk to us or they demand a lot of money upfront that we just don’t have. Luckily we’ve gotten to work with some great people and that’s exactly why we’re working with them.

We’d love to see Goldfinger, Bowling For Soup and U2. Any chance of getting them on board? What can fans do to help get them interested in RBN?
Oh man, I can’t avoid song requests anywhere, can I? I’d love all of them to be onboard. There’s always a chance, just continue to email/tweet/post on their Facebook that you want it and hopefully they’ll listen. Tossing them our contact info doesn’t hurt either.

How long does it take to get a song from an mp3 to actually being on sale in RBN? Any difficulties along the way?
We don’t use mp3s, since we need the ability to mute instruments when misplayed. We work with the original master recordings and create our own mix of songs. Songs usually take at least a month or two to be made, since after the first draft is done it goes through lots of playtesting. The biggest difficulties are doing Pro Keys and figuring out notes and chords by ear and doing drums when all I have to work with is a single stereo drum track. Some of the kick drum hits can be hard to distinguish.

How do you feel Rock Band as a platform is going? Has it got years of life left in it or are we now on a slow decline until Rock Band 4 is released?
I’m still a fan of Rock Band. Despite constantly working on the game, I find myself hanging with friends belting out songs and having a blast on a regular basis. Great music is timeless, and with new songs released every week I think Rock Band has a lot of life still in it.

You’ve been trying to get Crush 40 into RBN (They did the Sonic Adventure music) and have mentioned being very close at one point. What happened and is there still a chance to get them on RBN?
We were all set to go, then they decided to stop talking to us for no reason. After a year we got fed up with it and publicly lashed out at them. They didn’t seem to like that and our relationship broke off. They are still apparently interested in the RBN, but they just don’t seem to care enough to act on it. We’ve left the invitation open to apologize and work with us again, but honestly it doesn’t matter. Just as long as they get the songs out with someone so people stop nagging us, we’ll be happy.

Have you thought about trying to do video game music like the Halo Sound Track?
We have some video game music in negotiations. No details on what it is, but we think people will be pleasantly surprised if it works out.

RBN has some big name bands on it but they don’t feel as well promoted as they could be. Is that an issue you face and are there ways to fix it?
Our artists never have that issue. We heavily promote our artists and make sure they are treated the right way. We also do crazy promotional deals like contests and even releasing mashups of some of our RBN songs. That’s one reason artists gravitate toward us – we put a lot into our work, even long after the song’s released.

Is there any bands you’d do anything for just to get them onto RBN?
Lady Gaga (even though she already is in the game), Kylie Minogue, ABBA, and CAKE. If you can’t tell, I’m a huge dance music fan.

If you could implement one thing into Rock Band 4, what would it be?
The only thing I can think of is bringing back the battle modes. I always enjoy a good sing-off.

Anything you wish to promote or we should look out for in the near future?
Make sure to check out the entire “Pac-Man Fever” album, which is available now. I’d tell you about what we have in the works, but that would ruin the fun. Just keep an eye out for us doing crazy innovations and unexpected surprises in the near future.

Thanks to Owen at Ozone Entertainment for taking the time out to talk to us. Be sure to check their website and twitter for the latest news from them.