1. #41
    b_lex's Avatar Member
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    This was a fun read, thanks for giving us a look behind the scenes and taking the time to answer all those questions. Really enjoyed the song request facts.
    I still often wonder what song has been the most difficult for the note trackers? Were there any tracks that were a nightmare to transcribe?
    I also wish there was a way to see what I have already requested in the past, would help avoid repeats.
    Very impressed by the work of everybody at Rocksmith Ubi and also this forum community.
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  2. #42
    Excellent and informative. Thank you.
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  3. #43
    DanAmrich's Avatar Rocksmith Dev Team
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    Originally Posted by jellisjenius Go to original post
    I realize that note-tracking is time consuming and arduous, but has it ever been a show-stopper requiring you to ask for a different recording?
    Like, have we ever started a song and said "Oh man, this is too difficult, we can't do it, let's pick another?" Not to my knowledge. Our notetrackers are pros, yo. A call like that would be made before we asked for the license. But there's nothing that can't be played, you know?

    2) Regarding popularity metrics, is there a certain threshold you're looking for to consider a song? A lot of bands I really enjoy, and that would be perfect for RS in terms of techniques and interesting guitar/bass parts, are probably fringe-ish in terms of popularity by most measures. I've put in song requests anyway but I'm curious just what your team would define as "popular enough" for a song or band to be considered.
    There's no certain threshold for this. We've done some artists that are not getting massive airplay but are fundamentally interesting when played on guitar. Popularity of the songs factors in, but a smaller band isn't precluded from being in the game just because it's a small band. I discourage ballot-box stuffing, but certainly if an indie band is on the rise and we see multiple requests come in for it, that's noticed. But being fringe doesn't mean they wouldn't be considered. I've put in a few requests for small fringe bands myself.

    For the songs themselves, popularity is more about priority -- we say "we would like these songs first, but if we can't get all of those those, here are a few less recognizable songs but they're still lots of fun to play. Again I feel the need to cite Cake's "Stickshifts and Safetybelts" as an example of something that isn't really a song with a lot of airplay but was deemed worth doing just based on its content.

    3) In terms of licensing, how many shades of gray are there between "No, your game sucks" and "Here take all our songs"? Before your arrival as CM, those of us who followed RS depended heavily on Paul Cross tweets for hints at future DLC, and it seemed he would often say something like - we're hoping to get [the song/artist in question] later this year, just waiting for it to clear. That seemed to imply that the necessary parties were in favor of licensing the song(s) but it would just take time. Is that an accurate perception? About how many songs are in the pipeline somewhere between verbal assent and note tracking at any given time?
    Paul's tweets are still accurate -- there's a lot of "we asked, we wait" to the process. (Take a close look at the effects pedals on the infographic for a few in-jokes.) There are many shades of gray in those approvals -- for instance, sometimes an artist will clear one song but not another song, even if it's from the same album. You never know what that artist or license holder is thinking or dealing with on their end. But while there have been some solid "no" responses I can think of -- two and three times, even, since we do go back and ask again from time to time -- some of those "yes" responses are "yes, but...we're not in as much of a hurry as you might think."

    That's why we put the shortest/longest clearance time on the chart, and people here even said "Well, the longest clearance time is technically all the songs we currently have on request that haven't cleared but we hope will." I'm not sure what we're currently waiting on that might break this record, but the band that took more than a year between our request and their permission was, I think, 14 months. It's a very successful band that's still active, so maybe that approval was delayed due to recording and touring; maybe it got lost in red tape; maybe they just wanted to see what RS turned into before committing. We get what we can when we can, and try to plan the best mix based on the material that's cleared.

    The size of the notetracking team has fluctuated, but at any given time, we probably have seven or eight songs in active development. Obviously the more technical ones take more time to track, so your Wipe Outs are maybe less time-intensive than your Cliffs of Dovers, but each tracker is responsible for lead, rhythm, and bass within their assigned songs. Assignments happen when we have stuff in writing, and not just verbal agreements. We have an assignment board that shows what everybody's working with at any given time. I have a snapshot of the assignment board from April and surf rock, Godsmack, and next week's DLC are all on there, along with a few other things that are still brewing.

    So that means we're working on DLC about two or three months before it appears in the digital stores, and you can add an almost random number of months in front of that as we wait for clearances and agreements to be set.
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  4. #44
    DanAmrich's Avatar Rocksmith Dev Team
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    Originally Posted by jellisjenius Go to original post
    I realize that note-tracking is time consuming and arduous, but has it ever been a show-stopper requiring you to ask for a different recording?
    Like, have we ever started a song and said "Oh man, this is too difficult, we can't do it, let's pick another?" Not to my knowledge. Our notetrackers are pros, yo. A call like that would be made before we asked for the license. But there's nothing that can't be played, you know?

    2) Regarding popularity metrics, is there a certain threshold you're looking for to consider a song? A lot of bands I really enjoy, and that would be perfect for RS in terms of techniques and interesting guitar/bass parts, are probably fringe-ish in terms of popularity by most measures. I've put in song requests anyway but I'm curious just what your team would define as "popular enough" for a song or band to be considered.
    There's no certain threshold for this. We've done some artists that are not getting massive airplay but are fundamentally interesting when played on guitar. Popularity of the songs factors in, but a smaller band isn't precluded from being in the game just because it's a small band. I discourage ballot-box stuffing, but certainly if an indie band is on the rise and we see multiple requests come in for it, that's noticed. But being fringe doesn't mean they wouldn't be considered. I've put in a few requests for small fringe bands myself.

    For the songs themselves, popularity is more about priority -- we say "we would like these songs first, but if we can't get all of those those, here are a few less recognizable songs but they're still lots of fun to play. Again I feel the need to cite Cake's "Stickshifts and Safetybelts" as an example of something that isn't really a song with a lot of airplay but was deemed worth doing just based on its content.

    3) In terms of licensing, how many shades of gray are there between "No, your game sucks" and "Here take all our songs"? Before your arrival as CM, those of us who followed RS depended heavily on Paul Cross tweets for hints at future DLC, and it seemed he would often say something like - we're hoping to get [the song/artist in question] later this year, just waiting for it to clear. That seemed to imply that the necessary parties were in favor of licensing the song(s) but it would just take time. Is that an accurate perception? About how many songs are in the pipeline somewhere between verbal assent and note tracking at any given time?
    Paul's tweets are still accurate -- there's a lot of "we asked, we wait" to the process. (Take a close look at the effects pedals on the infographic for a few in-jokes.) There are many shades of gray in those approvals -- for instance, sometimes an artist will clear one song but not another song, even if it's from the same album. You never know what that artist or license holder is thinking or dealing with on their end. But while there have been some solid "no" responses I can think of -- two and three times, even, since we do go back and ask again from time to time -- some of those "yes" responses are "yes, but...we're not in as much of a hurry as you might think."

    That's why we put the shortest/longest clearance time on the chart, and people here even said "Well, the longest clearance time is technically all the songs we currently have on request that haven't cleared but we hope will." I'm not sure what we're currently waiting on that might break this record, but the band that took more than a year between our request and their permission was, I think, 14 months. It's a very successful band that's still active, so maybe that approval was delayed due to recording and touring; maybe it got lost in red tape; maybe they just wanted to see what RS turned into before committing. We get what we can when we can, and try to plan the best mix based on the material that's cleared.

    The size of the notetracking team has fluctuated, but at any given time, we probably have seven or eight songs in active development. Obviously the more technical ones take more time to track, so your Wipe Outs are maybe less time-intensive than your Cliffs of Dovers, but each tracker is responsible for lead, rhythm, and bass within their assigned songs. Assignments happen when we have stuff in writing, and not just verbal agreements. We have an assignment board that shows what everybody's working with at any given time. I have a snapshot of the assignment board from April and surf rock, Godsmack, and next week's DLC are all on there, along with a few other things that are still brewing.

    So that means we're working on DLC about two or three months before it appears in the digital stores, and you can add an almost random number of months in front of that as we wait for clearances and agreements to be set.
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  5. #45
    DanAmrich's Avatar Rocksmith Dev Team
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    Originally Posted by Master_Cylinder Go to original post
    Regarding licensing...

    What about public domain songs in general?

    I was just thinking about Robert Johnson; he died in 1932 (IIRC); would that make his music public domain and usable in game? I know he was acoustic but that doesn't mean his songs couldn't be played on an electric even if bass tracks had to be added. Do the acoustic only recordings make it a deal-breaker?

    I'm sure there are plenty of decent public domains songs that could be a fit for RS...
    Funny you mention Robert Johnson. As this article notes, his recordings are not public domain because they were published after the copyright act went into effect. Acoustic isn't really a dealbreaker -- the in-game tone creator can do a lot.

    The other thing to consider is that public domain tracks are license free...and recording-free! The holiday songs that were available for RS1 were original arrangements and had to be recorded specifically for the game, which is another expense of time and money. Super cool and a point of pride, for sure, but when one hurdle is removed, sometimes you find another has taken its place.
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  6. #46
    DanAmrich's Avatar Rocksmith Dev Team
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    Originally Posted by Master_Cylinder Go to original post
    Regarding licensing...

    What about public domain songs in general?

    I was just thinking about Robert Johnson; he died in 1932 (IIRC); would that make his music public domain and usable in game? I know he was acoustic but that doesn't mean his songs couldn't be played on an electric even if bass tracks had to be added. Do the acoustic only recordings make it a deal-breaker?

    I'm sure there are plenty of decent public domains songs that could be a fit for RS...
    Funny you mention Robert Johnson. As this article notes, his recordings are not public domain because they were published after the copyright act went into effect. Acoustic isn't really a dealbreaker -- the in-game tone creator can do a lot.

    The other thing to consider is that public domain tracks are license free...and recording-free! The holiday songs that were available for RS1 were original arrangements and had to be recorded specifically for the game, which is another expense of time and money. Super cool and a point of pride, for sure, but when one hurdle is removed, sometimes you find another has taken its place.
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  7. #47
    DanAmrich's Avatar Rocksmith Dev Team
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    Originally Posted by fatherrock Go to original post
    it would be nice if you offered additional singles from already released bands along with the usual DLC release
    This has been discussed. We're thinking.
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  8. #48
    DanAmrich's Avatar Rocksmith Dev Team
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    Originally Posted by fatherrock Go to original post
    it would be nice if you offered additional singles from already released bands along with the usual DLC release
    This has been discussed. We're thinking.
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  9. #49
    Ahhh...pre-1922, good info.
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  10. #50
    Kynlore's Avatar Senior Member
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    This is all great information!
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  11. #51
    Originally Posted by DanAmrich Go to original post
    There's no certain threshold for this. We've done some artists that are not getting massive airplay but are fundamentally interesting when played on guitar. Popularity of the songs factors in, but a smaller band isn't precluded from being in the game just because it's a small band. I discourage ballot-box stuffing, but certainly if an indie band is on the rise and we see multiple requests come in for it, that's noticed. But being fringe doesn't mean they wouldn't be considered. I've put in a few requests for small fringe bands myself.

    For the songs themselves, popularity is more about priority -- we say "we would like these songs first, but if we can't get all of those those, here are a few less recognizable songs but they're still lots of fun to play. Again I feel the need to cite Cake's "Stickshifts and Safetybelts" as an example of something that isn't really a song with a lot of airplay but was deemed worth doing just based on its content.
    Good to know, and I love that you have a team of "rebels" willing to think outside the popularity box. I was not familiar with "Stickshifts and Safetybelts" before buying the Cake pack, but it's great fun to play and I'm glad you included it.


    Originally Posted by DanAmrich Go to original post
    Paul's tweets are still accurate -- there's a lot of "we asked, we wait" to the process. (Take a close look at the effects pedals on the infographic for a few in-jokes.) There are many shades of gray in those approvals -- for instance, sometimes an artist will clear one song but not another song, even if it's from the same album. You never know what that artist or license holder is thinking or dealing with on their end. But while there have been some solid "no" responses I can think of -- two and three times, even, since we do go back and ask again from time to time -- some of those "yes" responses are "yes, but...we're not in as much of a hurry as you might think."

    That's why we put the shortest/longest clearance time on the chart, and people here even said "Well, the longest clearance time is technically all the songs we currently have on request that haven't cleared but we hope will." I'm not sure what we're currently waiting on that might break this record, but the band that took more than a year between our request and their permission was, I think, 14 months. It's a very successful band that's still active, so maybe that approval was delayed due to recording and touring; maybe it got lost in red tape; maybe they just wanted to see what RS turned into before committing. We get what we can when we can, and try to plan the best mix based on the material that's cleared.

    The size of the notetracking team has fluctuated, but at any given time, we probably have seven or eight songs in active development. Obviously the more technical ones take more time to track, so your Wipe Outs are maybe less time-intensive than your Cliffs of Dovers, but each tracker is responsible for lead, rhythm, and bass within their assigned songs. Assignments happen when we have stuff in writing, and not just verbal agreements. We have an assignment board that shows what everybody's working with at any given time. I have a snapshot of the assignment board from April and surf rock, Godsmack, and next week's DLC are all on there, along with a few other things that are still brewing.

    So that means we're working on DLC about two or three months before it appears in the digital stores, and you can add an almost random number of months in front of that as we wait for clearances and agreements to be set.
    This is all fascinating to me and sounds like an unpredictable but fun ride for you all. I appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions.
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  12. #52
    Are songs with profanity, like "Slayer - Criminally Insane" rejected based on that?
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  13. #53
    fatherrock's Avatar Senior Member
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    lol you should take a picture of the project board every month
    scramble it in your usual ways, post it and say.....go for it

    but give zero clues and no confirms

    watch the forum go nuts ;-p
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