When MTV bought Harmonix for $175 million last year, it was clear it would heavily promote the studio's first project with every arm of its media empire. When that project turned out to be Rock Band, a multi-instrument, karaoke-enhanced rhythm game, that became even more obvious. Then, when Viacom announced it planned to invest a half-billion dollars in its MTV Games unit, it appeared no expense would be spared on fine-tuning Rock Band's hype machine.
This week, in conjunction with the Summer Showcase of Rock Band's distributor, Electronic Arts, MTV Games announced the latest promotional offensive for the title. Like many actual rock bands before it, the game will embark on a cross-country bus tour. The orgy of synergy will begin at the MTV Video Music Awards in Las Vegas September 9, when several buses equipped with Rock Band demo stations will fan out across the country. Stops will include several college campuses.
MTV will also use the Rock Band bus tour to indulge in another rock-and-roll tradition, the battle of the bands. Every "band" that plays the game on the main stage will have their performance recorded, with the resulting video being sent back to the casting directors responsible for MTV's battery of reality shows. Of those, two groups will be flown to MTV's New York City headquarters to practice with an actual famous rock band before appearing on the network's popular TRL program. The winner of the two will then "open" for an unnamed top musical act by playing the game on stage during the Rock Band launch event/concert. Those who attend bus tour dates following Rock Band's still-unspecified "holiday" launch will obviously not be eligible.
Details about Rock Band bus tour venues can be found on the game's official Web site. A full list of dates is below.