Even if you're not willing to spend 20-40 hours creating an original Rock Band song, the upcoming addition of the Rock Band Network to Rock Band 2 will prove to be a worthwhile experience for all fans of the franchise. A new patch will add the Rock Band Network Store to Rock Band 2 this November, and will grant PS3 and Xbox 360 owners access to a whole new catalog of music that goes well beyond the scope of official Rock Band Weekly releases.
To prepare for what could be an overwhelming amount of new content, the new store will offer an even more comprehensive sorting method. Options available in the front menu will grant easy access to the "Top 10," "Harmonix's Picks," "Random," and "Browse." Players will be able to browse music by artist (alphabetically), or by an expansive amount of sub-genres, as eclectic as speed metal and rockabilly.
None of the songs on the Rock Band Network will be free, ranging from $1 to $3 in price (set by the artist). However, players are encouraged to try out these user-provided songs through free demos. Every song on the Rock Band Network will offer a free demo lasting one minute or 35 percent of the song's length, whichever is shorter. The songs download to the system hard drive and can be played from the Quick Play menu as any other track. The song will abruptly end when the demo is over, and players will be given an option to quit, purchase the song, or delete it from the hard drive. Purchasing the song will grant immediate access to the full track; there's no need to re-download the entire song.
We love being able to try free demos, and we're certain that Rock Band Network will prove to be a new way for people to discover music. However, why keep this feature exclusive to user-created songs? We pressed Harmonix to confirm the expansion of a demo option into licensed DLC releases, but for now, there are no plans to transplant the demo experience into the full Rock Band Store. Boo.