One of the questions we frequently get is “when will I be able to play Palette-Swap Ninja songs in Guitar Hero/Rock Band/Insert Music Videogame Franchise Here?”
The answer is both “never” and “now.” It’s never for the same reason that we do not charge for our songs: we only own partial copyright. The recording, the lyrics — those are definitely ours. However, the music/songwriting? Clearly the work of the original band. We pay a licensing fee for each song we record, but we do not have the rights to give our masters to the Rock Band Network or the Guitar Hero team and say “Thanks, have fun.” If we ever write an original song, then we’ll have the rights to do with it as we see fit, and we could approach the games about it. But until that time, the nature of what we do is derivative, and therefore we must respect the people who created the original works.
However…the answer is also now. All you need is a copy of the lyrics and you can sing whatever you like when you play the original songs by the original artists. So, here’s what we know is available so far:
ROCK BAND FRANCHISE
“Halo (All I Play-Oh”) – “Snow ((Hey-Oh))” by Red Hot Chili Peppers, as Rock Band DLC
“Vista Drivers” – “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor, on the Rock Band 2 disc
“Learn to Spell” – “Gives You Hell” by All-American Rejects, as Rock Band DLC
GUITAR HERO FRANCHISE
“Vista Drivers” – “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor, on the Guitar Hero World Tour disc
“Learn to Spell” – “Gives You Hell” by All-American Rejects, as Guitar Hero DLC
As long as you hit the right pitches, the games do not care what words you sing. Have a few drinks and try singing the words “fruitcake” and “pants” to every song; as long as you are still hitting the notes, you’ll do well.