The Rock Band Network has allowed small time and independent artists to bring their music to a large scale audience since March of last year, and since that time Rock Band itself has evolved with the release of Rock Band 3. To keep up with these changes, the Network will be officially upgrading from version 1 to version 2 on February 15, 2011.
What this means is that song creators who have music in progress for Rock Band Network must finish up by February 14, the day before the switch occurs. Rock Band Network 1 will be shut down that day, and when gamers rise the next morning they'll have a feisty Rock Band Network 2 to look at.
The only change on the gamer side of things is that Rock Band 3 will be required for any new content after the update, so if you're still slugging it out with Rock Band 2, it might be time to open the doors to the most recent world of music, keyboards and strings. If you've already got Rock Band 3, there will be no problem transitioning to the network, and its likely you won't even have to update your Rock Band game, as the network itself is a separate entity.
The big changes with this update are for the producers of the music, with a plethora of new programming and mixing options available. Magma, the program used by bands to audition for and submit to the Rock Band Network, will be releasing a new version on January 18th, whilst the 24th will see the release of a new Audition Mode to help with the process for new bands. Lastly, any bands who want their music to be available for those stuck using Rock Band Network 1 must have their songs complete by January 28th.
The dates posted can still be changed by Harmonix, but its likely they'll abide by their set terms since bands will be in a mad rush not to miss the deadlines. We can only hope any rushing doesn't degrade the quality of some tracks - and as we've seen with the Rock Band Network, some bands are capable of producing genuine studio quality, whereas others still have some grainy sounding music. That's why we preview songs, folks.
What do you think about the Rock Band Network update? Are you excited to see what the musicians can do with upgraded tools and integration? Do you feel that this makes a difference to you at all? Do you even use the Rock Band Network in general?