Electronic Arts has set an Aug. 22 release date for the video game "Madden NFL 2007," which the company is hoping will once again raise the profile for the artists on its in-game soundtrack.

Electronic Arts has set an Aug. 22 release date for the video game "Madden NFL 2007," which the company is hoping will once again raise the profile for the artists on its in-game soundtrack. Among the 36 acts contributing is the Panic Channel, which features three former members of Jane's Addiction.

"The past four years have seen a number of breakthroughs for new bands featured on 'Madden'," EA worldwide executive of music and music marketing Steve Schnur tells Billboard.com. "With more than 51 million 'Madden' games sold worldwide to date, that's a lot of exposure for a lot of artists."

In 2005 (for "Madden NFL 2006"), it was Avenged Sevenfold, Fall Out Boy and the All American Rejects; in 2004, Franz Ferdinand and the Hives; in 2003, Jet and Yellowcard; and in 2002, Good Charlotte and Seether.

To promote the new game, the Panic Channel will kick off a week-long concert series on ABC's "Late Night With Jimmy Kimmel" Aug. 21 with game track "Teahouse of the Spirits." Negotiations are underway to feature such other bands as Geffen's Rise Against ("Drones,") Interscope/Epic's Audioslave ("Revelations"), Aftermath's Bishop LaMont featuring Chevy Jones ("The Best"), Virgin's the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus ("In Fates Hands") and Epic's Cartel ("Say Anything (Else)").

Also in the works is a first-ever MTV special on the "Music in Madden" phenomenon that will air close to the game debut. Schnur notes, "It will focus on how we choose the bands and the post-game effect on their careers."

EA took the plunge in August 2004 with a first-ever game playlist for 11 of the 21 tracks on "Madden NFL 2005" as an iTunes exclusive. The top track, Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out," reached the top 10 on Billboard's Top Digital Tracks chart the following month.

More than 1,200 theaters will soon feature a "Madden" trailer with Taking Back Sunday's game track "Spin." And on the road, Schnur worked closely with Kevin Lyman on the Vans Warped Tour to help get such bands as Taking Back Sunday, Anti-Flag, Rise Against and the Red Jump Apparatus on the bill. "With bands from the game on tour all summer, 'Madden' will get a continuing boost with fans," Schnur says.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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