The increasingly important role music plays in videogames was evident as at
last night’s Los Angeles premiere of Electronic Arts' Madden NFL 2008, one of this year’s most anticipated videogame releases.

The Microsoft co-hosted event at L.A.’s trendy Les Deux nightclub attracted celebrities, athletes and gaming enthusiasts to preview the 2008 edition of Madden, which hits stores Aug. 14.

As in year’s past, the upcoming Madden's 29-song catalogue features an impressive array of artists, including Ozzy Osbourne, Datarock, Pitbull, Queens of the Stone Age, Swizz Beatz, Daddy Yankee, the Bravery, Sum 41, Red1, Shadows Fall, the Used, and Timbaland.

Murs, a Los Angeles native and underground MC, whose music is also featured on the upcoming Madden soundtrack, noted that videogames have played an important role in getting his music into the hands of fans. "Everyone buys Madden -- everyone," he told Billboard.biz during the event. Along with the new Madden game, Murs’ music has appeared on EA's 2007 NBA Live game.

The music industry, anxious to fuel emerging revenue streams, has responded to the gaming world’s influence by providing developers with heavy incentives to use their tracks. Atreyu, Yellowcard, the Hives, and Murs have all committed previously unreleased tracks to the 2008 Madden game.

Raphi Lima, an EA music supervisor who helped develop the Madden soundtrack, said small and large acts are featured on the game to appease its large audience.

The NFL's finest also noted the role music plays in the overall gaming experience. "Its really important," said Kirk Morrison, a middle linebacker for the Oakland Raiders. "Some guys learn to play by listening to every sound. They sit there bobbing their heads, really into it."