— Harmonix, the MTV game development subsidiary responsible for the Rock Band franchise, has put in requests to license some very non-rock related music, sparking speculation the company may be expanding into hip-hop. The music licensing site Royalty Network listed four songs Harmonix wants to license: “Ante Up” by M.O.P; “Evacuate the Dancefloor” by Cascada; “Say Aah” by Trey Songz; “The Way I Are” by Timbaland featuring D.O.E. Representatives for Harmonix did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
So far, extending the popular music game category into hip-hop has proved challenging. Activision’s DJ Hero did relatively well financially, thanks to the expensive turntable controller that went along with it, but underwhelmed in overall units sold. Still that hasn’t kept the company from working on DJ Hero 2. Activision has not officially announced the new title, but it’s a well-known secret, and it’s the subject of another post at Royalty Network in which “I Will Be Here” by Tiesto, remixed by Benny Benassi, is listed as a request for the game.
— Joe Simpson, father and manager of pop stars Jessica and Ashlee Simpson, has teamed with veteran tween and teen series producer Tommy Lynch for a comedy series project set up at Nickelodeon. The untitled show will be loosely based on Simpson’s real-life experience as a psychologist raising two daughters in Texas. Following his daughters’ success, Simpson has segued into producing, shepherding Jessica and Ashlee’s TV projects and, most recently, the ABC drama series “Women’s Murder Club.”
— In Brazil, eight alleged unauthorized filesharing Web sites and blogs, were shut down by authorities. The raids eliminated more than 40,000 illegal tracks from the web, according to IFPI. The effort was done by IFPI’s Brazil office and the country’s Association of Anti-Piracy for Music and Film, APCM. The sites closed were dicamixx, magrelodownloads, downloadingnews, downclube, baixakigratis, jerrydownloads, nagamusica and musicanafaixa and were operated locally, with 90% of their users based in Brazil. All told, the sites had more than 870,000 unique visitors a month and offered links to downloads of new music from Brazil and other countries.
— Antony Bruno, Nellie Andreeva and Leila Cobo