Opinion: Should Chris Brown’s music be removed from video games, too?

Written by stalkingsilence stalkingsilence-48
What should Sony do to avoid a PR crisis?
What could Sony do to avoid a PR crisis?

“You got Chris Brown in my SingStar!”  “You got my SingStar in Chris Brown!”  No matter how you look at it, controversial pop star Chris Brown will have at least two songs in the upcoming SingStar Pop Edition (PS3) – his solo hit “Without You” and his duet with Jordin Sparks “No Air” are on the game’s tracklist and will be included on the disc.  The game, sometimes referred to as SingStar Vol. 4 since it will be the fourth PS3 SingStar disc to come out in the UK, also includes the much-anticipated wireless microphones (wireless but still has a USB dongle for PS2-compatibility) and enhanced functionality to allow voice-controlled song selection.

SingStar Pop Vol. 2 (PS2) cover
SingStar Pop Vol. 2 (PS2)

The truth is, both Chris Brown (and Rihanna for that matter) have been featured in previous installments of the franchise.  Rihanna’s hit single “S.O.S.” was a favorite on SingStar Pop (PS2), released worldwide.  And we saw even more Rihanna in SingStar Pop Vol. 2 (PS2) with the song “Umbrella” – which has a great music video.  What about Chris Brown? It was SingStar R&B (PS2) released in the UK that included Chris Brown’s “Yo (Excuse Me Miss)” and separately featured Rihanna’s “We Ride.”  How many of Chris Brown’s songs are in the SingStore for PS3? To my knowledge, there are no songs from either artist available as DLC on the SingStore (for any region).

So what’s the problem? While the tracklist for the latest SingStar installment on PS3 is finalized for the SCEE region and the game is on schedule to launch in April 2009, I can’t help but think something should be done.  With many radio stations worldwide still refraining from playing Chris Brown’s songs, the “Got Milk” campaign and Wrigley’s dropping sponsorship, and other musicians backing out of planned duets – I’m not sure if many of us will want to sing alongside him in the game either.  The royalties for the game and how much money the artist sees per song download are unknown, but what is clear is that the SingStore is a viable source of income.  The Edge recently reported on Sony’s social success, with SingStar highlighted as the most successful franchise.  In fact, the article states that “the SingStore sells one track every 10 seconds” which equates to over 60,000 songs per week.  That’s a lotta guacamole.

My suggestion to Sony:

No need to put out a launch day patch or delay the game (a la LittleBigPlanet).   I would just ask that you don’t offer Chris Brown’s tracks as DLC on the SingStore for the foreseeable future.  And hey, while you’re at it, maybe throw a few Rihanna songs up there for those interested that haven’t picked up the legacy PS2 SingStar games.  Let’s close this issue out before the mainstream media has to ask the “Chris Brown in video games” question so that you can free up time to answer our other pressing SingStar questions.  Like, when can we expect trophies to be added?

PlayStation LifeStyle readers – what action, if any, do you think Sony should take on this issue?

Update: Microsoft’s Lips, their direct competitor to Sony’s SingStar, currently offers Chris Brown’s music.  Should Sony take a stance and be proactive, leaving Microsoft in the open on this one?