Electronic Arts Inc., the world's largest video game publisher, Tuesday said it signed a deal to create a music publishing company to acquire music for EA games and license EA's music out for other media like commercials and films.
The move was the most aggressive yet by a video game publisher to embrace the music industry. Soundtracks have become integral parts of big-budget games in recent years, while music labels have accepted those games as key places to promote new tracks by emerging and established artists.
EA joined with Cherry Lane Music Publishing to create Next Level Music LLC. Cherry Lane handles publishing for artists like the Black Eyed Peas, Elvis Presley, John Denver, and Papa Roach.
EA said Next Level would acquire publishing catalogs, sign new and established artists and produce original music, while Cherry Lane will be responsible for promoting EA's own existing catalog outside the gaming industry.
Also on Tuesday, EA said that for the first time a music artist would feature on the cover of one of its sports games.
Rap star Xzibit will appear on the cover of "NFL Street 2," set for release the day after Christmas. He appears as a character in the game and provides voice-overs.