SAN FRANCISCO It looks like MTV's "Rock Band" video game is the new jukebox hero.
Players of the rock music simulator have downloaded more than 2.5 million songs at about $2 each in the eight weeks since the game went on sale, MTV said on Thursday.
The numbers were well ahead of MTV's own expectations and underscored the potential of video games as a new source of revenue for a music industry grappling with falling CD sales.
"The music industry is in, how do we say, challenged times and we were testing the consumer's desire for more gameplay around popular music," Van Toffler, president of MTV Networks' Music, Logo and Films Group, said in an interview.
MTV said the most popular offering was a three-song pack of songs from heavy metal band Metallica, followed by bundles from The Police and Queens of the Stone Age.
The top-selling single was Foreigner's '80s anthem "Juke Box Hero" followed by Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son" and Weezer's "Buddy Holly".
In "Rock Band", gamers play along to songs with controllers shaped like a guitar, drum set, or microphone. The game is sold for about $170 for consoles such as Microsoft Corp's (MSFT.O) Xbox 360 and Sony Corp's (6758.T) PlayStation 3.
It competes with Activision Inc's (ATVI.O) popular "Guitar Hero" series, which also offers downloadable songs for about $2 each.
Before launching the game last November, MTV outlined an ambitious schedule of downloadable songs and said it would eventually sell full albums by acts such as classic British rockers The Who.
Toffler said MTV was still in "ongoing discussions" with The Who but had many requests by artists to offer their songs for download.
"The only obstacle is that you've got to get your drummer, your guitar player, your bass player and your singer to see the game. We've literally been traveling around the world to show the game to the individual band members," Toffler said.
MTV is a unit of Viacom VIAb.N.
(Reporting by Scott Hillis)