Rock Band Network: You say you want a revolution...

Anyone who owns the rights to a song and has the master recordings in their possession can put a song up for sale in Rock Band. Starting this year, musicians will be able to chart their own songs in Rock Band and sell them to other players. (Read Harmonix's press release here.)

I'll give you a second to process that.

In my opinion, this is the biggest gaming news story of the year.

There's not much else that needs to be said, really, but I wanted to weigh in with this: With Rock Band Network, Rock Band has become the most significant gaming platform for user-generated creative content.

This glowing post might seem a little ironic, seeing as it follows my earlier (and final) pep talk I could muster for the Guitar Hero franchise. After all, GHTunes amounted to little more than a distraction with its frustrating sequencing mechanics and limited MIDI instrumentation.

What Harmonix is on the brink of creating is something as significant as Napster or iTunes were to music -- and to the music industry. With tools available to anyone with a hundred bucks to cover the XNA Creators Club fee and the ability to chart notes in a MIDI application, Rock Band Network is truly an open marketplace. And thanks to the buffer of a required peer-review process before songs are greenlit, bands of all genres and sizes can stand to benefit from intimate exposure thanks to the engaging, hands-on nature of Rock Band.

With this step, Rock Band truly has come into its own as a legitimate platform - just as it aspired to be from the beginning - and not just a game with a mere six hundred downloadable songs.