Rock Band: It’s Someone Else’s Problem Now, Baby!

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All of that plastic, faux-fretboarding, and virtual stage-play was supposed to transform the music industry forever.

But music gaming crashed somewhere between the Beatles edition and the banking crisis, and Viacom has been looking to dump Rock Band ever since.

And, that’s just what they did.  According to details confirmed Thursday, Viacom has shuttled Rock Band creator Harmonix Music Systems to investment firm Columbus Nova.  Never heard of Columbus?  Whatever, they’re the company that now owns Rock Band, okay?

Viacom didn’t disclose the terms of the deal, though this was becoming a boondoggle.  Analysts polled late Thursday by the Los Angeles Times estimated a sale price of lower than $100 million (probably far lower).  But $170 million was due at signing in 2007, with a reported bonus payout of $150 million to the founders.

Anyway, according to Viacom filings, Harmonix-related losses soiled the balance sheet by $316 million during the first nine months of 2010 alone.  All three Rock Band titles lost money following the Viacom acquisition.