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DragonForce’s Herman Li Reveals How Much They Were Paid To Have Their Song “Through The Fire And Flames” Featured In ‘Guitar Hero’


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A cultural phenomenon in their heyday, the ‘Guitar Hero‘ franchise of video games introduced generations of audiences to music they likely wouldn’t have heard elsewhere. While bands like Metallica, Van Halen & Aerosmith got their own entries in the series, they were also already cemented in their fame at the time.

Instead, it was younger bands and some classic tracks that got the most mileage out of the series. Undoubtedly though, the band to benefit the most from the exposure the series provided was the then relatively unknown power metal outfit DragonForce.

The group’s career certainly took off after their then two-year-old single “Through The Fire And Flames” was included in the 2007 video game ‘Guitar Hero III: Legends Of Rock‘. Thanks to its over-the-top virtuosity and imposing difficulty, the song quickly became the de facto measuring stick of skill in the ‘Guitar Hero‘ franchise.

Its breakout success in the game eventually buoyed the track to a gold certification by the RIAA in May of 2008. “Inhuman Rampage“, the album it spawned from, would go gold in July of 2017, while “Through The Fire And Flames” would later be certified platinum in May of 2019. As of press time, the song has racked up nearly 161 million streams on Spotify, while its official music video upload on YouTube has been viewed over 128 million times.

However, DragonForce were far from a household name when their track was licensed for the game. As such, according to the band’s guitarist Herman Li, they received a one-off $3,000 licensing fee to have their song featured. He commented of that via TikTok:

“How many millions of dollars did I get? Well, I’ll tell you this. ‘Guitar Hero‘ actually only paid a one-off fee—a one-off fee—to use the song. So I’m thinking a little less than $3,000. Maybe even less. I can’t remember, but lets split that between the band members, you gotta pay the manager, the record label, the accountant… whoever’s involved. It’s actually barely any money. I don’t even remember the amount I even cashed in on that one.

But what ‘Guitar Hero‘ did do for us and a lot of other bands was present guitar music to the world. At that time guitar music wasn’t really that popular. And letting the audience hear our music and decide if they like it or not was really special, because we definitely don’t play music that fits the radio.

You’re not gonna hear seven minutes of shredding melodic metal fast on the radio. So thank you ‘Guitar Hero‘ for helping musicians, guitar players around the world and gamers have an awesome time.”

@hermanli tens of dollars 💵 #throughthefireandflames #guitarhero #guitartok #musician #guitarist #guitarra #LaysGoldenDuet ♬ Through the Fire and Flames – Dragonforce

[via Metal Injection]

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