Many of you may be thinking something along the lines of "well this is stupid, I'll just download the songs I want from iTunes or BitTorrent" - well, you will be hard pushed to actually find what you're looking for...
Advertised throughout Liberty City, the cheekily-named "ZiT" technology is built into the game's mobile phone interface system. As players cruise around the world listening to the in-game radio, they can at any point 'mark' a song by opening their phone and dialing the number ZIT-555-0100. Gamers will then receive a text message with the song and artist names, and if they're registered at the forthcoming Rockstar Games Social Club community site, they'll find an e-mail waiting in their inbox with a direct link to a custom playlist on Amazon.com. All songs tagged "ZiT" will be stored here, available for preview and purchase at Amazon's going rate of $.89-$.99 per track. Best of all, those MP3s are free of the Digital Rights Management (DRM) limitations imposed on files downloaded through Apple's iTunes store and thus can be imported into any computer or digital device with no constraints.
So it's actually a pretty good deal, provided you live in America - you're getting DRM free songs, legally, for less than a dollar a piece - the fact it's all integrated into the game itself is excellent.
None of those tracks, however, are accessible outside the game, and that's where GTA IV's model really takes off. Rockstar has boldly proclaimed that GTA IV's soundtrack is "the biggest in the history of entertainment," and with over 200 tracks, we're not prone to argue. In addition to high-profile tunes from popular artists, the developers are aiming for music geeks by handpicking rare, hard-to-find songs such as Electrick Funk's 12-inch treasure "On A Journey" and Elton John's "Street Kids" off his relatively unheralded Rock of the Westies. Some artists have even contributed brand new songs written exclusively for the game, including "Vagabond (Liberty City Mix)" by the Greenskeepers and "War is Necessary" from iconic rapper Nas.
Thanks to Charger for this interesting piece.