GameCareerGuide has an interesting interview up with Steve Schnur, worldwide executive of music and marketing for Electronic Arts, on the interplay between games and pop music. Schnur contends that being part of a game soundtrack isn't just one more stop on an upward career trajectory, but can (and has) launched careers:
Epic Records credits Madden 2003 as being instrumental in the breaking of Good Charlotte. Avril Lavigne was first introduced to European audiences through FIFA 2003. Fabolous was first introduced in America via NBA Live, and went on to sell over 2 million albums here. JET got their American iPod commercial based on exposure in Madden 2004. Avenged Sevenfold were an unsigned act when we featured them in Madden 2004. In the weeks following the game's release, their independent album sold tens of thousands of copies without radio airplay, and they were signed to a major label soon after ...
He goes on to list a ton of other examples. It would seem that it's less about being on a video game soundtrack and more about being on a Madden soundtrack, but be that as it may - Schnur has an interesting perspective on one part of putting together great (and not-so-great) games.
Games That Launched the Band [GameCareerGuide]