Music Licensing in Video Games

The following is a special guest post by David Small

Music Licensing in Video Games

A look at new ways to find suitable video game music

Regardless of the genre or gaming platform, there’s no denying that the video game industry is committed to providing increasingly immersive experiences to its sizable fan base. Besides the graphics and gameplay, the in-game music is a vital component to creating a deeply engrossing atmosphere that will engage the player’s attention. Fortunately, a growing number of indie musicians and even small record labels are willing to have their music licensed for video games at fairly competitive fees. Searching on popular online music outfits like iTunes, SoundCloud, or Spotify (and even a video sharing website like YouTube) will easily allow you to preview and choose from a diverse selection of music from hundreds of indie musicians.

Given the enhanced capabilities of the mobile Internet these days, brainstorming for specific songs and artists for a new video game has never been more convenient. The modern-day video game developer enjoys the tremendous privilege of looking for appropriate music at his/her own convenience. Of course, state-of-the-art mobile devices such as iPhones and Android phones have emerged as viable gaming platforms in their own right. 888 Holdings, parent company of the social entertainment hub Total Gold, asserts that the recent developments in the online gaming industry — AKA the integration of social networking to games — have led to the success of gaming operators. Such success is enjoyed not only by the people who make games, but also by the artists who compose music for them. The video game music industry has been labeled as “one of the most competitive industries in the world”, according to Garry Schyman, who is most well-known for his musical contributions to Irrational Games’ Bioshock series. Most recently, Schyman worked on the music for Monolith Games’ Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor.

Another way to meet up with video game music composers is to sign up for conventions like Game Music Connect in the UK or GameSoundCon in the US. The 2014 edition of Game Music Connect will happen on September 24 at the Purcell Room of London’s Southbank Center. Meanwhile, the 2014 GameSoundCon will be held at the Millenium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles on October 7 to 8. Both events are renowned for providing incredibly valuable insights to both amateur and veteran video game music composers. 

Author Bio:

David Small has been infatuated with video games ever since he can remember, and has been a regular on many video game forums over the last 15 years. After leaving a career in coding 10 years ago, David now works for a gaming developer and living the dream.

Dangerous Ideas

I’ve been reading Big Think for a while now, and it’s always pretty interesting. Perhaps their most thought-provoking articles are in the Dangerous Ideas series, which they describe as:

Brace yourself: these ideas may at first seem shocking or counter-intuitive—but they are worth our attention, even if we end up rejecting them.  Every idea in this blog is supported by contributions from leading experts, from the world’s top theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, to Nobel Prize-winning economist Gary Becker, to linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky.

It’s worth a look. Some are definitely better than others, and none really explore the issues in much depth, but in general they’re good to get you thinking or to start a conversation. A few of my favorites:

Upcoming FISA Bill Would Grant Telecoms Immunity

Slashdot | New FISA Bill Would Grant Telcoms Immunity; Vote Is Tomorrow


“This just in: a new ‘compromise’ FISA Bill PDF was just made public, which, the Electronic Frontier Foundation reports, ‘contains blanket immunity for telecoms that helped the NSA break the law and spy on millions of ordinary Americans.’ The House vote is tomorrow, June 20. After all the secret rooms and everything … if they get immunity and the public never finds out what happened, the only other logical next step is to convince everyone I know not to get an iPhone.”

It’ll be interesting to see how McCain and Obama vote. Oh, and if you believe in justice and/or freedom, it might be a good idea to pester your congressman.