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.


One of my first musical memories is hearing Vincent Price’s creepy intro to Thriller echoing through my grandmother’s dining room. I distinctly recall crawling under the table across the room to seek solace from the huge, dusty console radio. I guess it freaked me out a little.

I, like so many kids my age, was also obsessed with dancing like Michael. And like so many other lanky, awkward kids, I thought I could. Or at least, I knew I might be able to, if I could only convince my mom to buy me that rad red leather jacket with all the zippers.

So thanks, Mr. Jackson. I never got the sweet jacket, but I have always and will always enjoy your music. I hope you’re creeping out Vincent Price right now, wherever you are.

The Fragmented Orchestra

This is one of the weirdest/coolest sounding events I’ve seen in a while:

The Fragmented Orchestra, winners of the PRS Foundation’s New Music Award 2008, presents 24 hours of music, neuroscience and performance at 24 sites across the UK. The London events include: 10am, at the Institute of Psychiatry, in Camberwell, a prerecorded debate on Music and the Mind is transmitted to the soundbox between (10 am-midday); Then, at the National Portrait Gallery (midday-1.30pm) the violinist Rolf Wilson plays excerpts from Bach’s Partita in E and Prokofiev’s unaccompanied Violin Sonata. Plus, the playwright/neurologist Paul Broks and actors present ‘The Fragmented Self’, exploring the human brain. The Stephen Lawrence Centre (Brookmill Rd, SE8, 1pm-2pm) hosts Howard Monk of The Local in an acoustic session featuring David Thomas Broughton and others. Followed (3pm-5pm) with an exmination of having a stroke, at the Rochelle School (Arnold Circus, E2). Including, Terry Riley’s ‘In C’ one of the paradigmatic pieces of contemporary classical music, and presented by South London Arts collective What They Could Do, They Did. St Andrew’s, Fulham Fields, the Stations of the Cross are walked liturgically between 6pm and 7pm with newly commissioned music and words of reflection. (See website for full details.)

Founding Floyd member Wright dies

Sad news:

Gilmour said: “He was such a lovely, gentle, genuine man and will be missed terribly by so many who loved him.”

Writing on his website, he added: “And that’s a lot of people. Did he not get the loudest, longest round of applause at the end of every show in 2006?”

Wright’s spokesman said in a statement: “The family of Richard Wright, founder member of Pink Floyd, announce with great sadness that Richard died today after a short struggle with cancer.