Gaming The Music Industry

Considering the nominal decline of CD sales worldwide, it is clear that musicians need to explore (and, if possible, invent) as many new avenues of self-promotion as possible. Whilst the Internet is perhaps the most obvious channel for such development, there are other areas that have a growing need for quality music, such as film, tv and various theatrical or multimedia projects.

Get Your Music In The Game

Of all the alternatives, the gaming industry is perhaps the most lucrative, with sales increasing at a remarkable rate on an ever-expanding variety of platforms. The potential of such an approach was realized by the band A7X, who featured on the soundtrack for Electronic Arts’ hit title “Need for Speed: Most Wanted“. This previously unknown act were subsequently given a conventional record deal by Warner Bros. For most new bands, however, the only payment they might get for appearing on a bestselling game is in terms of exposure – as illustrated by this quote from a Knight Ridder article.

“Xbox didn’t pay us,” says Eric Powers, 25-year-old drummer of the San Jose punk rock band, Sloe. “It’s a sticky situation. We’re happy to have music on there regardless of being unauthorized. It’s better than nothing.”

The unsigned contracts still lie on Powers’ desk. His band’s independent label, Sessions Records, traded exposure for music on two recent games: “Amped,” a snowboarding game, and “Transworld Surf,” a surfing game.

The prevalence and importance of music in computer games has created a number of new demand areas – the soundtrack for “NBA Live 2003” actually went platinum as a CD release, whilst millions of gamers are familiar with the works of such artists as Amon Tobin and Trent Reznor solely through their presence on popular game titles. According to EA, 87% of new games have enhanced sound systems, and 27% have full surround sound.

For some further investigation into this area, try this IAS category for Games Composers.


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