Licensed music vs Musicians? THE GREAT DEBATE!

Apprentice
Posts: 13
Joined: 2009.11
Post: #1
As a freelance musician I am always looking to get work from new game developers but am aware that lots of the smaller budget games often feature short licensed tracks due to the budget cost issues of drafting in a musician to write something specifically for a game.

I just wondered what people's thoughts are on this topic? Whats the best way for a freelance musician to approach a developer? Is it indeed worth our efforts? Any thoughts or insights into this from a developers perspective would be really appreciated. I understand that there are many factors involved in this but I think every freelance musician using this forum would be interested in what you have to say...
Ninja
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Apprentice
Posts: 6
Joined: 2009.11
Post: #2
Well, its the same for art assets as it is for music (although music and sound effects are less important, less visible and not as large as art requirements).
I have a budget X to spend on sound and music, and for me, it would be important to fit a custom made soundtrack into that budget, which is most of the time difficult.Although it is interesting for A to AA titles as well as AAA titles
to have a personal soundtrack, as it opens more possibilities for marketing and advertisement.
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Member
Posts: 40
Joined: 2010.03
Post: #3
Emmanuel, I have to admit surprise at your assumption that sound plays any less of an importance than art for the end user. When a player explores a game, there are three major components they interact with. First, they enjoy the mechanics and features of a game - the story, the puzzles, the unique hooks, etc. Second, they are immersed in the art - the styles, themes, colors, etc. Third, they are surrounded by the sounds and music of the game.

We can debate endlessly exactly which is slightly more important than the other, but you must agree they are all very major take-aways for the player. If any one of these parts are unappealing, they leave with a bad feeling of the game. Perhaps the game wasn't fun, the story and mechanics uninteresting. Perhaps they didn't connect with the particular art style or thought the world dull-colored and devoid of interesting sights. But if they hated the low quality music, the overbearing and unintelligent sound design (e.g. hearing an unpolished sound effect repeatedly) or worse recognized sounds and music from other games, they will equally walk away with the impression the game was sub-par.

I'm sorry to hear you find it difficult to find people who want to create high quality, original and intelligent sound design for a reasonable budget. Please remember however, that small budget should never mean low quality when it comes to indie games!
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