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How much would you charge for gamemusic?


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#1 Chris Edberg

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Posted 26 October 2017 - 21:19

Instead of making a topic of this particular case of mine, we could aim for a general discussion. It may look like a survey though, but anyway.
 
The gamedeveloper is requesting 5 pieces / 2 minutes each, custom-made with the game in mind. But the price may of course differ depending on different type of deals, so - roughly - what would you charge with a fixed rate out from these three alternatives, where the completed music will...
  1. ... Partly belong to the developer, where you will get 0% of sales but 100% of royalties in all arrangements outside of the game itself (for instance Spotify-streams).
  2. ... Fully belong to the developer and you will get 0% of sales and 0% of royalties - no matter circumstances - during 7 years, before the rights of the music will be repossessed by you.
  3. ... Fully belong to the developer and you will get 0% of sales and 0% of royalties - no matter circumstances - for all time.

Moreover, if the price is a bit hard to set based only on this, we could include the following circumstances:

  • It's the developers first game, but experienced in related fields + you know him a bit since before.
  • You like the demo of the game, but the future success-rate is unknown. The developer might use the music again though, in future products during the timeframe of the deal (which differs depending on which of the 3 you choose).
  • The music requested happens to be your favourite genre, but you & the developer will work hard either way to get the details right (meaning a few revisions of each piece will probably take place).
  • Long deadline, so you could work with it now and then when you feel like it.
  • You will of course be credited, meaning exposure of your music in general (depending on the success of the game). Clockwise, the music itself will naturally be some kind of exposure to the game.

Any input, especially if you've done music to games previously, is appreciated!



#2 Garrett Wang

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Posted 27 October 2017 - 23:30

It seems to me that all of those choices are a way of saying nothing or zero.

 

"100% of royalties in all arrangements outside of the game itself (for instance Spotify-streams)"

 

100% of nothing is still nothing.

 

I'm interested to know how people who write for games can charge in one-off payments.

 

Per song, per minute or hours of work?

 

I think game developers will also expect computer musicians to have some knowledge of coding so that the music and SFX can change with the gameplay. For example, entering a new area, picking up a new item. I read somewhere that a guy was using Pure Data for this.



#3 EatMe

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Posted 28 October 2017 - 12:08

Basicly what you want is 10 minutes of audio (game music).

 

That goes for $500-$1000 on the market, with plenty of examplary 5 minute country songs made for customers being provided starting at a $250 budget range.

 

When you need 10 hours of work for each song of 2 minutes, that would mean payment of between $10-$20 per hour, depending on that $500-$1000 price.

 

You would also need to have the equipment already available, and these are not represented in the costs. Also, any extra people needed for instrumental or vocal or remastering parts would add up to the final bill.

 

For overnight success, make sure you use a workflow you are familiar with, and limit yourself to a few characteristical stylistic choices.

 

Musicians mostly are unable to make a sustainable income out of music only, and do not make a fortune when they do make money out of music.

Make sure you enjoy your work as musician. Don't do it for the business side of the deal only. See it as an investment in your career, knowledge and good times.

 

edit: if you think you still want to make money yourself from the final delivered music product, you can always sign a "non-exclusive" deal.

 

Turning out even on spotify requires a lot of listeners you will be unable to make without a lot of promotion (costs) and/or a big label with a lot of fans supporting multiple artists on the label already.


Edited by EatMe, 28 October 2017 - 12:25.

* website: eatme.pro
* discography: eatme.pro/music
* all Renoise projectseatme.pro/music/projects
* soundcloud: /eatme 
* some samples: this free breakbeat and another free breakbeat 
* more infoeatme.pro/about - please mention www.eatme.pro with a broadcast or share

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#4 TheBellows

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Posted 29 October 2017 - 12:02

I'd say it depends on how good it is. I mean if you made an iconic tune like Super Mario bros or something, you probably would like to protect it.

 

I'd give it away for free, but only for use in this specified version of the game and promotions for it. Not for use in any sequels or any other game or context and that includes the audio itself and its melodic arrangements.

This way, if the game and iconic tune becomes a success they are obviously going to make a sequel and they most likely want to re use that tune. Now you're in the position to make a much better deal. ;)


 

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#5 Chris Edberg

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Posted 29 October 2017 - 19:48

It seems to me that all of those choices are a way of saying nothing or zero.

 

"100% of royalties in all arrangements outside of the game itself (for instance Spotify-streams)"

 

100% of nothing is still nothing.

 

I'm interested to know how people who write for games can charge in one-off payments.

 

Per song, per minute or hours of work?

 

I think game developers will also expect computer musicians to have some knowledge of coding so that the music and SFX can change with the gameplay. For example, entering a new area, picking up a new item. I read somewhere that a guy was using Pure Data for this.

 

Although if incomes turns out “zero”, at least the percent of each circumstance is specified in the deal. What the outcome of the game and/or the music will turn out in reality is unknown, and therefor beside the point. Or what do you mean? :)
 
As for your questions, yes, the deal can specify whatever. In this case the working hours are irrelevant, as long as the final products are delivered and approved.
 
Regarding the sound effects, correct again, we were talking about some assistance in that department as well. For example, some SFX can theoretically be musical notes so either the music has to be adjusted to that or vice versa. And so on…

 

 

Basicly what you want is 10 minutes of audio (game music).

 

That goes for $500-$1000 on the market, with plenty of examplary 5 minute country songs made for customers being provided starting at a $250 budget range.

 

When you need 10 hours of work for each song of 2 minutes, that would mean payment of between $10-$20 per hour, depending on that $500-$1000 price.

 

You would also need to have the equipment already available, and these are not represented in the costs. Also, any extra people needed for instrumental or vocal or remastering parts would add up to the final bill.

 

For overnight success, make sure you use a workflow you are familiar with, and limit yourself to a few characteristical stylistic choices.

 

Musicians mostly are unable to make a sustainable income out of music only, and do not make a fortune when they do make money out of music.

Make sure you enjoy your work as musician. Don't do it for the business side of the deal only. See it as an investment in your career, knowledge and good times.

 

edit: if you think you still want to make money yourself from the final delivered music product, you can always sign a "non-exclusive" deal.

 

Turning out even on spotify requires a lot of listeners you will be unable to make without a lot of promotion (costs) and/or a big label with a lot of fans supporting multiple artists on the label already.

 

Thanks for your input and some good points there. Still, I think the current stage of the negotiation-process covers all this.

 

As for exclusive or non-exclusive this is probably something in between. I would never sell the music to another party without the developer in question to take apart of such a request. In the meantime, the basic rights belong to me while he can earn as much as he wants from his own products using these pieces during a timeframe of 7 years.

 

So were this arrangement is heading is a mixture of 1) and 2). I keep all the basic rights and he will collect all the gamesales, and potentially use the music during 7 years.

 

I'd say it depends on how good it is. I mean if you made an iconic tune like Super Mario bros or something, you probably would like to protect it.

 

I'd give it away for free, but only for use in this specified version of the game and promotions for it. Not for use in any sequels or any other game or context and that includes the audio itself and its melodic arrangements.

This way, if the game and iconic tune becomes a success they are obviously going to make a sequel and they most likely want to re use that tune. Now you're in the position to make a much better deal. ;)

 

Super Mario Bros kinda hit; I suppose that’s why a deal is always prepared beforehand. Also, for him to avoid a new position of a potential hit with planned sequels / new projects, that’s why he want a long timeframe to use the music without additional payments. But yes, an eventual “remix” of a main-theme in a sequel would mean a new deal but that’s another story. The recordings belong to him, the music / compositions (basic rights) still belong to me.
 
Free? Interesting.
In this particular case, I’ve offered around 100$ for each 2 minute piece.
An “opposite-opinion” (from yours) at Gearslutz thought another zero is justified to that considering the workload to expect in worst-case for this project. 
Still, there are mitigating factors and maybe a middle-way (between ‘free’ and ‘too business alike’) is the best. Which is also what I’ve already offered.
 
Either way, I hope the game will sell a lot no matter what this deal will look like.

Edited by Chris Edberg, 29 October 2017 - 20:07.


#6 TheBellows

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Posted 30 October 2017 - 17:41

 

Super Mario Bros kinda hit; I suppose that’s why a deal is always prepared beforehand. Also, for him to avoid a new position of a potential hit with planned sequels / new projects, that’s why he want a long timeframe to use the music without additional payments. But yes, an eventual “remix” of a main-theme in a sequel would mean a new deal but that’s another story. The recordings belong to him, the music / compositions (basic rights) still belong to me.
 
Free? Interesting.
In this particular case, I’ve offered around 100$ for each 2 minute piece.
An “opposite-opinion” (from yours) at Gearslutz thought another zero is justified to that considering the workload to expect in worst-case for this project. 
Still, there are mitigating factors and maybe a middle-way (between ‘free’ and ‘too business alike’) is the best. Which is also what I’ve already offered.
 
Either way, I hope the game will sell a lot no matter what this deal will look like.

 

I'd say my deal would be more risky, you might not make a dime, but either way $100 isn't that much and you would probably regret that if the game sold like Minecraft or something. 

There's a difference between making a deal on audio work for a known bestseller than an unknown small production that hopefully can make it. There are also a lot of musicians that would very much like their music exposed to bigger crowds and therefore would do it for cheap or even for free. You got to look at the context, what kind of production is this and how professional and experienced do you consider yourself? If you have done game music before, especially on games that has had some success, then of course the price would rise accordingly. You won't get famous/respected game music composers to make music for $50 per minute, that's for shure. 

 

I hear people charge $3000 or whatever for a 'russelåt' (A shitty song by term, with extremely tacky lyrics, made for 'college' graduates in some insane month long party tradition they have right before their exams), so in that context i'd say $100 is very low in comparison. So, yeah, if you charge $100 for 2 minutes, you've paid for the Renoise license and a couple of beers. It's a symbolic value for something that might pay off big time for the developer or if game sale fails, will not put the developer in ruins. If you are getting into the business then this might be the ticket, but might also drown in the mass depending on both the game and it's music.

I assume the game developer isn't Blizzard or whatever, but a small production, maybe 1 main guy and his friend drawing graphics for him or whatever. Is it a company with several successful games in their portifolio, then deal should be negotiated with that in mind. 

 

You should just make something epic, then when game becomes a success you will forever be the guy that made the music. Call it an investment. Anyone will recognize the music as that game, so now you will have a much bigger leverage to make new deals. :)


 

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#7 Mivo

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 14:32


I'd give it away for free, but only for use in this specified version of the game and promotions for it. Not for use in any sequels or any other game or context and that includes the audio itself and its melodic arrangements.

 

This is what contributes to artists (visual ones and writers included) having a hard time making money with their craft. There are too many who are willing to work for free because they hope the exposure or portfolio  will bring them follow-up business or "fame". I think many companies take advantage of that. It's not that it's not a reasonable thought process (doing it for free to get a foot into the door), but it's such a wide-spread belief that it devalues commercial art and creates an abundance of artists willing to work for free or for marginal fees.