Has anyone written music for games?
I’ve been offered a job creating music for an indie video game. Worldwide distribution on all consoles and PC. They want 65 minutes of music. How much should I charge per minute?
Thanks in advance.
Has anyone written music for games?
I composed music for several video games and I’ve actually just finished one quite recently. Mostly indie to medium sized projects. Normally I charge somewhere around $250 to $350 for a ~2 minute, loopable track depending on the project’s budget. Let’s say an average of $150 per minute of music. I know of colleagues who charge according to the orchestration (less instruments, smaller quote) but it sounds a bit too complicated for me.
I have to say, though, that I’ve never been asked for such a long soundtrack. The most I composed for a game was 27 minutes of music and there were a lot of variations and landscapes, so I guess you could take that into consideration in you quote.
It would be great if you post how this gig of yours turns out. I’m really interested in this matters too!
Thank you for taking time to reply. That’s really helpful.
Are the games you mention phone/tablet apps or console games?
Many thanks in advance.
Mobile devices (iOS / Android / Microsoft) and PC (Steam). No prob!
We’ve ‘sort of’ agreed a fee, then I got this…
“At this price point we would expect to retain all rights to both the music and compositions. Would that be agreeable?”
Is that how it normally works?
It’s gotta be a pretty hefty price point then!
I´ve done a couple of low budget games for $150 per minute, and then it has been contracted that I´m keeping all rights to the music and compositions. I have made deals where we agree that the game developer can use the music freely in for example promo of the game.
But at these low rates per minute price, be sure to keep all rights for the music, so you can sell it later, or do whatever you want to do with it. It´s not very uncommon for game composers to earn more on selling soundtracks than what they have earned composing for games.
In the old days the game developers used to do a full buyout of the music, grabbing all rights. But then budgets was A LOT higher. It´s probably still happening, but you need to step up for yourself and keep the rights to your music. Who knows, maybe the game will be successful and then you will thank yourself.
If you have a hard time agreeing with the developer you can also maybe suggest a fixed price for everything. This might help if the game developer is nervous about how much money this is going to cost. People often prefer to know for sure what they are going to pay. But then again you should have a max limit of how much music you will provide before potentially extra music is needed. So in your case a fixed price for 65 minutes for example.
Thank you for your reply. That is so much detail!
I basically got asked to do it by the developer, then got asked how much I want. I’m a bit out of my depth.
They have agreed a four figure sum in USD per minute, for 65-70 minutes so for that they can have the music rights. Any extra musicians we use will cost them extra. We also agreed to split the soundtrack release 50/50 as an extra contractual thing. I don’t know what the overall budget is, but I do know its worldwide on all consoles, Steam and some yet to be announced consoles.
I’m happy with that, but have absolutely no yard stick to compare with. From what you say, I’ve done OK. Does that sound right to you?
Again many thanks for your help with this. I don’t think you’ve heard the last of me yet! There’s bound to be something else crop up!
First of all, 4 figure sum in USD is awesome, that clearly means they have some budget. I would however still be persistent of keeping the rights to your music. Especially important if this project is serious and can generate interest for your music later on.
I would also recommended googling this in depth and reaching out to other game music composers who have experience in medium budget game contracts. The more you talk with the better, don´t sign anything rushed.
That’s awesome advice. Again many many thanks.
While I usually fully agree with this, I would advise caution. We are talking about consequential income here. I don’t know @RHVBARB situation, but such earnings are surely welcomed. Is it worth it to jeopardize such an opportunity to retain the rights? Especially if you keep 50% on the soundtrack release… although I don’t really understand why they’d want to retain all rights then.
@RHVBARB maybe it’s worth clarifying exactly what they mean by possessing ‘all the rights’? It may be something as simple as having complete exclusivity to the music and being able to use it everywhere they want, as opposed to taking over authorship and being able to sell it somewhere else (which is technically what ‘all the rights’ would mean). I doubt it’s the latter, but I still wouldn’t be rushing to make a decision over a phrase as unclear as ‘all the rights’. Often clients have little to no understanding of what rights they do and don’t need. Ask them to detail what they wish to do with the music.
Good question, I would personally rather lower my price than give my rights away if I had to choose. But I´m no expert in this negotiation either.
Personally, I’ve been asked to sign agreements that concede the developers exclusivity and full rights to use all compositions however they want, in any kind of content, promotion, trailer, etc., with no time limitation. Of course, I keep the authorship of the score and rights over certain commercial uses, such as selling the soundtrack through online platforms like bandcamp or iTunes, or YouTube monetization. I get %100 of those revenues, but I can’t assure if that’s the standard in these kind of agreements.
Anyway, I suck big time at all things legal so don’t take my experience as a standard. It’s just the way I handle it in most cases.
Your project sounds really promising! Wish you the best of luck!
So the guy who has started multiple threads about all his hard rejections lands a ~$70,000 game score?
I haven’t landed anything. I’ve been asked to do it and have agreed a fee. I think there will be a long way to go yet.
Yes. I can’t sell squat on Audio Jungle! …and… tracks I’ve had rejected sell bucket loads on a rival library. Swings and roundabouts I guess.
Also, there’s a post somewhere on here from a couple of years ago I read, someone had a hard rejection, then a movie director picked it up from Soundcloud or some-such and now its in a major release (I inferred).
People on the forum have been really professional and helpful though. This is a great community.
Thank you for all your help. Fingers crossed!
Thank you for all your help with this. Kind regards.
Thank you for all your help. Kind regards.
Thank you for your help. Kind regards.