Exploring Different Avenues for Music

music for video games

In one of our previous posts, we discussed the requirements needed for having your music played on the radio, sharing general pointers as well as specific strategies for getting airplay across the radio categories, from traditional formats to internet stations. Radio is a great way to gain exposure, but in order for your sound to be heard, you also need to explore other options. Although you might not pursue a living in writing scores for movies and such, experimenting with the various methods of getting your music out there is worth a shot, as it can potentially provide the funds to further your career goals.

In addition to open mic nights and sending out your demos to record labels, here are other channels you can look into:

Film & Television
There’s a common misconception that the background music from movies and TV series are from established musicians in the industry, but the reality is that those snippets mostly come from session musicians and other independent releases. This is especially true for those that currently don’t have a lot of gigs lined up or for bands that are generally interested in working alongside the film industry, who are more interested in working with small-time artists rather than big budget names. Other than background music and musical scores, you can also look into writing source music (or diegetic music). This is defined as the music that characters can either hear or perform themselves, such as a radio clip, jukebox song, or a performance to establish the setting or character in question. Producers may end up using just a few seconds of your demo, but your music can play a significant role in the film’s development.

The process of placement is can be time consuming and long, but it’s important that you lay your groundwork and building your team in order to be discovered. Helen Austin, a composer who has successfully landed numerous film and TV placements, uploaded her music on every music site and responded to all the listings she could find, helping her forge relationships with publishers that were also members on said sites. She also learned how to write content for specific placements, rather than producing songs that she thought would catch on. It’s vital to have the target in mind. From there, it’s all about social networking and being genuine with your interactions, connecting with the right people who are searching for independent talents, like yourself.

Video Games
Many indie artists have found success in the gaming sector, collaborating with smaller, independent gaming companies to enhance the player’s experience through their music. Industry experts explain that this type of collaboration is among the most lucrative, manifesting as a means to broadcast their music to a larger and enthusiastic audience. However, it’s important that you seek out independent creators, like yourself, since the bigger digital gaming corporations are more likely to release titles that feature pop culture icons like Michael Jackson so that more people can identify with their familiar themes. It’s all about finding the right company that can put the visual component to your music, in turn adding interest to your craft. A few years ago, Beck lent a few songs to the game Sound Shapes, which has since been covered by media publications like Rolling Stone.

Before anything, you must do your homework. Research on the developers that you think would be a good fit with your craft, keeping their vision in your mind rather than using the ‘hire me’ approach. The beauty of video game licensing is the equal opportunity created for indie and big-time composers—not one is preferred over the other, since the focus is on the quality of the music and the fit with the product. It’s always safer to start small, and it’s a must that you simplify your submission. It’s been recommended that you leave your demos at home, have your songs available for streaming and with no possible copyright issues so that it is basically ready to be licensed the next day.

This is a PAID guest post.