Breaking The Video Game Music Industry



Breaking the Video Game Music Industry

Video Games Industry

Breaking the music industry is not an easy thing to do and the harsh reality is that few musicians, however talented, will headline stadium shows, no matter how good they are.


That is not to say there is no career in music though; from session musicians through to film and TV, there are opportunities to create music for a living. One ever-expanding industry, which can provide a great opportunity for music makers, is the video game industry. We’ve already examined this briefly in our article  Video Game Voices Giving Life to the Game, but we have now got practical tips on how to break into the industry.


Before you start, you must be aware of how many different levels of video game music there are these days. The epic, sprawling plains of Red Dead Redemption 2 have soundtracks comprising of many hours of music, changing with the environment, the time of day and the mission the player is competing on. On the other hand, mobile games such as puzzlers and slot machines draw more from shorter, looped tracks, which came to define the 8-bit generation of gaming. In between, there is a hybrid too, a selection of games that need themed music that are reactionary, but also simpler to compose. Many of today’s slot games are often inspired by pop culture with Foxy Games having titles based on films including Beauty and the Beast and Jokerzier. Just like the films, these slot games make use of music and often that ties into the themes they use as their basis and provide challenges in setting scenes without being too complex. It is a vast world, across different devices, titles, genres and styles which offers an opportunity for everyone and anyone with the right talent.


How does a budding musician go about getting into the video game industry?

A college degree isn’t necessarily required to become a video game composer, but you would certainly need an understanding of traditional music scoring techniques, with orchestration and composition high priorities, but also a grasp of more game-specific areas such as sequencing and spotting areas within a title which requires changes of mood.


A firm understanding of the video game industry is absolutely essential. If you were to work on a classic console title, you’d need to adapt your approach to creating music, working in blocks that can interconnect with each other, but that are also undefined in length, to fit with the gamers’ experiences. It would also help to cultivate contacts in the industry, network online and understand what stages of development games are currently in, so you know what to pitch.


In terms of practical skills, any aspiring composer would need to have a basic understanding of recording software such as Logic and Protools. You may want to find a niche too; are you someone who composes big, orchestral tracks suited to the expansive open worlds created on consoles, or are you more comfortable with shorter, looped jingles that act as a backdrop to mobile puzzlers, slot machines and basic platform titles?


The main key is being enthusiastic about both areas, music and gaming. Brian Schmidt is a renowned composer of video game music and has been for over three decades, and he explains how the only reason he got the job was that he was good at the pinball game he played as part of his first interview. By combining his two passions, he has managed to forge a career many young people just starting out would be proud to have.


Be passionate, be prepared to freelance and be aware of what is happening in the gaming world. Be ready to network extensively and most of all be prepared to play games. Taking those skills forward might allow you to hear your piece of music on the next huge title to break on consoles.

Breaking the Video Game Music Industry

General Tips For DIY Music Making



It’s no big secret that DIY music making has exploded during the first half of 2020. Even RnB superstar Kali Uchis recorded her four-track To Feel Alive EP by building a makeshift studio in her bedroom. British pop sensation Charli XCX did the same thing when she wrote and recorded How I’m Feeling Now, a new album that was produced entirely while she was in lockdown in her Los Angeles home. If you’re planning your own quarantine-birthed single or EP, here are some of the things you should keep in mind.


Make Music With Whatever Equipment You Have

While having high-end studio equipment can yield better results, you don’t need the best equipment to actually start recording music. If you have a laptop or a phone, then you already have access to the many free or cheap apps that you can use to record and mix tracks to your liking. If you have just one instrument you know how to use at home, you’re already better off than many wannabe DIY recording artists. Adapting to the bare minimum will be part of your journey as a studio musician. This is not only good for your recording skills, it will also inevitably influence the way you write and perform songs.


Acoustic Treatment & Soundproofing

Making the most of whatever equipment you have will be easier with soundproofing and acoustic treatment. British science writer Chris Woodford explains that there are many ways to prevent outside noises from leaking into your recordings. This includes noise reduction techniques such as absorption and dampening, both of which are also key principles in the proper acoustic treatment of your recording space. Whatever studio space you have right now will determine your need in terms of acoustic panels, bass traps, diffusers, or their DIY counterparts like thick blankets. If you’re serious about recording, learn the science of acoustics and soundproofing.


Look To Invest In The Right Home Studio Equipment

Making do with what you have, whether in terms of acoustics, soundproofing, or studio equipment, is a fun and highly productive challenge for any DIY musician. At the same time, if you do have some money to spend invest in studio equipment that will improve the quality of your recordings. Also take note that some studio equipment is designed for recording specific types of music. The AKG C451 B is the latest model in a line of microphones that has been integral in defining the sound of recorded acoustic guitar for decades. Meanwhile, the Neumann U47 is more suited for vocal work, and has been used to record many prominent hits. Which one will be most useful for the type of music you want to record? Consider this before making any significant purchase for your home studio.


Get Constructive Feedback From Fellow Musicians

Now comes the hard part. If you want to get better at recording your own music, you have to be open to getting honest feedback from your fellow musicians. Sites like Drooble Song Reviews can make this process much faster and easier. You can also opt for getting feedback from musicians that you already know and trust, and maybe in turn do the same for them. Constructive criticism of your work is a crucial part of improvement. The better you can accept and work on criticism, the faster you can grow as a DIY recording artist.


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Produced by: JBobb

General Tips For DIY Music Making