In the past decade, the video game industry has evolved into one of the fastest-growing entertainment industries on the planet. With the advent of high-speed internet, you can now play your favourite games in Omnia CA
anywhere, anytime. Today, well take a look at the problem of music licensing in the gaming industry.
Video games are a new format to market music
Video games are using licensed music since the early 80s. In 1983, Midways arcade game Journey featured 8-bit arrangements of the titular bands music and the 1988 hip-hop track Megablast was the title music for Xenon 2 Megablast on the Amiga.
With the evolution of gaming hardware in the 1990s, the technical limitations that restricted the use of music in video games started to disappear. When CD high-quality music became available, games like FIFA and Road Rash showed the world that video games could be a new format to market music and drive sales.
Today, developers can license specific music to offer an amazing gaming experience, while musicians benefit from instant exposure to millions of music listeners. Developers usually have to make a licensing deal to feature music in their games and these deals can be very complicated for a variety of reasons.
What makes music licensing so complicated?
Licensing music for games can be a complicated business for three reasons. First, copyright is different for both songs and recordings. This means that if youre using recordings of songs, you must license two sets of rights. Second, copyrights are often co-owned and developers need to get permissions separately from each co-owner if they want to use a cow-owned song in their game.
Lastly, if you add a track into a game and then publish it on an online network, youre both copying and communicating the music in copyright terms. In addition, copyrights might by different companies operating in different countries, and rules vary across the globe.
How has video games music licensing changed?
During the early 90s, the recording business was at the peak of success, while the video games industry was still in its infancy. Today, the music industry has got millions of dollars in sales from music-inspired games.
As both the industries have continued to grow at an astonishing rate in the past decade, developers and publishers are trying hard to get music licenses granted in perpetuity. With the increase in the number of people doing remasters and games released, the gaming industry
has started facing issues. In recent years, more publishers have agreed with perpetuity licenses to avoid copyright issues in the future.
The power of negotiation
A lot of variables are needed to be considered when soundtracks and labels enter negotiations with developers and music supervisors. Music supervisors at all the top development companies work up to a year in advance so that theyre fully aware of new music releases. Music managers and record labels determine the value of artists that are featured in video games. People are a lot more sophisticated now and publishers usually avoid royalty deals that drive up the up-front cash payments.