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Marketing Music

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O valor de músicas para games e seus impactos para a promoção do jogo e para a carreira do músico

Ao observarmos a história dos jogos de vídeo game, pudemos observar uma incrível evolução tecnológica e artística, de barulhos cômicos e imagens desenhadas a superproduções dignas de Hollywood. Da mesma forma, a música dos games se transformou. O mercado de games cresceu tanto que hoje em dia até mesmo grandes compositores do cinema e televisão estão buscando espaço neste mercado.
Em média, um compositor recebe cerca de $2,000 a cada minuto de música gravada em um vídeo game. Valor muito superior ao recebido por compositores de outras mídias de maneira geral. Um jogo famoso pode chegar a render até meio milhão de dólares para seus compositores. A demanda por compositores para vídeo games cresceu tanto, que a universidade de Berklee decidiu abrir duas turmas voltadas para este mercado no começo de 2015, as quais foram lotadas em questão de minutos.
Um jogo possui em média cerca de sessenta minutos de música. Porém, pode ser jogado por dias, até mesmo meses. Durante esse tempo, o jogador é exposto repetidamente às músicas do game, que passam a compor sua própria imagem, criando um vínculo com o jogo o qual dificilmente se cria em qualquer outra mídia, como cinema ou televisão. Deste modo, podemos ressaltar que a música é de extrema importância para o marketing do jogo. Sua própria existência traz todo tipo de recordações e reconhecimento aos jogadores. Basta alguns minutos do tema de Super Mario Bros ou The Legendo of Zelda tocar que para que qualquer jogador se recorde de todas as aventuras vividas e esteja ansioso pelo lançamento de um novo jogo.

Figura [ 1 ] - Dados divulgados pela Universidade de Berklee
Participar do desenvolvimento de uma música para um game de sucesso também pode ser um grande impulso na carreira de um músico. Jonathan Coulton, compositor das músicas de maior sucesso dos jogos Portal e Portal 2, obteve um grande aumento no interesse de seu trabalho após o lançamento dos jogos. Após passarem a conhecer suas músicas através de seu envolvimento com a Valve, produtora dos jogos, Coulton obteve espaço para divulgar outros trabalhos seus e impulsionar sua carreira de músico. Como na maioria dos mercados, se você busca atuar em um nicho não usual, terá maior chance de se deparar com uma menor competição e maior lucratividade pelo seu trabalho.

Music composer Garry Schyman sits in his Culver City studio, at a desk topped with Gustav Mahler biographies and Krzysztof Penderecki recordings, and ponders the hero's predicament. He pivots to his keyboard and plays a handful of chords conveying utter loss, the draining of hope.
If you happen to play the video game Resistance: Retribution after it's released next spring, you'll take on the role of a British soldier working to subvert an alien invasion in post-apocalyptic Europe. Schyman's soundtrack will accompany your virtual exploits, heightening your thrills and frustrations.
The game's creators want the 90-second piece he is creating now, "Luxembourg Suspense," to project despair as the hero is cornered by hordes of venomous creatures eager for their next meal. Which song will come next? That depends entirely on the player. If he fights, the game triggers a Schyman tune designed to crank up the adrenaline. A victory is rewarded by a triumphant score; death triggers a dirge.
In a few short years, as the visual effects and realism of video games have evolved, so too have their soundtracks -- from comical bleeps and annoying loops of ear candy to lush, epic soundtracks that instantly adapt to fit whatever a player decides to do. With an expected $50 billion in global sales this year, video games have turned into such a big business that established composers from film and television are signing on to create the sweeping scores and intricate sounds that help guide players through their missions.

Harry Gregson-Williams, who scored "Shrek," created the music for the action game Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Steve Jablonsky, the composer for "Transformers," wrote music for the Sims and Gears of War 2. Danny Elfman, whose theme music for the 1989 "Batman" movie won him a Grammy Award, scored the role-playing adventure game series Fable.
The gigs pay well: Composers can receive as much as $2,000 for each minute of music they write, with a typical game requiring 60 to 90 minutes of music. Including the allowance for hiring musicians, renting recording studios and post-production work, the music budgets for top-notch games can reach as high as half a million dollars.
--
Creating music for games is a unique task. Since Resistance: Retribution is still being created, Schyman has to compose without seeing any of the action. He works from a spreadsheet sent by the game's developers in Oregon, with each of roughly three dozen lines telling him what kind of short song is required for a given scene. The game's programmers will later be able to take apart the 63 minutes of music clips Schyman is creating, then weave them back together in numerous combinations to make them last through hours of game play without getting tedious.
Unlike the linear storytelling of movies, the plots of games vary based on the second-by-second decisions made by players.
"With a film, you're given a scene, and you have to follow the tempo and flow that the director has created," Jablonsky said. "With games, I'm told to write a 2-minute piece of music in a certain style to make players feel a certain way. I'm not given any pictures to work from, so I have to make that up in my head. It's an interesting challenge to write without any pictures, but fun."
Brian Schmidt, a game composer in Bellevue, Wash., sums up the task by referencing a situation in the movie "The Truman Show." In it, Jim Carrey plays an insurance salesman who discovers that his entire life is a televised reality series. Since his actions are live and unscripted, the show's soundtrack is created on the spot by a pianist improvising based on what Truman does.
"In games, you never know what the player will choose to do next. The music has to be able to adapt to whatever the player does," said Aaron Marks, a Fallbrook, Calif., composer and co-author of the book "Game Development Essentials: Game Audio Development."
Few composers have made a more complete transition from film to games than Schyman. The classically trained composer, whose credits include the film "Lost in Africa" and the TV series "Magnum, P.I." and "Father Murphy," now makes a good living crafting video game music.

In the early 1990s, intrigued by the potential of a new form of entertainment that lets players participate in the storytelling, Schyman took on his first game project with a title called Voyeur. It was among the first to feature music recorded with an orchestra. Back then, game gigs didn't pay very well, and consoles couldn't support sophisticated audio. After three titles, Schyman returned to scoring for film and television.
In 2004, he took a chance on a game called Destroy All Humans. By then, consoles had morphed into powerful computers, and their high-quality audio meant games could feature movielike soundtracks. What's more, games had become such a moneymaker that development budgets for individual titles were in the millions of dollars, with several hundred thousand going into music and sound effects alone.
Now all of Schyman's commissions come from games, thanks to growing admiration among developers for his ability to create memorable scores. Although he will consider the occasional TV or movie job, he relishes game assignments because, in addition to providing steady work, they allow a greater range of creative freedom and challenge him technically.
"Film music can be very soft and ambient," he said. "But game developers want strong musical statements. So from a creative standpoint, games are a great place to be right now."
For the Resistance: Retribution soundtrack, Schyman hired a nine-piece brass ensemble and rented London Bridge Studio in Shoreline, Wash. Within the same brick walls where Seattle grunge was defined in the 1990s by bands such as Alice in Chains, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam, Schyman conducted the horns, trombone, trumpets and tubas thundering through his score. The ground shook as it would with the weight of armies marching to battle.

The musicians never played more than a couple of minutes at a time, and they often paused after mere seconds. The music is recorded in snippets so it can be converted into digital fragments that can be mixed, blended and summoned to follow the events in the game.
To tie music to specific actions and plot twists, game developers create hundreds of triggers: Entering a room, opening a box, drawing a sword, confronting an enemy, losing a battle or solving a riddle can each prompt the appropriate melody.
It's more than just turning tracks on and off. The music has to flow seamlessly to match the level of intensity within a game without being repetitive, annoying or jarring.
"Garry's music has to have enough flexibility to be able to turn on a dime and still have enough depth to be interesting," said John Garvin, director of product development at Sony's Bend Studio, where Resistance: Retribution is being developed.
--
Schools are recognizing the growing demand for game composers. After fervent lobbying by students, the Berklee College of Music in Boston this fall started a game-scoring curriculum. Its two classes quickly filled to capacity.
"It really is its own genre," said Dan Carlin, chairman of the school's film scoring department. "It's also a booming business, and we just want to learn more about it and pass it along to students so they can go out and find work."
The game scores can be entertaining in their own right. A concert series called Video Games Live features songs such as the themes to Space Invaders, Halo and World of Warcraft, performed by symphonies and vocalists. It has been selling out venues across the globe since it debuted before an audience of 11,000 at the Hollywood Bowl in July 2005.
The concert's producers, Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall, this summer put out a compilation of 11 songs played during their shows. Within a week, the album hit No. 10 on Billboard magazine's list of top crossover classical albums. Since then, Tallarico said, the CD has sold more than 20,000 copies.
If done right, game music can "turn a powerful experience into a sublime experience," said Ken Levine, whose Boston-based studio, Irrational Games, created the hit game BioShock.
Levine, BioShock's lead developer, was initially skeptical of how music could add to a game. While playing games, he would mute the sound and crank up his own albums.

7. Desenvolvimento de novas músicas: buscaremos identificar como é a escolha pelas produtoras sobre adicionar músicas já existentes (de bandas famosas, por exemplo) ou encomendar a criação de músicas próprias para o game e qual o impacto destas escolhas no produto final.

late August, 343 Industries announced the full details surrounding Halo 4’s soundtrack, a work scored by Massive Attackproducer Neil Davidge. Davidge spent approximately 18 months composing hour upon hour of original music for the fourth installment of the multi-billion dollar video game franchise. “We presented around seven hours worth of material, of which they whittled it down to four hours of material,” Davidge says.
Los Angeles noise rockers HEALTH provided Rockstar Games with an estimated six hours of recorded work for Max Payne 3’s soundtrack, which also came out this year. Trent Reznor, Beck, andDeadmau5 have joined this list of musicians working with game developers.
“A couple years ago I would’ve said [traditional revenue streams] are going away,” he says. “Now I’ll say, ’It’s gone away.’”
It all shows how these two industries have joined to combat a mutual problem: declining sales. Developers and musicians alike are searching for new ways to improve their positions in their respective struggling markets. For the former, it means engaging games in a fresh way by incorporating unique musical moments into a game’s development. The latter has had to adjust the methods in which they write music in order to adapt to these non-traditional music deals.
Sony Computer Entertainment’s Alex Hackford understands this better than most people in either industry. Having worked for years as a video game music supervisor, he’s made a career out of including commercial acts as part of his video game soundtracks, ranging from unsigned bands to established artists. As someone who obtained licensed tracks from the Black Keys and Justice early in their careers, he’s convinced that game developers are providing increasingly beneficial opportunities to musicians. “A couple years ago I would’ve said [traditional revenue streams] are going away,” he says. “Now I’ll say, ’It’s gone away.’” Recently, he’s worked with Beck and Deadmau5for the newly released interactive music game, Sound Shapes. The game, which came out in early August for both Playstation 3 and Vita, deviates from traditional scoring by, according to Hackford, “tailoring levels around the music that the artist delivered as opposed to asking the artists to tailor their music around pre-existing experience.” In the game, a player can take previously composed musical elements and design their own levels based on various parts of original stems. Gamers can then upload their work to share with an online community, sharing their interpretations with other Sound Shapesplayers, which potentially even include the original artists themselves.
Shaw-Han Liem, one of the games’ co-creators and a musician under the moniker I Am Robot and Proud, believes Sound Shapes’ multidisciplinary innovations offer the chance for music elements to be experienced in a way that’s unique to an individual’s own gameplay. “You compose music for Sound Shapes, but what you’re really creating is a set of possibilities,” he says. There’s no definitive version of a song, everyone who plays through the song will hear a slightly different version of it. A lot of the control is given to the person playing through the level …Traditionally; of course, those are things that the composer would control. In this case, they’re sort of sharing some of that authorship with the audience or whoever the person is playing on the other end.” “For Beck,” he adds, “he seems to be someone interested in finding interesting ways in releasing his music… it seems clear that he’s interested in getting his music out there and playing with the idea of ‘what does it mean to release music?’ and ‘what does the idea of authorship mean?’”
While these new and creative release ideas can be exciting, they also raise the need for an accompanying licensing and fee structure. This may not matter as much to an established artist like Beck or Reznor, but it makes a world of difference for emerging acts entering this world. Game developers typically employ musicians on a work-for-hire basis, meaning that artists receive an upfront fixed fee but usually don’t receive royalties when a game is sold, and only occasionally earn modest royalties for sales of an accompanying soundtrack. According to a 2007 article by ASCAP Executive VP of Membership Todd Brabec, these fees can “range from $2,500 to over $20,000,” or higher depending on “the value of the composition, the prior history or anticipated sales of the game, bargaining power of the parties and the needs of the video game producer, music publisher and songwriter.”
“Getting a song placed in a soundtrack … it’s basically the equivalent of Lisa Loeb’s ’Stay’ in [Reality Bites].”
While it means that artists often receive pay up front (no artists disclosed how much they received, but HEALTH were able to largely fund the recording of their next album), it comes with the trade-off that game developers retain ownership of the music used within games. Coulton, Davidge and HEALTH have all entered work-for-hire agreements, each with mixed opinions. “It’s a work-for-hire agreement,” Davidge explains about his deal with 343 Industries, “but I’m used to that anyway from doing film score work–the fact you don’t get publishing, you don’t get a percentage of the game sales. It’s a fee. When it comes to putting out the soundtrack album, I do–as an artist and a composer–get royalty on that, but you don’t get it on the game itself.” Coulton wrote two songs, “Still Alive” and “Want You Gone,” for GLaDOS, the antagonist of the two Portal games by Washington-based developers Valve. He then rerecorded them and released them as part of his 2011 album, Artificial Heart. He plays these songs at most of his performances, and has had fans regularly discover his work through his involvement with Valve and Portal.
“It’s interesting. [“Still Alive”] is my most well-known song and I don’t own it! Which is a strange position to be in,” Coulton says, laughing. “My standard business practice is to not do work for hire. I don’t like to do it for obvious reasons. I like to own the stuff that I do, but in this case it was certainly not a business decision that I regret.” While financial compensation remains an important aspect, songwriters are attracted to this kind of work for its artistic merits as well as video game fandom.
After years of downtime in the studio, Davidge spent hours of downtime in the studio playing Halo, eventually becoming a huge fan of the series. “I was working with Massive Attack on 100th Window, and there was plenty of time in the studio where nothing was really going on, which is when I got introduced to Halo,” he recalls. “The Xbox had just come out, and Halo came with it. I spent a lot time playing the game with my assistant programmer and got hooked on the game and have been playing it ever since.” In Coulton’s case, Valve initially approached him about a partnership. Coulton had previously been a Valve devotee, loving their critically acclaimed first-person shooter Half-Life. He jumped at the chance to work on a game where his involvement was “custom-tailored for this specific purpose,” while exposing him to a new audience down the road. “First and foremost, it was just a really cool thing to be involved with,” Coulton recalls. “But of course, I felt like it would not be a bad thing career-wise to have something associated with what I was pretty sure would be a game with a lot of reach.”
Liem has noticed a similar pattern in the career of contributing Sound Shapes musician Jim Guthrie. “Jim [Guthrie] comes from more of a traditional singer/songwriter world, but he’s found this whole new way of putting his music out connecting with a totally different audience by composing for games,” Liem adds. “Now his music is available to everyone carrying around an iPhone or PS3 or whatever.” While the benefits of video game composition are evident, there’s also a downside that’s not always as noticeable. It’s one thing to contribute a song or two to a soundtrack, but Hackford cautions artists about entering the world of game scoring, which has a “steep and treacherous learning curve.” In his experience, he finds that writing shorter, more conventional pieces in a band’s conventional style is something that’s obviously familiar with a given artist. Stepping out of that box — one whereby the sheer volume of music composed grows, only to be paired down due to the parameters of the game itself — can result in a difficult and seemingly fruitless process outside of the artist’s control.
HEALTH knows this firsthand: their work for Max Payne 3 took “four times longer” than expected. Bassist John Famiglietti echoes Hackford’s sentiments, even though he believes that overall the project was a positive experience for the group. “We had to learn a whole new language. It’s completely different from how we’ve done music before,” he says. “Be prepared that you’re putting aside nearly a year and postponing your band’s trajectory by a year. That’s pretty rough.” Even Davidge, a veteran composer and producer, recognizes the difficulties compared to working on personal material. “It’s different. When you’re writing a piece for an album, you’re really starting from a blank sheet of paper,” he explains. “It was great I wasn’t starting with that and I had all the previous [Halo] games to play and the books to read and people [to talk to]…I had input there. It’s still hard, it was a very hard, grueling project, working 14 hours a day, seven days a week for 18 months.” While the relationship between musicians and developers is sometimes complicated, it’s seemingly like any other revenue source in the music industry these days. Perhaps the biggest difference with game deals is that the market isn’t as saturated at the moment. “Getting a song placed in a soundtrack is like getting a song in a commercial,” Coulton says. “I would say it’s the same [effect]. The numbers of people who are exposed to music are similar.” “It’s basically the equivalent of Lisa Loeb’s “Stay” in [Reality Bites],” Coulton (while trying not to laugh).
For artists, that means more opportunity, less competition and creative partnerships that can’t be found elsewhere. Not only do these collaborative chances bode well for them financially, but they also open the realms of possibility for how individuals engage with their music in a relatively untapped video game music market. “You look for non-traditional means to make income,” he says. But he found working with another, different set of creatives fulfilling too. “I don’t think it was all about the finance. It was also about the opportunity to be on the cutting edge and doing something new with how people experience their music.”
"This song is dedicated to Debbie Harry," flinty-eyed Lisa Hsuan purrs into a microphone on the red-lit stage of Hyperion Tavern. It's a cozy dive where patrons drink Coke and beer from bottles and a fading chandelier dangles overhead.
Her tribute is intentionally ludicrous: The 30-year-old veterinarian is about to belt out Call Me, which Harry — fronting the group Blondie — released 28 years ago. Accompanied on fake guitars and drums by three Web programmers who drove in from the refinery-dotted coastal suburb of El Segundo, Hsuan launches in as a smoke machine puffs nearby.
They're playing the video game Rock Band 2, which along with Guitar Hero is rocking bars and living rooms across the country. Many songs' sales have more than doubled after release in one of the games, and well-known bands have started lining up to provide new music direct to the game makers. Now record labels — noticing what they are missing, and struggling as compact disc sales tumble — are looking for a bigger piece of the action.
Although labels get some royalties from the play-along games' makers, they are often bypassed on image and likeness licensing deals, which the bands control and which account for a rising proportion of musicians' income. Meanwhile, the Recording Industry Association of America pegged its U.S. members' sales at $10.4 billion in 2007, down 11.8% from the year before, with a further drop expected for 2008. By comparison, video game sales overall more than doubled this year, hitting $1.9 billion in the 12 months ending in November, according to NPD Group. And they're expected to keep growing.
Aerosmith made more money off the June release of Guitar Hero: Aerosmith than either of its last two albums, according to RedOctane co-founder and president Kai Huang.
"The kind of exposure that artists can get through the Guitar Hero platform is huge," said Huang, who remains RedOctane's president, after it and the Guitar Hero franchise were taken over by Activision Blizzard Inc. in 2006. Rock Band, meanwhile, is made by Viacom Inc.'s MTV Games and distributed by Electronic Arts Inc.
An executive at a major record label, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the negotiations are sensitive, said the stream of income from games to labels doesn't match the traditional business of signing and promoting hot artists. The executive said a typical record company still makes more from a single album that sells 3 million copies than from all its video game revenue combined.
And, though Warner Music Group Corp. Chief Executive Edgar Bronfman Jr. bemoaned the "very paltry" licensing fees record labels get from game makers in August, the labels haven't stopped sending their music to game makers.
That's partly because they lack leverage. Even the largest label, Universal Music Group, controls just a third of the U.S. market, said Wedbush Morgan entertainment analyst Michael Pachter.
"There are literally probably 2 million songs out there, and fewer than a 1,000 were used in these two games combined in these last two years," Pachter said. "If Warner wants to say we'll take our 20% of the market and go away, a lot of bands are going to leave the label if they think they can get better exposure by being on these games."
Artists from Nirvana to the Red Hot Chili Peppers have seen sales of their music more than double after being released on the games. Some bands are featured on special editions — like Aerosmith on Guitar Hero this year and, soon, The Beatles with MTV Games — and last month, The Killers released two new songs on Guitar Hero the same time their latest album came out.
"It's a way to save the music industry," said Grant Lau, a 40-year-old bar worker who started the play-along night at the Hyperion three years ago for a friend who owns the bar.
Lau points out the games protect artists and recording companies from piracy because buyers have to own the console equipment to enjoy new music, which they must purchase through sanctioned game sites or on special game-formatted discs.
"You actually have to buy the music," he said. "You can't just rip it and put it on (file-sharing site) Limewire."
The addictive play-along games are a cross between karaoke and open-mike night. Players hear an approximation of a song and try to match colorful visual cues by pressing buttons on a guitar-like plastic game controller, pounding touch-sensitive rubber drums and singing into a specialized mike. Successful performances sound quite like the originals.
"As soon as you play it, you like it a lot more, and then you buy it," said Tan Doan, a 26-year-old Web developer from Long Beach. While playing Rock Band at the Hyperion every Wednesday, he discovered The All-American Rejects, got hooked on the band and then bought its CD.
A new feature on this October's Guitar Hero: World Tour allows users to create new songs and upload them for others to play, making the platform a place to discover music, as well as compose it.
Seeing more than 65,000 original songs uploaded so far, RedOctane's Huang predicted that music video games will "become the biggest platform for music distribution in the world."
"We still have great relationships with most of the (music) industry. We continue to really benefit each other," he said. "At the end of the day it's about creating a great game for the users. We'll figure this stuff out."
This holiday season is expected to bring even stronger game sales and, by extension, a still greater boost for the featured musicians.
Through November, some 22 million units of Guitar Hero had sold in the U.S. since its launch in October 2005, along with 5 million units of Rock Band since its debut in late 2007, according to NPD Group. The release of Guitar Hero: World Tour in October could boost revenue for the franchise some 40% over last year, according to analysts. At $189, the latest Guitar Hero costs nearly twice as much as last year's version because it comes with a drum set and a microphone. The newest Rock Band—Rock Band 2— costs the same with all the peripherals.
"They're selling out," said Cowen & Co. analyst Doug Creutz, who noticed resellers on Amazon.com charging a premium of up to $85 over the regular price for the full kit. "In the U.S., supply is a lot tighter than they were anticipating."
The predecessor, Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, raked in $750 million between fall 2007 and this fall.
The revenues don't stop there.
Users have downloaded game-playable songs more than 55 million times, some free but most around $1.99 each, since the games launched, and new titles come out each week.
Promoters have even brought the game into the real world with a Rock Band Live concert tour.
Concert tracking magazine Pollstar said 2,900 fans paid $25 to $36 each to rock the Event Center at San Jose State University on Oct. 11, one stop on a 26-stop tour by four bands — Panic at the Disco, Dashboard Confessional, the Plain White Ts and The Cab — who performed between renditions of songs played by local Rock Band contest winners.
"The tour was designed for our MTV audience," said Paul DeGooyer, MTV's senior vice president of electronic games and music. "It got a very good reception. In all respects, it points the way forward for Rock Band to take its place in the musical ecosystem."
The games' appeal is clear for the amateur who aspires to a higher musical calling.
Alex Morsy, a 26-year-old Web developer who played backup last month at Hyperion on a number of tunes, said the games fulfill his interest in playing music notwithstanding his lack of talent.
"I'm tone deaf," he said in a break between songs. "I tried learning piano one year but I totally sucked at it. I'm not very musically inclined, so this is fun."

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