Thursday, June 15, 2006

a & arrgh

On "Thrillville" I'm doing a number of things including the role of Music Supervisor when it comes to licensed music. Essentially, this means that I've been getting lots of CDs and I've been going through them track by track and selecting the ones I want to use in-game. After I select them, the list goes to Legal where they find out how much it costs to license each track and inevitably some get kicked off of the list. I go back and find replacements, etc.

It's an interesting process. Apparently the way it works is that record labels send out either the album for the artist or a compilation disc of stuff broken down by genre and whether it's "up-tempo" or not. They then have documentation that comes with each disc in the form of a one-sheet artist description and a list of "focus tracks" - tracks that are essentially the singles.

It's been interesting to see, actually. Now, that's been the fun part. The not fun part? I've become the guy to which everyone now says "Hey, my [friend/mother/dog] has a band. You should totally check them out. They'd be PERFECT for the game!!!"

You know what? They never are. Aside from the fact that they're just not the right feel or genre of stuff that I'm looking for for the game, everything I've heard would need to be completely re-engineered to actually be able to use it. Additionally, how do we license the world-wide rights to a song from an unsigned band? Just bad news all around.

I've been getting plenty of practice though with my "Oh, yeah, sounds great. Not sure it's the right thing we're looking for." speech, which is always fun. And by "fun" I mean dream-shatteringly awkward.

9 comments:

ceymick said...

"How do we license the world-wide rights to a song from an unsigned band?" Just as easily as for a signed band, really.

But more importantly, I totally know of this band that y'all should check out. They're so perfect for your game! Vaz Hoil, baby. Maybe you've heard of them?

"Mr. Bitch, woke up in Thrillville, tried but he couldn't remember...uhm...Mellville?"

Bug said...

Uh, I don't think Mr. Bitch ever knew any Mellville to begin with.

It's funny - though there isn't any Hoil in the game, Hoil is the biggest influence behind "Whiplash," which is the main theme of the game. When it goes online, I'll be sure to include a link.

EmoRiot said...

That totally sucks that people would kiss ass just to get their band in the game.

Bug said...

That is the funniest crap I've seen in forever.

Ah, Photoshop ...

EmoRiot said...

Just for the sake of full disclosure and truthiness, it's actually EASIER to license from an unsigned band. It's what's called a "one-stop deal" because you don't need to go through the band, the label, the publisher, and the lawyer.

As a music supervisor you should actually be eager to "break" unheard music because it's cheaper, cooler, and can actually drive sales of your game if it's the exclusive opportunity to hear the cool new track by Band-X.

So easier, cooler, and richer. What a lovely combination. Now if you excuse me, I'm gonna go listen to some awesome music by an unsigned band.

Bug said...

The cool thing about the stuff you guys are doing is that it's so well produced that it sounds like its been professionally done. Which doesn't mean that I don't think you're professionals. I just mean that I could toss your stuff onto anything and it sits perfectly beside a release from EMI or Island or whatever.

Unfortunately, your stuff isn't the right vibe for Thrillville, or else I'd be calling you ready to yoink the worldwide rights of that stuff away from you in a heartbeat.

EmoRiot said...

I know. I kid, i kid... Now, if you'll excuse me again I'm working on a new track called Ravercoaster. ;)

Russ said...

Interesting. I've always wondered how that stuff went. EA seems to live on licensed music, which frustrates me to no end. I look forward to hearing the theme when it goes up!

Bug said...

Yeah, last I heard EA was looking to slim down its EA Trax division. I don't know what that means, but maybe it's become more expensive than it's worth.

For us, the licensed stuff is only a portion of the game's soundtrack. I'll talk more about it when I can.