• Announcements

    • khawk

      Download the Game Design and Indie Game Marketing Freebook   07/19/17

      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Jonah-B

Music licensing

8 posts in this topic

I originally made a post about this in the music forum because I didn't realize GameDev had a business and law forum. It didn't get much of a response, so I'm gonna ask here since this forum is more appropriate anyway.

I'm a hobby game music composer thats recently made a transition to selling stock audio through a third party licensing library called AudioJungle. I've had a decent amount of success with this, so I've been experimenting with the idea of directly licensing the stuff myself. Now, law isn't a subject that I have a lot of experience in, so I've been trying to wrap my head around how licensing works from a legal perspective.

Now, the system I've implemented into my personal website is designed to make it fast and easy for a potential media developer to purchase a license for one of my stock audio tracks. The user selects the track, chooses between two general use licenses (commercial use or non-commercial use), then he pays through PayPal and is returned to my website where a custom license is generated containing the purchase information along with a unique purchase ID. I'll keep records of purchase information and the ID to verify purchases in the future if it's ever necessary. I also make buyers aware that customized licenses and contracts are available by contacting me directly.

This sort of automated system is what AudioJungle uses. Is an automated system like this a good idea? It definitely makes it easier on both parties, but will it scare away music managers that want signed contracts and direct correspondence? How often do composers sell music like this?

Here are examples of my automated licenses. Are these ok?

[url="http://jonahsmusic.leadhoster.com/sample_basic.txt"]http://jonahsmusic.leadhoster.com/sample_basic.txt[/url]

[url="http://jonahsmusic.leadhoster.com/sample_commercial.txt"]http://jonahsmusic.leadhoster.com/sample_commercial.txt[/url]

Any advice on the subject would be awesome because I'm still new to this whole thing.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi Jonah,

I'm on my way to [url="http://www.GameSoundCon.com"]GameSoundCon[/url], but had a couple quick comments

A "click through" license will most likely be used by indy or student game developers. Another kind of developer would almost certainly require a signed license agreement, with a lot more issues covered than your commercial click-through one.

Your terms are reasonable but the terms they use "synchronization" and "master use", while common and appropriate for the music, film, tv industry, are not commonly used in the game development community.

On a similar note, the clause about performance royalties may scare off developers, who may think they'd be on the hook for those (when in fact it is the broadcasters). The game industry, especially small studios, are not well versed in music industry issues regarding performance rights, PROs, etc. So even the word "Royalty" may scare folks off.

Also, it's "copyright," not "copywrite" :)

Brian Schmidt
2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thank you so much for your helpful reply!

[quote]
A "click through" license will most likely be used by indy or student game developers. Another kind of developer would almost certainly require a signed license agreement, with a lot more issues covered than your commercial click-through one.[/quote]

I was worried that was the case. I like the idea of targeting the indy scene though, at least since I'm still trying to get things off the ground. The indy scene for both games and film is growing pretty rapidly after all. Hopefully if I make it clear that I'm willing to do more detailed contracts on request I don't scare off any potential bigger companies that might happen upon my music in the future.

[quote]Your terms are reasonable but the terms they use "synchronization" and "master use", while common and appropriate for the music, film, tv industry, are not commonly used in the game development community.[/quote]

Hmmm... What terms are common to the game development industry?

[quote]On a similar note, the clause about performance royalties may scare off developers, who may think they'd be on the hook for those (when in fact it is the broadcasters). The game industry, especially small studios, are not well versed in music industry issues regarding performance rights, PROs, etc. So even the word "Royalty" may scare folks off.[/quote]

Thats a good point. I'll remove that clause, or at least reword it. I do a lot of styles and I don't want to restrict myself to the gaming industry, but most of my music is definitely more aimed at video games.

[quote]Also, it's "copyright," not "copywrite" [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img]
[/quote]

Oops [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/rolleyes.gif[/img]

Thanks again! Your reply was really helpful! Edited by Jonah-B
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote]Your terms are reasonable but the terms they use "synchronization" and "master use", while common and appropriate for the music, film, tv industry, are not commonly used in the game development community.
Hmmm... What terms are common to the game development industry?[/quote]

"All platforms," "in perpetuity," "all territories."

Those are common terms. The music in the game needs to be portable to other platforms if the game is to be ported to other platforms. The game wants to be sold worldwide, and without an expiration date. Edited by Tom Sloper
fixed formatting problems caused by Selective Quoting
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote]"All platforms," "in perpetuity," "all territories."

Those are common terms. The music in the game needs to be portable to other platforms if the game is to be ported to other platforms. The game wants to be sold worldwide, and without an expiration...[/quote]

Ok. Thanks both of you for your help! I'm gonna try to type up a new license later today. I'll post it here this evening if I get it done.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This is a very good topic. Please excuse me if I posted wrong, but if I'm the indy company that wants to use your music for a video game, game trailers, TV commercials of the game, and sell your music with a game soundtrack. What kind of license agreement would be best for allowing such use? Flexibility and freedom is what new start ups are looking for and not spend so much money that they would have to take out a second house mortgage to pay for everything. This is something I’m looking for as well.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well I didn't finish the new license today, but I did a little work and more reading on the subject. Here is another question that I thought I might as well ask.

A lot of licensing to indy projects are done dirt cheap often because the indy doesn't have a lot of money and the musician doesn't have a lot of exposure. I read about a clause that often appears in contracts between musicians and indy film makers that basically states that the indy can license the audio for the agreed price, but if the film becomes an unexpected hit and leaves the film festivals to bank out then the licensor will need more compensation. Is there any equivalent in the game development world? How might such a clause be worded and executed? Would it be a good idea to include something like this, or is it a bit too unreasonable?
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Jonah-B' timestamp='1351131750' post='4993635']
Well I didn't finish the new license today, but I did a little work and more reading on the subject. Here is another question that I thought I might as well ask.

A lot of licensing to indy projects are done dirt cheap often because the indy doesn't have a lot of money and the musician doesn't have a lot of exposure. I read about a clause that often appears in contracts between musicians and indy film makers that basically states that the indy can license the audio for the agreed price, but if the film becomes an unexpected hit and leaves the film festivals to bank out then the licensor will need more compensation. Is there any equivalent in the game development world? How might such a clause be worded and executed? Would it be a good idea to include something like this, or is it a bit too unreasonable?
[/quote] To me it would be unreasonable. You will get more customers when your lemonade is sweet than sour.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote]I read about a clause that often appears in contracts between musicians and indy film makers that basically states that the indy can license the audio for the agreed price, but if the film becomes an unexpected hit and leaves the film festivals to bank out then the licensor will need more compensation[/quote]

For Indy games, that is not at all unreasonable to ask for. How that sometimes is done is that an exclusive license is granted for a limited time, with an option to renew or buy out. That way, if the game totally takes off, both the composer and the game developer are covered. "Covered" in the sense that if the game takes off, the game developer doesn't get held hostage by the composer, and also that the composer-- who did the gig at a massively reduced fee because the indy guy was poor and just starting out-- gets fair compensation for what is no longer a small/broke project.

Basically, there is a continuum.. If you are hiring a composer for a AAA Xbox or PS3 title, you'll pay them a pretty decent fee ($2,500/minute plus creative fees is not uncommon), but you generally get most or all of the rights to the composition.

But if you don't have that kind of budget, you start negotiating-- and there are many music rights that, if you let the composer keep them--they will drastically reduce their fee. So it's very common for the smallest games, who pay very little cash, to let the composer keep a lot of rights to their music. (Ancillary rights, publishing rights, master recording rights, rights for use on other platforms, etc.).

We just had a very energetic roundtable discussion at GameSoundCon yesterday in fact.

[quote]"All platforms," "in perpetuity," "all territories."[/quote]
I'd probably take out "in perpetuity" from that list as I mentioned above.

And generally they will use clauses like "right to copy, reproduce and distribute", etc when granting license use for games.

Brian Schmidt
[url="http://BrianSchmidtStudios.com"]Brian Schmidt Studios[/url]
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0