View Full Version : How much do people make for things like this?!

05-15-2002, 05:06 PM
Hi all. Got an email today to contribute our music (a few 20-30sec clips) to two new video games (sports games). I want to give them instrumentals from our songs that we're going to put on our album. The songs would be right up their alley. The only extra work would be to put the songs through a reverb so they sound like they're playing in a stadium/arena.

How much do people charge for things like this??? If we use our songs (already mixed/mastered...which the mastering we're paying for) then there isn't much extra work. BUT they are appearing in a nationally distributed game for a prominent company so we should get something besides the exposure right? It would be nice if we could make enough to pay for an HD upgrade!!! But that might be too much...is it?

Please help

05-15-2002, 07:53 PM
you should get some sort of an advance on royalties. The best thing to do is check with a lawyer before you sign any kind of a contract. Good luck, hope you get the HD upgrade

05-15-2002, 08:09 PM
I think their original intention in calling us was that we make original music for the games. We would rather give them our stuff already done. How much would one get for producing orginal 20-30sec musical pieces for a prominent video game company? Thanks. Even if we made new pieces for the game should we still get royalties on game sales?

05-17-2002, 10:36 AM
I hate to mention it, but Microsoft recently got bands to do music for Xbox releases for free... i.e. no money, just the exposure. So I think it depends where you are in your career, your relationship with the company that wants your music, and what value you (not them) put on your own music. If you can swing a royalty deal, that sounds good, but I couldn't tell you what price per unit is considered "fair" ... good luck!

Robert U
05-17-2002, 11:33 AM
Iv'e had 3 songs on different Playstation games for the softwarecompany Konami. These games sold a couple of millions each but I didn't get any prepayment. I only got royalty which turned out to be quite ok since it sold so much images/icons/smile.gif .

BTW, these songs were not made specifically for these computergames. They were chosen from the original artists already released albums....


05-18-2002, 12:55 AM
Thanks for the replies. At this stage I don't think we'll ask for royalties, just a "buy-out".

05-22-2002, 11:26 AM
NO! NO! NO! STOP! Get a royalty agreement! Make sure that the clips are long enough to qualify for royalties. Every time I have done work for hire, I have made much less than on a royalty agreement.

05-22-2002, 10:33 PM
I was talking to a member of a well known band in England (I don't know if he'd appreciate me talking about this on here so I won't drop any name) - they are quite big though, their album was number one in England for several weeks last year.
The point is that he also did music for a Playstation game, and he said he made more than twice the amount of money he made with the band from the Playstation royalties.

TAKE THE POINTS!!!! images/icons/grin.gif

and best of luck to you man!!!


05-22-2002, 11:44 PM
Here is a few things to consider coming from someone who has worked in the game industry for a while. First off, as for how much to charge for buyout, rates vary, usually from as low as a few hundred bucks to as high as $2000 be min (or per 30 sec piece as would be your case) of finished music. I think the average for the "in demand" game composers is between $1000 and $1500 pet min. As someone starting out, I wouldn't expect more that $500 per min, if that.

Now, as for royalties, you have to consider that many game companies don't want to deal with royalty payments and are just looking for a buyout price. Yeah, it sucks, but that's how it is in the industry. However, assuming that you can convince them to give you points you need to consider a few things: A lot of games that get started are never released, which means, you spend your time writing all of this cool music for points, the game never comes out, hense no money. If you had a buyout deal, you probably would've been paid. The other thing about royalties to keep in mind is, how many units is the game really going to sell. Most games don't sell millions and millions of units. If it's the next GTA 3 or Grand Turismo game, then yeah, you could be looking at a couple of million units, but with most games you are lucky to break the 250,000 barrier, and that is only if the game is considered a hit at sometime during it's lifespan. Also keep in mind that unlike records, games aren't on the shelf selling for years, unless it's a huge success (most games have a 6 month shelf life).

05-23-2002, 12:44 AM
True story:

A very good freind of mine was approached to engineer the 1st Vanilla Ice record. After a few sessions, he was given the option of points or an hourly rate. As anyone who's ever heard Robby Van Winkle (aka Vanilla Ice) knows, he's not the worlds best rapper images/icons/grin.gif . So, my buddy took the guaranteed money. The studio owner, who took the points, is now a multi-millionaire. My friend is still out hustling $40/hr. gigs.

Ya never know....

05-23-2002, 05:16 AM
What do you think is a reasonable percentage to ask for? Obviously that's a "how long is a piece of string" type question ..... but it'd be good to get an idea what to ask for for a given amount of audio.



05-23-2002, 10:25 AM
I'm not sure on %, I've always dealt with buyouts. The few people that I know who have received points, don't talk much about what they received. The game audio world is very secretive, everyone thinks that everyone else is out to steal their gigs....

05-23-2002, 02:00 PM
Interesting. I used to have a salaried position in a game company. Now that I've moved on to pastures new, I'd still like to do sound design and composition for them but feel the best thing is to ask for a percentage in lieu of an up-front cash payment. Anyone willing to offer any advice?



05-23-2002, 04:41 PM
How about asking for cash up front and points on the "backend". It's worth a try. This is how it's been for anyone that I have ever known who received points, they also received cash for doing the work. You could try to convince them that the work you are offering to do for them is worth X amount of money, but you would consider doing it for Y amount (considerably less than X) as well as points. Or hell, if they really value your work, do it for X amount and points! It's worth a shot. I personally would NEVER take a points only deal. Your time is worth money, and getting cash up front (or over the course of the project) is the only way that you can insure that you will actually be paid. Remember, not every game in production will actually ship, and some can get delayed for years, you don't want to be waiting years to start seeing money from work you are doing today...

05-23-2002, 09:45 PM
New senario, that we'll be faced with this summer (figure I start planning now):

Independent label seeking our production. The song will be recorded at our studio. We will provide: production, recording, mixing. We are covering an old 60's song, but completely reworking it to a modern flavor.

This is an established indie label with a good repuation for breaking acts and partnering with major labels for distribution and promotion. The guy hiring us has a great track record with major connection. He could greatly help everything we do, including breaking our own album.

1. What is a ballpark fee for the work? (We are not yet "established" producers, meaning we haven't been at it for 15 years with ten top 20 singles to our name... so it's kind of two "discoveries"...artist and producer/studio owner.)
2. Royalties/points

Thanks for the good discussion.