PRS for Music recently hosted a panel programme delving into the various opportunities and challenges shared by the music and gaming industries.
The PRS Explores: Gaming and Music event saw experts from both industries come together to discuss the importance of music in gaming, which is one of the world’s fastest-growing creative industries.
Chaired by Graham Davies, PRS director of strategy, the first panel, Understanding the Games Market, began with insights from Appy Nation’s, Andy Payne, BAFTA and Ivor nominee composer, Richard Jacques, composer and games expert, John Broomhall, and Miles Jacobson, Studio Head at Sports Interactive.
The session provided an overview of the games market and how today’s most successful games composers built their careers. While the panel agreed that games producers increasingly recognised the role that music plays in creating an immersive gaming experience, panellists also noted that music can be regarded as difficult to get licensed and, therefore, can sometimes be overlooked.
Jacobson said: “Music adds atmosphere, whether it’s for films, whether it’s for games – if you get the style of music wrong, it will impact the gaming experience.”
Composer Jacques treated the audience a live demonstration of a score he created for the game ‘James Bond: 007 Blood Stone’ which showed in real-time the adaptive nature of syncing composition to react to a gamer’s movements. The performance also demonstrated the skill involved in writing interactive music for games.
The second panel entitled Music Licensing in Games featured music lawyer, Lance Philips, Sony Computer Entertainment Head of Music, Alastair Lindsay, Warner Chappell Creative Sync and Licensing Manager, Andrew Howell and PRS for Music Online Licensing Manager, Nick Edwards.
The panel explored how technological innovation is providing new interactive ways for gamers to engage with content, and how this has opened up new opportunities for creators and developers. Increasingly, game compositions are being listened to as standalone soundtracks or as live orchestrations at concerts, adding new dimensions to the music beyond the game itself.
However, with new technology, new challenges are also being faced, as the games market shifts from physical to streaming distribution. At its inception, the games industry adopted a buy-out model for music alongside the rest of the intellectual property featured in a game. Now, a new type of deal is being sought by rights holders to ensure music is right for the game and the arrangement is right for the creator.
As the two industries evolve, the performing rights that music creators assign to PRS for Music, are increasingly more relevant to the future of this shared journey.
Phillips said: “All sides need to be pragmatic, composers and game developers need to work with each other to ensure licensing is correct for all parties.”
Davies added: “We strive to keep pace with the market and ensure our members are fairly paid whenever their copyrights are used. Bringing leading players from the games and music industries together is an important part of that, as well as encouraging games developers to work more closely with creatives and music publishers from the outset.”