Develop speaks to KPM MusicHouse, the firm that hunts the right artists for each project
EMI and its subsidiary KPM MusicHouse are looking to strengthen bonds with game developers hoping to source licensed and original audio. We speak to the KPM team to find out more…
What history does EMI Music Producition and KPM MusicHouse have with working with game developers?
NICK OAKES, senior sales manager: We’ve been working with the games industry as a whole for a number of years. From up and coming developers in the UK and overseas to major publishers like Sony, EA, Codemasters and Konami.
How does EMI Music Production actually work with a developer when selecting and clearing music tracks?
OAKES: We’re flexible on how we work but preferably we like to be involved from the earliest possible stage. If you give us a music brief and budget we’ll work with you to find artists and songwriters who fit the bill for your project.
And what about KPM MusicHouse?
ZARA WARSHAL, senior promotions exec: Production music differs from commercial music in two key ways. First of all we own both rights – the master and the publishing – for each track and they are all pre-cleared. This means when developers find a track they like they can simply download it and licence it with no approvals necessary.
Secondly we cover a huge variety of genres – as well as pop tracks we have epic action tracks, terrifying horror, sound design and we also own several well known TV theme tunes such as Grange Hill, Wimbledon and Grandstand.
Our music is used on big Hollywood trailers such as The Dark Knight, Harry Potter, The Bourne Ultimatum and Twilight. We have music specially written for sports and action – two areas which particularly apply to the needs of the gaming industry.
How does the approach to working with developers differ when offering specially composed music?
OAKES: It’s pretty much the same. If you let us know upfront you’re after a specially composed piece we can find you the writers best suited to the sound you’re after.
Recently we’ve had Skream write for
Wipeout, and Noisia writing for Gran Turismo, and from a creative standpoint it’s something more and more of our writers want to be involved in.
Is it financially reasonable for smaller studios to look to securing the rights for popular music?
OAKES: We’ve definitely seen a significant rise in the number of app developers approaching us over the past year in particular. With the diversity and range of our catalogue we can always find an artist and a song to work with your budgets.
Has it been important for the music industry to move to work more with the games industry?
WARSHAL: I would say there has been collaboration between the gaming and music industries as developers have started to realise the value that quality music can add to the gaming experience.
We currently have exclusive distribution rights in the UK for EndGame and EA Games’ own production music libraries – a collection of original music cues created by many of the most successful video game music composers in the electronic gaming industry – including cues featured in many of these companies’ best selling games such as The Sims and The Lord of the Rings game series.
What are the challenges of selecting and clearing music tracks for games in particular?
OAKES: As with everything we work on the main challenges come in managing expectations. If you have a relatively small game coming out then it’s unlikely we’ll be able to clear a major artist.
In cases such as this KPM MusicHouse can come into its own helping to find you top-notch production music at a fraction of the cost of commercial.