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October 21, 2014, 10:24:15 PM
TIGSource ForumsDeveloperBusinessWhat would you pay for a commissioned OST?
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AeornFlippout
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« on: January 03, 2013, 10:44:24 AM »

Hey all, my brother Forest is thinking of doing some commissioned soundtrack/fx work to supplement his income. He's creating a soundtrack for our game (Race The Sun) and so far, about 30% of our preorders are for the $10 "with soundtrack" version as opposed to the base $5 version. We also plan to use it in our Kickstarter as a backer reward.

I'm trying to help gauge interest from the indie community in this kind of thing.

Are there people here who'd be willing to pay for an original soundtrack for your game, or for individual soundFX?

For reference, music would probably land somewhere in the $500/minute range for original, exclusive music. Probably somewhat cheaper if you were to commission him to do an entire OST.
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Aik
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« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2013, 06:18:17 PM »

I've always thought that in this community composers are in excess supply. You see a lot of 'will compose for free' type threads in the unpaid work section.

And I'm sure that $500/minute is a fair price in some areas, but in indie games I think you might be kidding yourself. Who has that much money to spend on the music?
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Muz
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« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2013, 07:51:37 PM »

Not a lot, frankly. I know it's a lot of work to make one, but most players can't tell the difference between a great song and a ripped MIDI. Most will turn off the sound anyway or replace it with some MP3 pop song or the radio. And a lot of new composers are frankly not worth investing in. At best, I offered '5% of any prize money we get' to the composer for the music for my game, and she didn't really do a good job on it now that I think back (but it was a rush job, so I don't blame her). Music is kind of a really low priority polish thing.

As far as I remember, the only memorable indie soundtrack which actually enhances the game is Tropico.

However, I think it's a very good feature for purchase, and bonus content for a Kickstarter goal, and maybe one of the earlier things to put as extended goals.

If you want to sell music, compose a demo song for a game in production and give it for free. And then charge for extras. Otherwise, you need a strong portfolio.
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Ozoh
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« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2013, 03:55:21 AM »

There's a great discussion on this subject (or "how much you should charge for your work") on the "audio" subforum by other indie game musicians Smiley

http://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=28995.0
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hanako
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« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2013, 06:39:07 PM »

for $500/min you're going to find your clientele very limited. It's not completely impossible but you'd better have previously worked on an AWESOME game and have people actually seeking you out by name...

Devs are bombarded with musicians begging for work. Some of them even beg to work for free. Most of these emails get deleted unread. If you're not a Name and you don't have an incredibly special talent to offer, you're going to have trouble getting paying gigs at all, much less for prime business rates.

Now, if you happen to have your own band complete with lead singer and know how to record that well? Suddenly you're a much scarcer commodity.
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ஒழுக்கின்மை
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« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2013, 07:10:24 PM »

the thing is, 500/min is standard only for the *professional game industry*, the people who have millions to spend on games, and games with budgets in the millions or hundreds of thousands. most indie games have a budget of a few thousand dollars, if that

so basically unless you are willing to make a full game's soundtrack for a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, you will find no takers. i'd say the most i'd be willing to pay for a game's soundtrack is on the order of $3000. and that's for a full soundtrack -- an hour of music or so. which comes to about $50 per minute, not $500. and that's *the most*, i'd only be willing to pay that if the musician is very very good, because i already have musicians (friends and family) who make music for my games for free or for royalties

and yes i realize making an entire game's soundtrack might take a musician several months, and $3000 isn't enough to survive on for several months (at least in the first world), but that's what the reality is
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Garthy
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« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2013, 02:04:55 AM »

Music can add an incredible amount to a game if it is done well.

Approaching this from a developer perspective, I think you're going to run into a few issues on this one that you'll need to address and/or overcome to make it work:

- Some indie devs will have some pretty unrealistic expectations as to what others will work for, as well as the potential degree of success of their game. You'll need to be prepared to cull these ones.

- Some indie devs are more realistic, but simply won't have the budget to get original soundtracks, and will be looking for non-exclusive tracks. It might be easier for example to persuade twenty devs to pitch in $25 per completed minute for limited exclusivity than one to pay $500/min for full exclusivity.

- The ones that can pay will either want to see (hear!) some of your past work or know someone that you've worked with previously before they fork out anything resembling a fair payment. If your brother doesn't have a portfolio that potential clients can browse, and his competitors asking for less do, he's going to have trouble finding clients willing to pay that much. If he's got all of that, it'll come down to what others are asking for, and if his work is of similar standard.

What will people pay? They'll look around at what is out there, and what they'll get for their money. They'll try to balance the best price against the quality they are likely to get, within their budget constraints. Your brother then needs to make sure that they find him.

All the best to you both. Smiley
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Ozoh
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« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2013, 10:11:53 AM »

which comes to about $50 per minute, not $500.
And in this case, as Garthy said, you totally shouldn't be giving out all the rights for your music.
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Bambino2012
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« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2013, 03:39:01 PM »

$500 per minute is insane, I doubt you will find anyone able to pay that.
I was working previously with a group of musicians (3), that made a sound company and were providing sound fx / music /voice overs for developers, and they charged about 80/minute.
After 2 years working with them (and watching their business growth), I was informed that the prices would rise because they were now in a different level, they wanted to charge 200/minute.
Well, I bailed out, and searched other people (that I found very quickly).
6 months later their company went under, bankrupt, I'm not sure what happened, but I guess most of their clients just run away as I did.
The problem is, the market is super saturated with musicians, so you can't get away with 500/minute, but you can try Smiley

Good luck
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MadWatch
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« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2013, 10:50:02 AM »

My two cents:

It seems pretty easy to get music done for free, for a cheap price or for promises of profit share. I'm no longer counting the people who offered to make music for my projects without asking anything in return.

A developer wiling to pay a fair price wants more than just music, he wants expert support. Developers are very busy people, there are just so many stuff do to finish a game (plus the whole real life crap). If a developer pays you that's because he wants to be able to focus on the other aspects of his project while letting the audio in you care, knowing you will handle it properly.

IMHO, you should offer a complete service. Music, fx, vocals, whatever audio stuff needed. Most importantly, ensuring the whole thing is coherent and works well with the rest of the project. If you just produce a bunch of tracks and send them to the developer saying "here you go" then your work is not worth paying for.
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