Too many composers for too few games?

Member
Posts: 22
Joined: 2011.11
Post: #1
A few months ago I had made a post attempting to promote myself as a game musician. Looking at the classifieds forum just now, I see I am not unique: not only do most of the people looking for jobs appear to be game composers like me, half of their threads weren't even replied to.

I've seen other sites with what appears to be an over-abundance of musicians, such as moddb.com. I have no problem with it for the musicians' end (I feel it's necessary for us composers, in fact); however, the possibility that very few are even considered by any game designers is unsettling.

By all means, let me know if I'm getting the wrong impression about the game industry versus the music industry.
Quote this message in a reply
Luminary
Posts: 5,143
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #2
I always assumed that iDG was listed on some site for musicians, as a possible place to advertise game music services. We get so many, all of them more or less indistinguishable from my perspective.

I feel like game music is typically treated as an afterthought, composed at the end of development once story, art, cut scenes, etc. are all nailed down. There are certainly notable counterexamples however, including Bastion and Sword & Sworcery.

If you're looking for a career change, we have a massive "under-abundance" of artists around here <_< >_>
Quote this message in a reply
Member
Posts: 22
Joined: 2011.11
Post: #3
In all honesty, while I don't remember, I may have found this site because of what you said about musicians looking into this place. I also feel I belong here, though, because of the operating systems involved, given I run Mac.
Quote this message in a reply
⌘-R in Chief
Posts: 1,248
Joined: 2002.05
Post: #4
I've been listening to No Game, My Life. It's pretty good. It's all more atmospheric than driving or cute-sy tunes for your typical games. More Deus Ex-y than Quake or Bejeweled. I think it'd be easier to attract clients if you have more of the latter since more of that music is needed?

Anyway, I've always wondered why there are so many composers (and so few artists) as well. My honest guess is that music is simply more popular because it's easier to try your hand at than graphic arts. With no experience, it's easier to create a decent techno song than it is to create decent game art, so there end up being more composers than artists. That's my (completely unfounded) thought.
Quote this message in a reply
Moderator
Posts: 384
Joined: 2002.08
Post: #5
It's partially because it's often treated as an afterthought (or just a drop-in, 'insert music here' kind of asset), and also because artwork comes before music usually.
Have any ideas for a game that involves music being very central? That could help...

KB Productions, Car Care for iPhone/iPod Touch
@karlbecker_com
All too often, art is simply the loss of practicality.
Quote this message in a reply
Member
Posts: 446
Joined: 2002.09
Post: #6
I have a background in music, and I almost always hit links to composers who post here to check out their work. The quality ranges from amateurs slapping stuff together in Garageband to extremely professional stuff, but one thing that strikes me is the "sameness" of it all. The typical techno/symphonic/cartoony stuff that goes into 90% of games these days is just everywhere. On the other hand, game composers with decent guitar/rock/metal chops seem to be few and far between - the second I hear sampled guitars I BAIL Rasp

To get quality jobs you increasingly need something unique about your sound and offer skills beyond your competitors (same goes for graphics or anything else these days). E.g. You don't need to learn programming, but understanding how a game is put together and how to master for mobile devices is pretty essential stuff. Knowledge or experience with dynamic music systems is a plus as well.
Quote this message in a reply
Member
Posts: 22
Joined: 2011.11
Post: #7
Here's the troubling part in my case, Frank C.: while I completely understand what you're saying that most soundtracks sound the same, I beg to differ in regards to my own. Most modern soundtracks DO sound the same in that they often aim more for a live orchestra and/or the other extreme of distorted modern techno sounds; my own, however, takes a look at prior soundtracks that were usually somewhere inbetween (i.e. obvious synthesizer mockups of orchestras), as well as other genres of the '80s and early '90s. That much I certainly consider unique about my work in this age.
Quote this message in a reply
Member
Posts: 446
Joined: 2002.09
Post: #8
I wasn't specifically referring to your stuff, just trying to explain why so many threads get no replies. Something really has to grab people by the balls (or ears) to get a reply around here...

Your stuff definitely has an 80's movie soundtrack feel, which can be a plus depending on the project. The problem with auditioning audio is that people will bail in 30 seconds if stuff doesn't get interesting. I would highly recommend putting together a 1-2 minute demo/compilation track showing off the best bits and styles you offer. Graphics folks do this all the time - show your best work, rapid fire, then let people dig in from there. A five minute ambient track probably isn't the first thing you want potential clients to hear Wink
Quote this message in a reply
⌘-R in Chief
Posts: 1,248
Joined: 2002.05
Post: #9
That's a pretty good idea. I remember a sound effect artist posting here years ago and he had a couple-minute sequence from a game, or just some 3d movie short, and he added the sound track and effects for the entire thing. It was pretty nifty.
Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply