PRS for Music Explores: the importance of music in a fast-growing gaming industry

Experts from gaming and music industry share insights at PRS for Music panel

A drawing of a video game remote control

PRS for Music hosted ‘PRS Explores: Gaming and Music’, an afternoon of industry discussion panels examining how music is composed and sourced for games, and the challenges and opportunities the two industries present for each other.

As one of the fastest growing creative industries, the gaming market is projected to be worth $118 billion by 2019. In 2015, the figure was estimated to be closer to $99 billion, compared to the global music industry valued at approximately $65 billion (CISAC Cultural Times Report).

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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.

Graham Davies, Director of Strategy - PRS for Music

Chaired by Graham Davies, the first panel, ‘Understanding the Games Market’, kicked off 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 discussion provided a potted history of the games market and how today’s most successful games composers built their careers. While all those on the panel agreed that games producers increasingly recognised the fundamental role that music plays in creating an immersive gaming experience, panellists also noted that music can be seen as difficult to get licensed and as a result, can be overlooked.

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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.

Miles Jacobson, Sports Interactive

Composer Richard Jacques gave 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. Jacques’ performance illustrated the specialist skill involved in writing interactive music for games, often taking months of intensive work to complete.

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.

With cutting-edge technology providing new interactive ways for gamers to engage with content, the panel explored how innovation in this area has opened up new opportunities for creators and developers. More than ever, game compositions are being listened to as standalone soundtracks or as live orchestrations at concerts, breathing life into the music used beyond the game itself.

Yet with new technology, new challenges are also being faced, as the video 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. Today, 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.

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All sides need to be pragmatic, composers and game developers need to work with each other to ensure licensing is correct for all parties.

Lance Phillips

PRS Explores: Gaming and Music took place on Wednesday 20 July 2016. For more information on past and future events visit our website

About PRS for Music

PRS for Music represents the rights of songwriters, composers and music publishers in the UK and around the world. As a membership organisation it works to ensure that creators are paid whenever their musical compositions and songs are streamed, downloaded, broadcast, performed and played in public. In 2019, 18.8 trillion performances of music were reported to PRS for Music with £810.8m collected on behalf of its members, making it one of the world’s leading music collective management organisations.

PRS for Music’s public performance licensing is now carried out on PRS for Music’s behalf by PPL PRS Ltd, the new joint venture between PPL and PRS for Music.

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