A truly great game soundtrack uniquely enhances the experience of a video game. Now it’s time for game development companies to treat music creators as an integral part of the game creation process.
The following comes from Tipalti, a DMN partner in the global royalty, disbursement, and commission payments automation space.
The gaming industry is growing; according to PwC, gaming revenue is expected to rise from $227 billion USD in 2023 to $312 billion USD in 2027, moving us far from the former “toy” industry moniker.
Modern versions of classic games, like Super Mario, now have brands that extend well beyond the in-game experience—with movies, restaurants, and merch all adding significant dollars to a game franchise’s bottom line. For example, HBO’s adaptation of The Last of Us depicts a future where games are the backbone for the best of what TV & film have to offer. Under these circumstances, artists, musicians, and composers have an opportunity to capitalize on additional revenue through the expansion of game franchises; EA Sports relies on Tipalti to help manage their growing lists of influencers earning revenue from these franchises.
New Challenges: Composing for Gaming
Some game soundtracks have become anthems, stuck in our heads and forever linked to memories about gaming. This is the ultimate goal for music composers in gaming: taking part in creating whole universes and enhancing experiences through sound and music. To ensure that this experience comes through, EA Games has set high standards for its gaming soundtracks.
When Final Fantasy was originally released in 1987, it was one of the first games where the experience was equally as important as the visuals and storyline. The game was ahead of its time, creating a completely immersive experience—like what the Metaverse is doing for gaming today. Sports games, like FIFA or Madden, have led the way for years when it comes to music in gaming, including popular chart-toppers in their track lists; today, we’re starting to see renowned composers like Hans Zimmer, Michael Giacchino, and Kris Bowers being tapped to create original scores for video games.
Music revenue streams for gaming are growing exponentially. For example, Dragon Age has over one-million monthly listeners on Spotify, meaning music creators or composers for EA Games can expect ongoing royalties through streaming platforms.
To manage royalty payments workflows and splits, EA Games relies on its partnership with Tipalti to ensure all payables processes are easy and seamless—both for the business internally and their associated creators. EA knows they have the right partner to help grow their music revenue lines, from onboarding payees to tax compliance, remittance, and everything in between.
Designing New Ways to Compose for Gamers
Historically, EA is known for creating some of the best scores in music. In today’s gaming economy, it’s increasingly important that music blends seamlessly into the overall gaming experience: “I believe that EA’s scores are absolutely on the same level of creative excellence as Hollywood blockbusters, as well as being some of the very best original compositions of our time for any medium,” said Steve Schnur, Worldwide Executive, President EA Music Group. “And you’ll find that many of these scores are now as culturally significant to global gamers as our Madden or FIFA soundtracks. We’ve set the industry standard and continue to raise the bar with every score we create.”
Music composition is evolving; games today are rarely built in a linear format with a true beginning, middle, and end—a player’s actions lead the experience, including the soundtrack. The freedom of composition opens a new world for music creation in gaming, which means more flexibility for both the gaming and music industries. EA Games can rely on Tipalti’s support to manage the workflow from onboarding to managing contracts, invoicing, and eventually payments to music composers, freeing them up to focus on creating.
EA Games’ Responsibility to Music Composers
With cloud and online gaming becoming the ‘standard,’ playing experiences are no longer limited to what you can do on your device at home. When games are released today, they are built to have endless growth possibilities, which are not limited to new soundtracks, but also include additional content like new levels, stories, characters/skins, and much more.
With virtually endless possibilities, the opportunity for new experiences extends the shelf life of games for years. EA has capitalized on the opportunity to enhance its work with composers specifically, which helps keep games relevant to masses of gamers for longer than ever before.
According to Steve Schnur, “If you ‘cast’ the best composer, all the parts fall into place. The composer always receives detailed character and scenario descriptions, and these descriptions are ongoing. There are multiple ongoing conversations as characters, locations, and scenarios are further developed. This is when the creative directors, composers, and music producers are at their most collaboratively creative.”
Furthermore, EA Games is pushing the envelope with diversity in the industry, with a strong push to onboard more female composers for their game scores. According to the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, only 1.7% of composers in screen music are women. The gender ratio of male composers to female composers is more than 18:1. To counter this bias, EA Games took part in a scholarship program at Berklee College of Music to sponsor female composers, using their in-house music team as mentors.
EA Games is fully invested in shaping a new generation of music composers. By partnering with a solution like Tipalti, EA can trust that the entire payment lifecycle is managed correctly to ensure accurate and on-time payments to composers, directly supporting the industry’s creative movement. Tipalti gives gaming companies, like EA Games, Activision Blizzard, Riot Games, Super League Gaming, and many more, time back to focus on their creative endeavors by handling the end-to-end payment lifecycle with built-in best-in-class compliance and security.
Tipalti helps offload time-consuming challenges associated with contractor work; whether your game requires composers, developers, or other creative partners, Tipalti allows gaming companies to focus on their mission of creating the best possible gaming experiences imaginable.