Game Soundtracks Are the New Vinyl Goldmine—But Not Everyone Is Digging

video game soundtracks vinyl demand explodes
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video game soundtracks vinyl demand explodes
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Photo Credit: iam8bit

Demand for video game soundtracks available in physical format has exploded as gamers of all ages (18-49) collect their favorite game’s music to play any time.

GamesIndustry.biz recently profiled one of the companies helping video game developers bring their soundtracks to life as physical media. Laced Records CEO Danny Kelleher speaks about working with the games industry across 80 IPs with 250 releases under their belt from clients including Devolver Digital, Bethesda, Capcom, Sega, Ubisoft, and Bandai Namco.

Their most recent partnership is with game developer Remedy Entertainment to release the soundtrack to Alan Wake 2. The soundtrack includes the original score by Petri Alanko as well as additional songs featured in-game and performed by singer-songwriter Poe and Martti Suosalo.

Kelleher says sometimes his company does all the artwork, or sometimes the client does that. Demand for physical versions of soundtracks can vary between AAA titles and indie games—but you can’t discount the fanbase of very popular indie games.

“It’s not as simple as if it’s [an AAA game], it’s going to sell really well and if it’s indie it’s not,” Kelleher says of his experience working with game developers. “We’ve definitely seen that if you get the right indie game, they can absolutely compete on numbers with a lot of the AAA titles we’ve signed. We just did Inscryption, which has sold incredibly well and had a massive response from the community. Cult of the Lamb also did incredibly well.”

Both of those games are indie horror games that have an avid fanbase of people who enjoy playing the game—and people who enjoy watching them be played on websites like Twitch. Cult of the Lamb even has a built-in Twitch component so members of the streamer’s cult can be named after people in the Twitch chat. This level of engagement in games helps foster a love of the soundtrack that translates into physical media sales.

Kelleher also mentions how game developers may need help navigating the complexities of music rights management. “Historically, a lot of publishers have put their content out digitally, but may have missed opportunities or the metadata isn’t correct,” Kelleher told GamesIndustry.biz’s Sophie McEvoy. “That’s not really the fault of the publishers—this is a new world for them.”

“What we’re trying to do is support them and show how to structure digital releases globally, make sure the composers are credited where possible, and that the royalties trickle through correctly.”

Laced Records has tailored is offering to cater to game developers in the industry. One way they’re helping game developers capitalize on digital soundtrack uploads is by monetizing those uploaded videos instead of ripping them down. Kelleher says game developers are “leaving a lot of money on the table” by not registering their music copyrights, too.