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Game Music, Miscellaneous

Community Question: What Can Composers Do When Protecting Their Work?

Community Question: What Can Composers Do When Protecting Their Work?

Email This Post Share on Facebook Community Question: What Can Composers Do When Protecting Their Work?Tweet This Post Print This Post 06.28.17 | | Comment?

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Here at OSV, we’ve had more than a few discussions about the power that video game composers have or don’t have when it comes to the use and distribution of their work, as well as being fairly compensated for their craft. The usual topic touched upon is the unfairness that composers and musicians have to face when attempting to be hired in terms of being fairly paid for their work, with often the idea that “exposure” should be compensation enough. The discussions were meant to highlight how much work video game composers and musicians of all calibers should be fairly compensated for their hard work and creative efforts when composing music for any video game, from small mobile titles to AAA games.

The question we haven’t touched on is how far composers should go with regards to protecting their own works from unfair use. Recent issues regarding Starr Mazer DSP composer Alex Mauer and her disputes with developers Imagos (Whose soundtrack we’ve reported on before.) bring to light the importance of having strong contracts between game composers and game developers as well as good communication between parties especially when it comes to compensation, as too often things can go wrong.

When things do go wrong, then it becomes a matter of how a composers should go about protecting their work. In Alex Mauer’s case, she used social media and DMCA takedown notices to attempt to abolish what she perceived was her work being unfairly distributed after she accused the devs of insufficient compensation. Imagos has come out with statements documenting their agreements and communications with Mauer with regards to her composing for Starr Mazer DSP that support their following the contract both parties agreed upon and proposed solutions, though Mauer contests this. Regardless of where you stand on the situation, it highlights an facet of creative license and content authority that does affect how video game composing and musicians function with developers with regard to who controls what and what extent a composer can and should go to in order to protect their work. DMCA issues, while they can protector content creators from having their work unfairly stolen, can obviously also be abused. Certainly we don’t ever want to see a composer being treated unfairly or being cheated out of compensation, but what happens if the pendulum swings the other way? What rights and responsibilities do the content creators have, and can they take protection of their work too far to the point of doing more harm than good?

My question is to all the musicians and game composers out there who have any experience or opinion on the matter. What are your thoughts with regards to the protection of your own work? What provisions do you put in your contracts about compensation? What advice do you have to other contract composers with regards to content protection? We’d like to hear your thoughts and discuss how to prevent further issues like the aforementioned from happening in the future to the benefit of composers and the community.

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Game Music

Data Discs to Release Altered Beast OST to Vinyl

Data Discs to Release Altered Beast OST to Vinyl

Email This Post Share on Facebook Data Discs to Release Altered Beast OST to VinylTweet This Post Print This Post 06.28.17 | | Comment?

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It has been a very good week for game music vinyl release announcements. Yesterday, Data Discs announced that they will be releasing the soundtrack to the Sega classic game Altered Beast to LP.

WWISE FRUM YO GWAVVE! Originally released in the arcades in 1988, but quickly ported over to SEGA’s new Mega Drive console, where it entered countless homes as a pack-in game, Altered Beast remains memorable for many things over its gameplay, not least its soundtrack. Composed by Tohru “Master” Nakabayashi, the music of Altered Beast moves between intense battle themes and cavernous dirges; the perfect backdrop to traversing the netherworld, punching pigs and powering up.

The soundtrack to Altered Beast was a relatively short one, only boasting eight tracks in total. This makes for a slimmer presentation than most of Data Discs’ other LP releases, so to help make sure buyers get their money’s worth, a foldout poster of the game’s original box art painting is included with the vinyl.

The release will be featured on 45RPM cut LP in either classic black, opaque orange, or a limited edition clear and orange splatter. All copies will be released this coming weekend on the Data Discs website at £19.99. Data Discs also announced that their Shenmue release is now back in stock, and they will also be distributing Mondo’s recent Super Castlevania IV in a limited release. (For better or for worse.) They also teased their involvement with the upcoming Sonic Mania game with an official vinyl release of the game’s soundtrack in mid July.

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Game Music, Indie Music

Gamer's Edition brings Stardew Valley to Vinyl on June 28th

Gamer’s Edition brings Stardew Valley to Vinyl on June 28th

Email This Post Share on Facebook Gamer’s Edition brings Stardew Valley to Vinyl on June 28thTweet This Post Print This Post 06.27.17 | | Comment?

Gamer's Edition brings Stardew Valley to Vinyl on June 28th

The well loved farm-life simulator from 2016, Stardew Valley, will be receiving its very own 2-LP vinyl edition on June 28th. Produced by Gamer’s Edition, the UK-based gaming goods shop that brought us the vinyl of Rogue Legacy, the Stardew Valley package will include 2 disks on thick, triple-striped vinyl with inner sleeves and a gatefold jacket with art from Kari Fry. The full Stardew soundtrack contains 70 songs but for this vinyl pressing composer (and one-man creator of the entire game) Eric Barone has chosen 36 of his favorite pieces which have been mastered for vinyl by JMJ45 Studio.


If you’re interested you might want to keep an eye on the product page though, only 600 copies are being sold initially with no guarantee of a second run after they’re gone. The album will be sold for £29.99 (approximately $38 USD) starting Wednesday, June 28th. And if all this has you simply interested in hearing what Stardew Valley sounds like you can check out a sampling of tracks on the game’s Soundcloud page.

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Game Music, Indie Music

Supergiant Games' Transistor out now on Vinyl

Supergiant Games’ Transistor out now on Vinyl

Email This Post Share on Facebook Supergiant Games’ Transistor out now on VinylTweet This Post Print This Post 06.26.17 | | 1 Comment

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Following the newly released vinyl edition of Bastion, Supergiant Games has announced the availability of Transistor: Original Soundtrack, also on vinyl. Available now for $40, the album comes on two 180 gram milky clear vinyl disks and includes 24 tracks composed by Darren Korb with lyrics by Ashley Barrett.

“We collaborated with Pirates Press to create this set and couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out. There’s something special about hearing this music on vinyl, as it fits the feel of the world of Transistor better than any other format.” -Supergiant Games

The vinyl edition also includes download codes for the digital versions of the album and the Extended edition which features over 80 minutes of new material and alternate versions. Originally released alongside the game in 2014, the Original Soundtrack album is also available digitally for $9.99.

Any Supergiant fans out there picking up Bastion, Transistor or both to add to your vinyl collection?

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Featured, Game Music, Indie Music

The Sound of Spellcraft: Mages of Mystralia The Original Soundtrack (Review)

The Sound of Spellcraft: Mages of Mystralia The Original Soundtrack (Review)

Email This Post Share on Facebook The Sound of Spellcraft: Mages of Mystralia The Original Soundtrack (Review)Tweet This Post Print This Post 06.24.17 | | Comment?

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I have been listening to the Mages of Mystralia Original Soundtrack for almost a month now.  The music was composed by Antoine Vachon who we profiled on Original Sound Version back in 2015. At that time the Montreal based composer has scored the music for some short films and mini games. In the spring of 2015 he released three preview tracks for Mages of Mystralia which resulted in the soundtrack making my most anticipated scores of 2017 list. The full soundtrack was released with the game on May 18, 2017 and you can read on for my full review of the score.

(more…)

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Game Music

Akira Yamaoka scores the new Astro Boy Card Battler

Akira Yamaoka scores the new Astro Boy Card Battler

Email This Post Share on Facebook Akira Yamaoka scores the new Astro Boy Card BattlerTweet This Post Print This Post 06.23.17 | | Comment?

Akira Yamaoka scores the new Astro Boy Card Battler

Osamu Tezuka’s much loved Astro Boy is returning to the realm of games in Astro Boy: Edge of Time from Active Gaming Media. It brings with it an edgier art style, free-to-play Collectible Card Game action, and a soundtrack from famed Silent Hill composer, Akira Yamaoka.

Much of that edgy art was designed by members of Grasshopper Manufacture who released 2016’s Souls-like, Let it Die, for which Yamaoka also composed the music. In Astro Boy, however, Yamaoka has seemingly moved from his trademark “spooky” style into a more upbeat electronic vibe fit to back up the pensive sci-fi card battling.

The soundtrack has been released alongside the game this week and is currently only available as DLC on Steam for $9.99. Fortunately, if you’re interested in hearing the album’s eleven tracks you can check it out for free for yourself. Or, if card battling isn’t your thing (it’s definitely not mine) just watch the commentary-free footage above to get a sampling.

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Doujin, Events

Street Fighter II Charity Album to Benefit Richmond, VA Schools

Street Fighter II Charity Album to Benefit Richmond, VA Schools

Email This Post Share on Facebook Street Fighter II Charity Album to Benefit Richmond, VA SchoolsTweet This Post Print This Post 06.22.17 | | Comment?

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Twenty producers, DJs, and emcees from Richmond, Virginia are excited to present a collaborative hip-hop tribute charity album featuring the iconic melodies from Street Fighter II. Street Fighter: The RVA Warrior has been released to benefit Richmond-based Building a Better RPS charitable organization to benefit public schools in the area and includes radio host Black Liquid, members of Gritty City Records, DJs Phil Dice, 8-Bit Mullet, and Dope Solo/Sultans, a co-founder of the Party Liberation Front and more.
I was excited to receive so much interest once I shared the concept with the collaborators. It’s been a great way to connect with other artists, support a good cause, and have fun re-living a game that each of us grew up loving despite our different backgrounds. – Alan “8-Bit Mullet” Brymer

A release show and fundraising event will be held at Garden Grove Brewery on Thursday, June 22nd, at 8:00pm and will feature Street Fighter II-themed drinks. The show, which will also be streamed live on Twitch, will include a Street Fighter II tournament, costume contest, and live art by Amy Black, a prominent tattoo artist. You can check out more on the event’s Facebook page and join in for a good cause.

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Game Music

Mondo Records Announces Super Castlevania IV Release

Mondo Records Announces Super Castlevania IV Release

Email This Post Share on Facebook Mondo Records Announces Super Castlevania IV ReleaseTweet This Post Print This Post 06.20.17 | | 4 Comments

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Mondo has announced that they will be making available the fourth installment of their Castlevania vinyl series with the appropriate release of Super Castlevania IV.

Hi all – this week, in anticipation of the newly announced Netflix Original Series, we will be releasing the next chapter in our ongoing CASTLEVANIA soundtrack series! It’s one of our favorites of the series, and quite possibly one of our favorite video game soundtrack of all time: the Super Nintendo classic SUPER CASTLEVANIA IV.

Unlike the previous iterations of Castlevania music on the NES games, the soundtrack for Super Castlevania IV was able to utilize synthesized instrumentation to achieve a darker and more atmospheric soundtrack, as opposed to the punchier sounds of the NES sound chip. Released in 1991 and one of the first games released shortly after the launch of the SNES, Super Castlevania IV and it’s soundtrack are considered to be some of the franchise’s best work.

Video credited to scigamerfan07

Looking at this pre-release, I wish I could say I was excited for this album, but I’m really not. While I’ve been critical of Mondo’s artistic choices for the Castlevania albums in the past (I thought the Dracula’s Curse front cover was ridiculously hipster and trying too hard to be artsy rather than recognizable), this particular album art comes off looking lazy. For an officially-released and licensed video game soundtrack album, the artwork looks dull and cartoonish and does not at all mimic the dynamic design of the original game box art. The back cover might be a bit more detailed, but it doesn’t make up for the poor design choice of the front. It’s simply an opinion since the game features my favorite soundtrack of the whole franchise and this is an design critique, but I believe the art choice fails to do credit to the legacy that is Super Castlevania IV.

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It also makes me curious that the composers for Super Castlevania IV, Masanori Adachi and Taro Kudo (under pseudonyms Sotaro Tojima and Masanori Oodachi), are not credited properly. All of the Mondo albums simply list Konami Kukeiha Club with the music credits, which was Konami’s catch-all group listing for their sound team used at the time of SCV4 and other Konami games so that their musicians wouldn’t be poached by other game companies. However composer credits are widely available these days, even on Wikipedia, so why not give credit where it’s due? One wonders if this is dictation from Konami as part of the licensing agreement, or perhaps something else. Hopefully it holds no baring on the quality of the music itself, which has been (appropriately) criticized in the past.

Mondo will be releasing its Super Castlevania IV June 21st at noon (CST) on 2x 180 Gram Bronze and Gold Split Vinyl (Limited to 1,000 Copies) – or – 2x 180 Gram Silver with Red Splatter for $30. They’re also have copies of the Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse vinyl back in stock. Mondo boasts one more installment in their Castlevania line with Symphony of the Night to be likely announced later this year.

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Game Music

Lost Sphear's Western Pre-order Bonus includes two special tracks by Composer Tomoki Miyoshi!

Lost Sphear’s Western Pre-order Bonus includes two special tracks by Composer Tomoki Miyoshi!

Email This Post Share on Facebook Lost Sphear’s Western Pre-order Bonus includes two special tracks by Composer Tomoki Miyoshi!Tweet This Post Print This Post 06.19.17 | | Comment?

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Sqaure Enix and Tokyo RPG Factory recently shared more details on Lost Sphear, the next game from the studio that produced the wonderful I Am Setsuna. Lost Sphear‘s plot is about a young man who witnesses a strange reality altering phenomena who then has to use the power of memory to restore the world. The game will also feature a Chrono Trigger style battle system.  You can watch the first trailer for the game below which ends with the message that the “Limited Run Physical Edition with two special tracks by composer Tomoki Miyoshi.

I reached out to Tomoki Miyoshi on twitter earlier this month about whether or not he was returning to score Lost Sphear. On June 1, 2017 he reported back to say that, “Yes, I am very thankful and happy to be working again with Tokyo RPG Factory on their next installment! I felt so moved by the incredible support of people, that I received for my involvement in ‘I Am Setsuna’, and so I made sure to pour even more energy and gratitude into every part of this next soundtrack.” During E3 the game was also previewed here and more details on the game’s soundtrack were revealed. Lost Sphear’s soundtrack will move beyond I Am Setsuna‘s focus on piano to be a more robust orchestral soundtrack. You can listen to these comments in the video below at around 3:20 into the video.

Lost Sphear is expected to be released on Playstation 4 and Steam in early 2018. You can pre-order the game directly from the game’s official website. The site also features some lovely music. Are you excited for Lost Sphear?

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Events, Game Music

The Golden State Pops Orchestra returns to Games on July 15th

The Golden State Pops Orchestra returns to Games on July 15th

Email This Post Share on Facebook The Golden State Pops Orchestra returns to Games on July 15thTweet This Post Print This Post 06.16.17 | | Comment?

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The Golden State Pops Orchestra is turning its focus back to games again with a third installment of their Video Game Soundtracks series, coming to Los Angeles on July 15th. We last covered the orchestra in 2009 when Jayson attended their second performance and in the intervening years they’ve polished up their setlist for the new show. The full list is still under wraps but some of the highlights announced so far include music from:

  • Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
  • World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor
  • Chime Sharp
  • Prince of Persia
  • Civilization IV & VI
  • Star Wars Battlefront
  • Halo
  • Afrika

Some of these are returning titles from past performances but I’m always happy to see AFRIKA getting a spotlight. Chime Sharp will also be an interesting one to see performed live. Speaking of spotlights, the show will feature some new visual presentations to accompany the music and a handful of special guests and performers that will also be announced as the show draws nearer.

The GSPO’s Video Game Soundtracks performance will be held at the Los Angeles Theatre on Saturday, July 15th. Tickets go on sale June 15h and can be purchased through the orchestra’s website here. We’ll be back with more details on the show as they roll out.

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Game Music, Japanese

Listen to Super Mario Odyssey's full-length Vocal Theme

Listen to Super Mario Odyssey’s full-length Vocal Theme

Email This Post Share on Facebook Listen to Super Mario Odyssey’s full-length Vocal ThemeTweet This Post Print This Post 06.15.17 | | Comment?

Listen to Super Mario Odyssey's full-length Vocal Theme

There was a whole lot to take in during Super Mario Odyssey’s spotlight on Nintendo’s E3 stream but what really grabbed me was that song. The vocal theme, presumably sung by Mario’s old flame, Pauline, amps up the action with Swing style and some outstanding lyrics. I haven’t been as energized or surprised by Mario music since the very first Super Mario Galaxy trailers.

Even better, the version that accompanies Odyssey’s trailer turned out to be a shortened edit which Nintendo played in full at the end of their Treehouse stream this week. YouTube user Trogdorbad was kind enough to clean it up and even transcribed the lyrics with the help of commenters so we can all sing along to lines like “put a comb through that ‘stache, now you’ve got panache!”

Take a listen above and if you haven’t already, check out Nintendo’s official trailer and showfloor demo of Super Mario Odyssey. It’s out on the Nintendo Switch on October 27th.

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Game Music, Japanese

Metroid: Samus Returns special edition will include Series Soundtrack

Metroid: Samus Returns special edition will include Series Soundtrack

Email This Post Share on Facebook Metroid: Samus Returns special edition will include Series SoundtrackTweet This Post Print This Post 06.14.17 | | 3 Comments

 

Metroid: Samus Returns special edition will include Series Soundtrack

Revealed today during Nintendo’s E3 Treehouse stream was Metroid: Samus Returns. It’s a 3DS remake of the Game Boy title Metroid II: Return of Samus (see what they did there with the title?) with some fairly major gameplay tweaks. Also revealed was the game’s September 15th release date and the announcement of a special edition package that includes the “Samus Archives Sound Selection” CD.

The album title reminds me of collections like the Nintendo Sound History series or the more recent 30th anniversary albums for Mario and Zelda. Details are scarce at the moment but the album will highlight music across the Metroid series. Check out the newly revealed Metroid: Samus Returns trailer above and get ready to pre-order from your retailer of choice!

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