I've been building a game in RPG Maker XP, the music i use are either from the RTP::Standard that comes shipped with it, edits of the RTP after i convert the MIDI to a different format or from Game/Movie/Anime Soundtracks that i've brought

i kinda want to have my own music, my own identifiable theme to the game (and subsequently series), thing is, all the tunes i come up with are in my head, i've tried trying to make them but i got very little to no skills, the best i do is pitch changes and knowing where to cut and paste to make seamless tracks sometimes.

a rough estimate i came up with is $52,000, $1,000 a week, that's what i see as a minimal wage but i don't know how musician (or those who specialize in video game music) get paid, if it time based or per-piece based

NOTE: while i'm a perfectionist and like to have a much polish to the game when it's done to match my vision of it, it's not too important, i can make do with what i have as i will have the skills to get the game done

NOTE 2: yes this is much like another question i asked about about graphics, my forte is in programming and design....roughly

How my question is structured

Paragraph 1: my current situation

Paragraph 2: why i am asking this question

Paragraph 3: what knowledge i do have on the subject

NOTES: snippets of information that may not relate to the question but may help understand my position more

i thank MrKatSwordfish and redrazor11 for your help, you may not have given me a finite amount but you have revealed to me that there are numerous variables

i still remain hard on the fact this is a question and MrKatSwordfish and redrazor11 are legitimate answers though the constant editing and downing of my reputation has make released this question is more suited for a forum

  • \$\begingroup\$ How long is a piece of string? Depends on how long you want them for and what they charge. You could also commission them for individual pieces instead of hiring them, and then it just depends on what they'll charge. Probably a better question is how to get in touch with musicians and find out what they charge. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Aug 23 '12 at 2:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't have any close votes left over, but this isn't reasonably answerable and is probably not a real question. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Aug 23 '12 at 2:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you're just starting up, do not hire a musician. Audition existing work and license it. If you hire a musician you're asking for a never-ending feedback loop of "oh, go add this," or "fix that", which you cannot afford as a small studio. Whereas with already finished work, you simply accept or reject is in a click (and changing your mind isn't nearly as expensive) \$\endgroup\$ – bobobobo Sep 29 '12 at 17:12

You should probably find a musician online who's style that you like, and then contact them about commissioning a certain amount of minutes/songs.

With freelance artists and musicians, unless they work with you in a studio setting, it's very difficult to work out hourly/weekly payment methods. Going down that road may lead to potential issues/disputes later. It's a much better idea to pay them for 'x' minutes of finished music, or 'x' number of completed tracks.

Another important thing to consider is working out some kind of deal for an amount of revisions. This is important so that you can arrange to listen to the finished/nearly-finished tracks and have them adjusted or revised to your personal taste.

Please also make sure that both you and any musician/artist that you work together with have a very firm and clear understanding of the ownership plans. Are they making the music for you to use as you please, with a one-time fee? Just make sure that everyone is on the same page..

-- Also, when it comes down to the exact price, there really isn't a standard. It varies from person to person. I'd suggest this:

  • Decide how many minutes of audio you want to have commissioned.
  • Decide how many revisions you may need/ask them to do. Factor this into the contract/deal, make it very clear to both parties.
  • Look around, and reach out to musicians.
  • If possible, become familiar with the artist's previous work/portfolio. If it's not possible, try to ask for a sample of their work.
  • If the artist is interested in working on the project, tell them that you would like ___ minutes of audio, with _ potential revisions, by __ date. (You can try to suggest a price/minute of rendered audio, OR you can ask them how much they charge per minute of rendered audio.

In short. Figure out specifically what you need in terms of audio-minutes, revisions, fileformats (midi? audio?), time, etc. When you've figured out what exactly you need, and when you need it, contact various musicians that you like, and find out if they are willing/able to provide commissioned service under these terms.

Good luck! :D

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd like to add that the same kind of thing applies to commissioning visual artists as well. \$\endgroup\$ – MrKatSwordfish Aug 23 '12 at 6:18

Depending on your "musical vision" for the theme song, you could probably contract a freelance musician into creating a song for you. Look on something like oDesk or the like. I'm not saying you're going to get symphony style composition and production, but it's a start.

Make sure to get legalities straight too, because if your game become the next big thing, it could spell trouble.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.