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As a fairly unknown independent band, what is the best way to get our music into computer games? I'm not so much thinking about licensing issues, but more about what channels are available and how to get noticed by game devs that could be interested in our type of music.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What type of instruments do you have? \$\endgroup\$ – Mateen Ulhaq Nov 28 '10 at 21:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ We're a thrash metal band in the brutal end of the scale, so traditional lineup with drums, guitars, bass and vocals. Probably more suited for more violent games. \$\endgroup\$ – harald Nov 29 '10 at 10:59
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You have two options:

1) The indirect route: Find sites that distribute music and put it there. See Where is quality paid game music? and Where can I find free music for my game?

2) The direct route: Find a project in development and talk to them directly. See "Finding a project" from here: How can I get involved with open source game projects?

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Direct Promotion.

Search for game developers which you'll think your music match in their current or previous products and send a simple email introducing yourself. I'll even send an email to devs even if your music doesn't fit with previous projects, as you never know what could be building: today is a educational game, tomorrow maybe a Satanic Hack'n' slash Gore game that would make God Of War rate C ;)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, the direct promotion route is of course always available, but can be difficult as I imagine there are a lot of developers and no easy way to find them all :) \$\endgroup\$ – harald Nov 30 '10 at 22:33
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This isn't your games as the soundtrack, but Rock Band Network (currently under maintenance while they change stuff for Rock Band 3 compatibility, but should be back up soon) is simply awesome. You can author everything yourself, and the only cost is an XNA Creators Club account and an Xbox 36 ($300 for the Xbox, $100 for a year of creators club, which you can actually put off on getting until you're ready to test).

Another alternative is to just go make your own game. Shinobi Ninja just went and made an iPhone game about themselves: itunes.apple.com/us/app/brooklyn-to-babylon-shinobi/id347930797?mt=8

They contracted a developer, so there was that cost involved. Make friends with computer science majors. ;)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks. I've been thinking about rock band before, just forgot about it. The iPhone game idea is a good one though. I'm a programmer myself, but day-job + music leaves little time for game development, so I guess it would be better to hire someone with experience :) \$\endgroup\$ – harald Nov 30 '10 at 22:36
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As an independent game developer I would tell you that, for us, it is very difficult to find the right music for our games... It should not be difficult for you to find games that match your music style. Just set up a webpage with some examples of your music and promote it in game development forums. If it is good, you will get a lot of responses, I'm sure!

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, I'll try to see if I can create a section for this kind of thing on our main webpage. \$\endgroup\$ – harald Nov 30 '10 at 22:34
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network network network...

Go to things like the Game Developer's Conference. Hang out and talk to anyone and everyone you meet. Learn more about videogame music at someplace like GameSoundCon to try to make yourself more knowledgable (and more valuable) to a potential game developer.

Know and love games and gaming. Lots of people want to get into game music. Not a lot of them love games. Would George Lucas want a composer who never really watched movies or couldn't name a current game scoring his next film? Game Developers often feel the same way about their composers.

Get a student game or two under your belt-- go to the local college and see if they have a gaming club or computer science department. There are often a ton of student-created games at these places and they have no idea where to go for music. Nothing makes for a better resume than "oh, download XXXX from the App Store to hear some of our game music.

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Building on Brian Schmidt's 2012 answer about networking, I'd suggest looking out for Game Jams

A jam is like a hackathon or charrette, where a group of game creators get together to make a playable game from scratch in a very short period of time - often a day or a weekend.

Some jams have an official concept of "floater" artists, musicians, and sound designers, who can sign up without a development team, and the organizers will attempt to matchmake them with one or more development teams who are in need of visual & audio content. Even without official matchmaking, firing off a tweet on the jam's hashtag to offer music support is likely to draw the interest of at least one developer.

Jam games themselves are often ephemeral, one-off prototypes that never go further, but sometimes you hit on some gold that's worth developing to a full release (examples from jams in my area include Toto Temple, Mount Your Friends, Super Time Force, Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, The Yawhg - I have no affiliation with any of these games, I just think they and their creators are pretty awesome) :)

This one-off nature can be an asset for getting your foot in the door. The chance that you already have the perfect song for a major project in-development is slim, but a jam game is naturally malleable and shaped by the constraints of the timeframe / theme / available people. Get in early and the devs might be able to build a game around your music rather than the other way around, and be more willing to take risks on a sound or style they might not have thought of before.

Beyond the scope of any one game, the jam lets you develop relationships with developers, where you each know what it's like working with each other. The next time they're working on a commercial project and looking for music to commission or license, you'll be on their mind.

As an example, I had a great experience with an audio floater on my last jam game, and I've since commissioned them for additional sound and music. I'm planning to jam with them again this weekend.

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