Music licensing for gaming & games developers

Music for video game publishers

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Games publishers & developers, what can we do for you?

Music licensing

Help you streamline the way you license high-quality music and commission original compositions for your in gameplay, apps and advertising campaigns including YouTube and social media.

Artist leverage

Leverage our high profile independent artists & bands for collaboration with your branded content and marketing campaigns.

Manage projects

Increase your productivity across your team to manage your media assets, store files and project management tools.

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Music licensing made easy

Licensing music can be a legal mind field, so it’s key to work with an established trusted source where we provide full legal clearance and due diligence across our roster of composers and artists. We have a vast pre-cleared catalogue of high-quality music, so any tight deadline can be met. Our experienced creative team provide a personal service matched to your project needs and all brand considerations. We work under NDA with the sole aim of delivering the right music, matched to your needs and within budget.

Georgia Box is a Music Gateway independent pop artist, shown sitting on a kitchen worktop listening to the radio

What do we charge?

There are no fees for our creative searches and licensing. Full music supervision is provided on a quote basis, so simply get in touch to discuss your requirements.

Original score & title songs

Commission our composers for original score and compositions. We can provide original film title songs, recordings and legacy song cover versions at very competitive rates.

Our music

We work with over 10,000 record labels, music publishers, artists, bands, producers and composers worldwide. Our fantastic roster of creatives covers everything from modern-day pop music to niche authentic world music & everything in between.

Recent work by Music Gateway

Sync licensing made easy

Here’s a small selection of recent projects and sync licensing placements with various companies including Netflix, YouTube Originals, NBC Universal, Sony Pictures, Vice and Universal Pictures.

Each project is unique with lots of moving parts, sometimes we are working directly with a Music Supervisor or directly with an indie filmmaker. Whatever your project, big or small, there’s always room to make things work, especially with super tight indie budgets – we’ve become accustomed to being as flexible as possible with an aim of getting the best results.

We don’t charge for our music searches or creative concierge, so it’s just a case of getting in touch and discussing your needs – the kettle’s always ready to roll, so let’s hook up for a chat.

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Film & TV placements
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Music Licensing Showcase

Various

We secure some of the most exciting Sync placements for our talented Artists, Songwriters, Labels, and Publishers. This has been made possible by working with our established and growing network of skilled Music Supervisors within the Film and Entertainment industry.

NCIS: Los Angeles

CBS

American TV Network CBS’ ongoing crime drama “NCIS: Los Angeles” starring LL Cool J, Chris O’Donnell and Daniela Ruah follows the Naval Crime Investigation Services team as they take on the toughest cases in LA.

Souluvmuziq’s multi-genre songwriter and producer MadD3E’s uplifting R&B track “Know Me Better” featuring vocalist Bluesforthehorn secured a seamless sync to begin episode 10 of season 11 on a high.

Bulletproof Season 2

Sky One

Sky One Sky One’s action-drama series “Bulletproof” follows undercover police duo and best friends Bishop played by Noel Clarke (Kidulthood, Adulthood) and Pike played by Ashley Walters (Top Boy) as they pair up to take down criminal gangs across Europe in the pursuit of justice. 5ive 9ine is a genre-bending team comprised of U K Rap pioneer Sway Dasafo and Producer Zagor who landed a Sync for the series’ multiple action-packed promotional trailers with their high-intensity Rap track “Born A King”.

Close

Piccadilly Pictures / Netflix Originals

Actress Noomi Rapace (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Prometheus) leads the action-packed Netflix thriller “Close” as a deadly bodyguard hired to protect a troubled heiress. Directed & written by Vicky Jewson.

Working with Music Supervisor Claire Freeman we secured two placements with tracks “Kerbela” from artist Orlando Lanzini and “Middle” from JP.

BROS: After the Screaming Stops

Fulwell 73

BAFTA award winning documentary following the reunion of brothers Matt & Luke Goss from the 80s pop band “Bros”. Watch how their journey to resolve past issues & deliver long-awaited shows at sold-out London O2 Arena gigs.

We secured a sync for Jess & James 60’s pop track “Move” through working directly with established Music Supervisor, Michelle De Vries.

The Terror

AMC

Ridley Scott’s “The Terror” airing on AMC is a 10-part horror anthology series based on the bestselling novel by Dan Simmons.

With a catalogue full of nostalgic & vintage tracks suitable for period dramas, working with music supervisor Natasha Duprey we placed “Candy” by Jack Kluger & Jay Clever and his Orchestra.

The Capture

The BBC

The BBC drama “The Capture” was a huge hit. A 6-part mini-series about a persistent young detective who begins to discover a multi-layered conspiracy when handling the case of a British soldier who is charged with murder.

We placed a techno track for a specific club scene through Music Supervisor Michelle De Vries for this brief, which featured producer Politis’ track “Gravity” within the fifth episode.

The Marvelous Mrs Maisel

Amazon Prime Original

“The Marvelous Mrs Maisel” is an Amazon original comedy/drama set in 1950s Manhattan following the life of Miriam “Midge” Maisel who is refinding purpose through stand up comedy after her husband leaves her for another woman.

We secured a sync for artist Lily Chao, whose track “Picking Tea Leaves and Catching Butterflies” was placed by Reel Music’s Robin Urdang.

Moffie

Portobello Productions

“Moffie”, 2019 London Film Festival’s Best Film category nominee is a British South African LGBT biographical war drama written & directed by Oliver Hermanus. The film is based on an autobiographical novel by Andre Carl van der Merwe.

Working with Music Supervisor Jack Sidey led to us securing 4 amazing sync placements by 3 separate artists for this film including artists Denny Leroux, Structure and Steve Swindells.

Bloodline

Sony Pictures / Netflix Originals

Critically acclaimed Netflix Original series “Bloodline” is a drama/thriller based in the Florida Keys following the well-off Rayburn family (Kyle Chandler, Linda Cardellini) who has a dark past which slowly unravels leading to an uncertain future.

A sync placement was secured for the final season with “Never Been Good at Goodbyes” by Mike Goudreau & The Boppin’ Blues Band by experienced US Music Supervisor Mark Wike.

American Soul

BET

Biographical drama “American Soul” is a series on BET based on the ambitious story of Soul Train show creator and host Don Cornelius. Set in 1970’s Los Angeles, this is a series filled with iconic music, dancing & fashion.

We secured 60s soul group Bud Ross & Pals with their lively track “Do Your Own Thing” working directly with Music Supervisor, Ashley Neumeister.

Ashes In The Snow

Sorrento Productions / Lithuania's Tauras Films

“Ashes In The Snow” is a historical drama film based on true events starring Bel Powley (Diary of a Teenage Girl) & Sophie Cookson (Kingsman: The Secret Service). Set in 1941 during Stalin’s brutal dismantling of the Baltic region, Lina, a young aspiring artist and her family get deported to Siberia.

Our trailer placement was via LA advertising agency Soda Creative syncing independent artist NEVERGONE’s track “Motion”.

Honey

Universal Pictures

Def Jam signed artist & dancer Teyana Taylor stars in Universal Pictures’ “Honey: Rise Up and Dance”. Skyler joins a dance crew to compete for a college scholarship. Discouraged by her family & friends, she tirelessly practices amongst Atlanta’s underground dance scene.

Singer, Songwriter Tyler Shamy scored a major sync with “Work You Out” performed by Spencer Sutherland. Thanks to established Music Supervisor, Adele Ho.

Little Drummer Girl

The BBC

An amazing 6-part BBC mini-series “The Little Drummer Girl” is based on John Le Carre’s best-selling novel. Actress and idealist Charlie gets drawn into high-stakes espionage. Starring Florence Pugh, Alexander Skarsgard & Michael Shannon.

Working with Air-Edel music supervisor Matt Biffa, we secured three sync placements for authentic Greek copyright music productions played during the opening scenes set in Greece.

Private Eyes

ION Television

eOne Entertainment’s “Private Eyes” is a crime-solving comedy/drama TV Series based in Toronto, Canada. It follows an ex-hockey player and private investigator who form an unlikely partnership.

The soulful R&B track “You Wreck Me” by Artists Kaki & Eddy Smith was placed in the opening scene of EP 9,, S3 through Canadian Music Supervisor, Dondrea Erauw.

Girlfriends Guide To Divorce

Bravo / NBC Universal

Produced by NBC Universal “Girlfriends’ Guide To Divorce” is a TV series following a self-help book author who is recently separated and is navigating her life in Los Angeles as a single woman in her 40s.

Working with NBC in-house music supervisor Kerri Drootin, we secured a sync licensefor Artist Sounds Like Moving’s track “Away”.

Friends From College

Stoller Global Solutions / Netflix Originals

Netflix original comedy series “Friends From College” stars Keegan-Michael Key (Key & Peele, Keanu) & Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother, Avengers). Experiencing nostalgia from their time at Harvard together, a group of friends try to manage their complicated lives whilst entering their 40s.

Music Supervisor Manish Ravel licensed a selection of Polish club music frok us for a nightclub scene featuring Weekend’s tracks “Ona Tanczy Dla Mnie” & “Dalem Ci Kwiaty”.

Destination Dewsbury

Independent

British Indie comedy film “Destination: Dewsbury” based almost entirely in West Yorkshire, follows 4 old friends on a mission to see their dying friend Frank for the very last time. The BBC reported that this made director Jack Spring the youngest feature film director at the time.

A song sync opportunity within the trailer was secured here through Music Supervisor Will Smith using rock band The Great Cynics’ energising track “Whatever You Want”.

Music Licensing

NCIS: Los Angeles

Bulletproof 2

Close

Bros

The Terror

The Capture

The Marvelous Mrs Maisel

Moffie

Bloodline

American Soul

Ashes In The Snow

Rise Up & Dance

Little Drummer Girl

Private Eyes

Guide To Divorce

Friends From College

Destination Dewsbury

Project management for creative professionals

Manage all of your media assets securely in one solution.

Project management for creative professionals

Private network

Our client branded private network solution allows your team to collaborate in the cloud 247 from any location, with the flexibility to manage third-party creators and suppliers within one system.

Custom playlists

Presenting music to your clients is a breeze with our professional playlist pitching tool which includes high-quality audio and video streaming and user management controls and client customisation.

Let’s talk

To discuss and book a demo, please get in touch with us.

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Commission original composition & songs
Commission original composition & songs

Commissioning your own original content reaps many rewards. What’s key is to work with a trusted partner that’s done all the legwork and established key relationships within the music industry, artist management and indie creators.

Commission work on an On Spec basis, buyout master recordings and negotiate exclusive terms – we can advise you of all the options, pros and cons. 

Music is at the heart of what we do and we understand that the importance of each brand, their identify and target demographic, so the first step is to have a conversation and discuss how we can help elevate your campaign.

Get in touch
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Get in touch

We are a friendly bunch of people, so feel free to jump on a call for a convo or drop us an email. Just ask for Sophie, Jon, Jack, or Sam or we can come and visit you at your offices - we’re down with that as well.

Telephone

UK & ROW +44 (0) 203 143 3245

North America +1 917 691 2113

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Video Games Publishers – How To Get Your Music In Games

The video game industry has survived and thrived the course of history since its conception and arcade days, to modern-day play on mobile phones, games consoles and computers. It is one of the only entertainment industries currently not struggling to adapt to the game-changing internet age. 

Music is prevalent in nearly every element of our lives at the moment, especially in entertainment and visual media. The gaming industry is credited for helping the music industry survive the pirating trends in the 00s and now is opening up more and more sync licensing opportunities for composers and artists alike. There is such a demand for it, that games composers are now being asked to perform their compositions live for audiences in their thousands in cities such as London and Toyko. 

If you’re a musician looking to get your music heard, video games are widely considered one of the most effective and projective platforms for music promotion. In this post, we’re going to look at how you can make that happen.

Who Are Video Game Publishers And What Do They Do?

A video game publisher works similarly to any other form of a publishing company in the entertainment sector; they develop, produce, market and distribute video games commercial release. It’s a huge industry, the research company Newzoo predicts the video game industry could be worth just over $180 billion by 2021. Tencent is the market leader in the global gaming industry, alongside other major gaming publishers such as  Activation Blizzard and Sony.

As you’d imagine, a vast amount of market research goes into video game production. Due to the rising advances in the technology company has access to, games studios can be incredibly expensive to produce, let alone to market. It can take a couple of years to develop a game engine, therefore the publishing company must be confident it will appeal to commercial markets at the time of release. The video game industry has become rather hit-driven, with sales for video games spiking during the Christmas selling season. 

Top video game publishers are responsible for the conception of new games, the development of those ideas, the funding for their production and then finally their manufacture and release. There are often big marketing budgets as the publishers need to see a financial return for the large investment they have made in the game’s development. In this respect, many game publishing ventures are considered risky.

Large publishing companies will likely have their own manufacturing and distributing companies, whereas indie game publishers will work with distributors or larger publishers to carry out this element of their business.

External Development & Studio Development

Video game companies publish games through either external games developers or internal production teams.

External development is how publishers refer to projects that are being produced outside of their own publishing company. Often a publisher will finance an external project through development, paying the developers when they’ve reached certain milestones in the production of the game. Publishers may outsource game development in this way to harness an indie game company’s expertise. External developers may be contracted to develop sequels to their games by the publishers if their first product is a commercial success.

Studio development refers to projects handled in-house by the publishers own development team. All the top games companies will have large studio teams responsible for creating some of their best selling products. In-house development allows for a clearer and more frequent inspection of the game production process.

Music In Games

Music has been used during gameplay since the 1970s and the arcade games era. At the time, game music mainly consisted of basic melodies produced on early synthesisers. This style became known as “chiptunes” and is still associated with vintage arcade-era games. 

By the 1990s, video game soundtracks were becoming just as iconic as the gameplay themselves. For many, it was a way of discovering new music and expanding your knowledge of musical genres. In the last twenty years, gaming soundtracks have rivalled TV and film soundtracks and scores for their orchestral compositions and music licensing deals. Nowadays, video games can feature the music of any genre and publishers begin working on their soundtracks a year in advance of release. 

For artists and composers, this has been game-changing, (excuse the pun). While sync licensing opportunities may be hard to come by in the TV and film industry, game soundtracks can be easier to secure and more effective in projecting your career some experts are saying. Developers are interested in both original compositions and pre-existing commercially released tracks for their games, so whether you’re an artist or a composer there could be an opportunity for you. 

What Are The Benefits?

First and foremost, anything that gets your music heard by new audiences is a good thing. Games can offer exposure for your music nationally and globally, just imagine how many more listeners that can bring in for you. It could take months, if not years, to generate that much successful music promotion as an artist. Gaming is where many find new music in genres they love or completely new ones. 

You can’t really put a price tag on exposure, but game soundtracks can bring in revenue for you too. If you’re composing, an original score for a video game will sometimes offer a buy-out for the music or a commission for writing it. For pre-existing tracks, commercial or production, sync fees are often agreed for the license, and depending on the agreement, can generate royalties too. 

Exposure and income? Seems like a good deal.

Getting Your Music In Games – Supervisors and Developers

We’ve mentioned supervisors and developers throughout this post, but how do you actually get your music in a game? 

Starting at the beginning, the game designer(s) will have an idea of what style of music they want to accompany the gameplay. Depending on the size of their operations, they may take charge of music sourcing themselves, or they may hire outside help from a music supervisor. Some larger publishing companies may have in-house supervisors or may employ regular freelancers.

Supervisors are experts in sync deals and what music suits what project. They are well connected to publishers, production libraries and entertainment industry professionals. They find music appropriate for the project and then manage the legal agreements with the rights holders in order to legally license the track.

Sourcing Pre-existing Tracks

For some games, it may be appropriate to source a song that has already been released for commercial release. If you’re an artist looking for sync opportunities, speak to your publisher about getting your music in video games. Your publisher should have connections to music supervisors and influential figures in the entertainment industry, increasing your chances of securing a sync deal. Music supervisors first port of call for sync pitches is their networks of publishers.

Alternatively, if a supervisor is looking for backing music or a score, they could turn to production libraries they have relationships with. If you’re a composer, getting your music published by a production library can open up countless opportunities for your tracks throughout their lifetimes.

Sourcing Original Compositions

Fast becoming a trend in the game development world, is the sourcing of original scores as it adds to the exclusivity of a game. Composers may be contacted by previous connections of developers or supervisors, or they can submit pitches to developers directly. For some projects, simple instrumentals may be all that is required, whereas others may inspire large, orchestral scores. It will be the composer’s job to write the score and produce the recording, so it helps composers to be skilled in producing music as well as writing it.

Licensing Agreements And Payments

Before a track can be licensed to accompany visual media, the appropriate sync license must be agreed upon. This is a negotiation that is usually determined by a music supervisor representing the interested party, and a music publisher who represent the rights holders of a piece of music. 

Sync deals can vary greatly and the terms are dependent upon a number of factors, such as the use and presence of the music in the final context of the media, the commercial success of the track, the reputation of the parties involved and the budget of the licensing party. In most cases, a one-ff sync fee will be agreed upon, known as a sync fee, and then the rights holder’s entitlement to royalties will also be determined. Some sync deals in the games industry offer royalty payment but not all, it depends on the agreement. 

When a composer has been contracted to produce a piece of score for a video game, they will usually be offered a buy-out for the rights to the music. This is a one-off payment and even if the game does fantastically commercially, the composer is not entitled to anymore pay. If you’re a composer, you’ll likely have signed a few licensing agreements. If you’re not sure the agreement benefits you as it should, consider seeking legal advice before signing away your rights.

Successful Pitching

If you’re a musician or composer operating without publishers, do not fret, you can still submit music to game developers and music supervisors for projects. As this is the first contact you’ll have with the individual or team, you need your pitch to be successful. While it’s always important to aim high, be realistic in who you approach. If you’re a composer having written your first piece of the score in your bedroom, it’s unlikely you’ll be chosen for the latest Nintendo game. Set your sights on attainable goals to increase your chances of success.

When you write your email, make it human, polite and efficient. A supervisor isn’t likely to read a 14 paragraph email about how you admire their work and what your music means to you. Give a quick introduction to your music, listing the genre, mood and why it’s relevant to their project. Be human, authentic and concise.

Have an easily accessible link to your music on a streaming platform or Soundcloud. Supervisors generally don’t like having to download music they might not use and it saves time for everyone involved. Also, only submit tracks that are finished and to a high standard. Supervisors and developers want tracks that are ready to be synced immediately. 

Include all of your contact information and all the metadata with your music. This makes the supervisor’s job easier when it comes to drawing up the license as they have all of the relevant rights holder information and know who to contact. 

Finally, do your research. Do not email every single supervisor you can find or developer, chances are your music won’t be relevant to half of them and your email will go straight into the trash folder. Research professionals work whose mirror your own and target your approach. Just as importantly, do not send the same email to everyone you contact. Generic emails can be spotted a mile away and that two minutes more effort it takes to personalise it can make all the difference.

If you’d like to get your music in a video game and are considering sync licensing opportunities, you can submit your demos here or check out our Global Creative Marketplace for existing projects. 

FAQ Section

Q. How many game publishers are there?

There are an estimated 2,500 active game companies in the United States with them occupying close to 3,000 locations. The numerous game companies are located in all 50 states. There is an estimated 65,000 employees working in the United States within the video game industry. 

Q. What is the biggest video game company?

Here’s a list featuring the very best and biggest video game companies

  • King
  • Electronic Arts
  • Apple
  • Activision Blizzard
  • 2K
  • Microsoft
  • Sony PlayStation

Q. What is the difference between a game publisher and developer?

A developer will be the person (s) that code, create and develop the game. Whereby the video game publishers will be responsible for all aspects of marketing, selling and monetizing the game as a project in the marketplace. Large games publishers will normally develop games in-house, as well as acquiring, commissioning and licensing games from third-party developers, including indie developers. 

Q. What game has made the most money?

  • Space Invaders ($13.9 billion)
  • Pac-Man ($12.8 billion)
  • Street Fighter 2 ($10.6 billion)
  • World Of Warcraft ($8.5 billion)
  • CrossFire ($6.8 billion)
  • Wii Sports ($6 billion)
  • Lineage ($5.7 billion)

Q. What is the richest gaming company in the world?

Here is a list of the top 10 richest video game companies and their estimated wealth.

  1. Microsoft Studios $37billion
  2. Sony Computer Entertainment $17.5 Billion
  3. Activision Blizzard $16.3 Billion
  4. Nintendo $14.5 Billion
  5. Electronic Arts $12 Billion
  6. Sega $3.4 Billion
  7. Ubisoft $1.61 Billion
  8. Square Enix $1.45 Billion

Q. What does a games publisher do for video games?

What does a game publisher do exactly, I hear you ask? A game publisher will invest and fund the development of a video game, handling the marketing and release schedule and advertising of the game. This includes video game trailers to help promote the release and secure a large sales return on their investment. In some cases, this can cause tension between the original developers and creators of the game and the marketing appeal vs the artistic freedom of the creators. 

Q. What do software publishers do?

Software companies, don’t always publish and promote the games they create. These software companies hire software developers who are involved in all aspects of creating and producing the game using computer sciences software and dedicated software frameworks and programs. This includes designing, project management, documentation, installation tools, game content, artwork, UI and gameplay. They don’t normally handle the support services to the customers, which can be outsourced. 

Q. How do I start my own game company?

  • Get a business plan together. This is key to your success
  • Form a legal entity such as a limited company or corporation (inc) in the states
  • Get an accountant and legal representation for your business 
  • Open a business bank account
  • Get business public liability insurance
  • Create your brand name and design (logo)
  • Create a website with at least your contact details and a blog to drive interest and data capture from visiting customers for future marketing
  • Raise finance or work out how you are going to deliver the game development with the resource you have
  • If you are looking to get your game published by a third party company, start building those relationships through a networking event, trade associations and conferences.