Audio Finding a composer without budget

Zahk

Member
Any advice for finding out how to get music done for your game without much of a budget at all?

Obviously I think anyone should be paid for their work, but my budget for my game (which is already listed on steam) is literally the amount of money I need to make it to the end of my current lease, and I don't have the time to learn how to create the music myself as much as I would love to, on top of everything else it's taking to make the game.

Any advice for finding composers who might be willing to cut a deal of some sort to help? What do you guys do for music in your games, if not make it yourselves?

At this point, I probably will just end up having to try to do it myself, but I feel that a game's soundtrack is extremely important, and I just know that I'm not going to be able to do it justice if I go in with literally no experience right now.
 
Yeah, with literally no money, the best you can hope for is either a rev-share deal or finding some good free tracks, there's quite a lot out there if you look, you'll just have to spend the time trolling through tons of ****ty songs to find the good ones.
 

Yal

šŸ§ *penguin noises*
GMC Elder
you'll just have to spend the time trolling through tons of ****ty songs to find the good ones.
Nitpick: it's "thrawling through" ("trolling" is a fishing term on top of its internet use, but it's more related to getting an already-found fish into your boat than to find the best fish in the ocean - "thrawl" is an archaic synonym to "wade", with implied discomfort connotations).

With that said, I second the OpenGameArt suggestion. Another place you might wanna check out is https://freesound.org/ , though it's way more focused on sound effects than music.
 
@Yal Awesome! I always thought "trolling" was an odd way to describe it and I've never seen it written before. Though in some senses, "trolling" seems more appropriate when you have to wade through a bunch of terrible amateur songs ;)
 

Khao

Member
Worth considering: Any piece of music composed before the 20th century you can know for sure that it's in the public domain. As-in, you can use it. As-in, all classical music is public domain so you can use it freely.

Also worth considering: Even if the composition is in the public domain, specific recording are likely to be owned by the performer. There's hundreds of recordings that are in the public domain and they're easy to find, but just try to be aware of where the recording comes from.
 
Worth considering: Any piece of music composed before the 20th century you can know for sure that it's in the public domain. As-in, you can use it. As-in, all classical music is public domain so you can use it freely.

Also worth considering: Even if the composition is in the public domain, specific recording are likely to be owned by the performer. There's hundreds of recordings that are in the public domain and they're easy to find, but just try to be aware of where the recording comes from.
There are, generally, three copyrights attached to any piece of music that can be downloaded:
  • The composer who wrote the music owns copyright in the musical works.
  • The lyricist who wrote the lyrics owns copyright in the literary works.
  • The artist who performed the music owns copyright in a sound recording in their live performance.
Each of these can require fees/royalties separately, though if you are actually licensing the song from a company/individual, you usually pay a lump sum which covers all of it. This makes even public domain music somewhat tricky, unless you can find specific official information from the license holders declaring that all three parts are public domain/cc0/whatever. There's lots of websites that claim that they have public domain songs, but these aren't necessarily official and would not hold up if one of the actual copyright owners challenged you in court (for instance, wikicommons is a good place to find recordings of public domain songs that are supposed to be completely free to use, but it's generally not terribly wise to simply rely on the fact that a song is on wikicommons as permission to use it).

On top of all that, actually finding who holds the copyright to specific pieces can be incredibly difficult (and I think is purposefully designed such, to make it more difficult for people to find free music and instead forcing them to rely on paying royalties to one of the big music companies).

As an aside, using public domain songs on youtube videos and such does not guarantee that your video will not be claimed, as youtube's system is completely broken and is not able to tell the difference between performances by artists that have released their performance for free versus performances by artists that haven't done so, and so songs that are literally in public domain, recorded by artists that have rescinded their claims to royalties and restrictive copyright, still get flagged as breaking copyright and any revenue earned by that video goes towards one of the big music license holders.

In short, copyright is broken AF and it is really difficult to determine if you are breaking the law or not even if you are being vigilant.
 
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